How to Wirelessly Share Files With ANY iOS Device

Ever needed to send a file from one iOS device to another? You could email it, but not all student devices are set up with email, and some files (especially video) are just too big to email. You could plug the device into a laptop and transfer the files via USB, but that can be slow, and what if you accidentally sync your device with iTunes and start transferring apps you don’t need to or from your computer? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just beam them from one device to another? Well, you can! Here are three ways to do it.

1. AirDrop – If you have an iPad Mini, a fourth generation iPad, or an iPad Air that is running iOS 7, you can take advantage of AirDrop. This proprietary technology was originally developed by Apple for Macs, but it landed on iOS devices in the Fall of 2013. Unfortunately, it does not work between iOS and Macs, but it is still a great feature to have. It is activated from the new Control Center, and is found in the sharing menu for almost all recent apps. Read more about AirDrop here.

airdrop

2. Instashare – Before AirDrop, this was my go-to app. It works great on anything running iOS 5 or newer and is free between iOS devices, unless you want to pay the 99c to remove the in-app ads. As a bonus, there is also a Mac and an Android app that lets you share files to those devices too. The Mac app, however, is $2.99. It used to be free, but everyone has to pay the bills right? 🙂 A Windows version is listed as coming soon. Once installed, look for Instashare in the sharing menu of your favorite apps.

Continue reading “How to Wirelessly Share Files With ANY iOS Device”

SlideIdea: An Innovative, Interactive Presentation App for the iPad

Looking for a different way to present content and engage students in your lessons? Take a look at SlideIdea – a free app for the iPad that sets out to rival Keynote, Nearpod, Haiku Deck, Swipe and other presentation apps for the iPad. Here are 5 features that I think make it a great app for the classroom.

1.Slide Templates – With clean designs, and plenty of templates to choose from, you can be sure that your audience will not be bored by the same old PowerPoint themes. There are lots to like, and you can preview each one before you decide on the one you want. Templates are customizable to your needs and allow you to change things like the background colors and fonts.

SlideIdea iPad Presentation Templates

2. Widgets – Need a square frame for your image? What about a collage? The image widgets give you lots of shapes to choose from and can help your slides stand out from the crowd. If you don’t see the one you want, tap the download button to view more. The same goes for the shape tool. Polygons, lines, speech bubbles, and a variety of icons are just a tap away and each one can be customized for color, fonts, borders and more.

SlideIdea Widgets

3. Screencasting – The built-in screencasting tool lets you record your voice as you flip through your slideshow and will then save it to the app or your SlideIdea web account. As you are recording, you can use some basic annotation tools to draw the viewer’s attention to specific content on the slide. This could be great for students who want to practice a live presentation so that they can play it back for peer or self-assessment.

Screencasting an iPad Presentation

Continue reading “SlideIdea: An Innovative, Interactive Presentation App for the iPad”

Setting Default Apps on the iPad with Google

If, like me, you are a Google Apps user who loves to use their iPad, you may have longed for the ability to have your favorite Google services set as the default apps on your iPad. Well, you can, to a degree, and here’s how.

DriveGoogle+ on iOSgmailGooglechrome

Today I saw a post on Google+ by Chris Betcher, a Google Certified Teacher and Trainer, that reminded me how to do just that. It’s simple really, and there is no need for workarounds or even jailbreaking your device, because Google has done all the hard work for you.

Whether you realize it or not, Google has updated its iOS apps so that they can talk to each other. For instance, it you click on an email link while inside Chrome, the iPad will automatically open the Gmail instead of Apple’s Mail app. The same applies for links that lead to a file in Drive. Clicking the link inside of Gmail will open the file in the Drive app, instead of Safari. Found an interesting link in Google+?  Tap the share arrow, and you can open it in Chrome.

Setting Default Apps on the iPad

Apple doesn’t allow you to set default apps on the iPad, so how is this possible? Well, it is all down to a bit of clever engineering from Google. If you navigate to the Settings in Gmail or Chrome, you will find a menu option called Google Apps. Clicking that, allows you to choose a Google iOS app to open something that may normally be opened by Safari or the Mail app.

So, all that is left to do is to wean yourself off some of Apple’s default apps. Mobile Safari is a great browser, and the Mail app is very solid too. However, if you find yourself in these apps when you would rather be in Google’s apps, all you need to do is shift your focus to using the Chrome and Gmail apps instead.

Using Google on the iPad can sometimes be a bit of an ordeal, but in case you haven’t tried it, the experience is very much the same on Google’s Android tablets. You can set default apps on Android, but if you use Chrome to access your Google Drive you will still be forced into the mobile view and warned that you are using an incompatible browser when in the Desktop view. Still, progress has been made, and Google’s commitment to mobile devices is clear, even if the support is not coming quite as fast as some of us might like it to! 🙂

For more information on setting Google’s apps as default apps on the iPad, watch Chris Betcher’s video below, and check out this follow-up post on how to set Gmail as the default mail app on iOS.

What’s New in Pages, Keynote and Numbers for iOS Classrooms?

Recently, I wrote about the latest updates for iMovie, iPhoto and Garageband. However, the iLife apps were not the only apps to get a refresh. Pages, Keynote and Numbers also received important updates. These touch optimized office apps are default apps for a lot of iPad schools, simply because they are great for creating digital content. So, in this post we take a look at just what you can expect in the latest updates for Pages, Keynote and Numbers.

Pages

pages for iOS

• Stunning new user interface designed to match iOS 7
• Over 60 Apple-designed templates
• Your most important text formatting options are right in your keyboard, and always just a tap or two away
• Use comments and highlights to share ideas and feedback with others
• Animate data with new interactive column, bar, scatter, and bubble charts
• Use AirDrop to send your document to anyone nearby
• Quickly and easily share a link to your work via Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook
• Anyone with a shared document link will always have access to the latest version of the document and can edit it with you at iCloud.com using Pages for iCloud beta
• Turn your documents into ebooks by exporting to ePub
• New unified file format across Mac, iOS, and web makes documents work seamlessly everywhere
• Turn on Coaching Tips for guided in-app help
• Pages is now available in Arabic and Hebrew
• Improved support for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean

Keynote

keynote for ios

• Stunning new user interface designed to match iOS 7
• New animations and effects including updated Magic Move, Clothesline, and more
• New Apple-designed themes
• Animate data with new interactive column, bar, scatter, and bubble charts
• Use AirDrop to send your presentations to anyone nearby
• Quickly and easily share a link to your work via Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook
• Anyone with a shared document link will always have access to the latest version of the presentation and can edit it with you at iCloud.com using Keynote for iCloud beta
• New unified file format across Mac, iOS, and web makes presentations work seamlessly everywhere
• Turn on Coaching Tips for guided in-app help

Numbers

numbers for ios

• Stunning new user interface designed to match iOS 7
• Brand-new Apple-designed templates
• Animate data with new interactive column, bar, scatter, and bubble charts
• All-new calculation engine for fast performance
• Use AirDrop to send your spreadsheet to anyone nearby
• Quickly and easily share a link to your work via Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook
• Anyone with a shared document link will always have access to the latest version of the spreadsheet and can edit it with you at iCloud.com using Numbers for iCloud beta
• Export to CSV
• New unified file format across Mac, iOS, and web makes spreadsheets work seamlessly everywhere
• Turn on Coaching Tips for guided in-app help

Now that both the iWork and iLife apps are free, Apple have some compelling reasons for schools to choose iOS devices. On top of that, the new iWork for iCloud adds yet another dimension. There are also some big updates for iMovie, iPhoto and Garageband, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds for these popular apps.

What’s New in iMovie, iPhoto and Garageband for iOS Classrooms?

As you probably already heard, Apple is making both the iLife and the iWork apps free to all users who activate an iOS device after September 1, 2013. However, in addition to making these apps free, Apple also gave them a new look and updated each one with a raft of features to make them more useful than ever before. In this post, we take a look at what’s new for educators in iMovie, iPhoto and Garageband.

iMovie

imovie for ios

  • All-new, streamlined design
  • Share clips, movies, and trailers to iMovie Theater and watch them anywhere
  • Full-screen Video browser with quick clip sharing
  • Adjustments Bar for easy access to audio and video controls
  • 16 new title styles
  • Three new transitions — Slide, Wipe, and Fade through black or white
  • Two new trailers — Indie and Family
  • Slow motion
  • Cutaway, picture-in-picture, and split-screen effects
  • Add just the audio portion of video clips to a movie
  • Detach audio from video in the timeline
  • Duplicate audio or video clips
  • Trim, split, and reposition music and sound effects
  • Adjustable audio fade-in and fade-out
  • High-frame-rate video recording
  • Share via Mail and Messages
  • Use AirDrop to send video clips and iMovie projects
  • Import media via iTunes File Sharing
  • 64-bit support

iPhoto

iphoto for ios

  • All-new streamlined design
  • Create and order professionally printed hardback photo books
  • Order pro-quality prints in a variety of sizes, including square and panoramic
  • Create custom slideshows that can be interactively controlled during playback with touch gestures
  • New photo effects, including Drama, Camera Filters and improved Black & White
  • Advanced search controls for filtering photo views by multiple criteria, such as Favourites, Tags and Flags
  • Share photos directly from iPhoto using Messages
  • Add national flags and currency widgets to web journal layouts
  • Improved support for panoramas in web journal layouts
  • Photos in the Camera Roll can now be deleted from within iPhoto
  • White balance controls now include an “Underwater” option
  • Panoramic photos are displayed as wide-format pano thumbnails in grid views
  • AirDrop photos, web journals and slideshows to other iOS 7 devices
  • New image processing system for improved rendering and performance
  • 64-bit support

Garageband

garageband for ios

  • All-new streamlined design
  • Create a song with up to 32 tracks* using Touch Instruments, audio recordings, and loops – Requires devices with the A7 chip.16 tracks available on iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPad (4th generation), iPad (3rd generation), iPad 2, iPad mini, and iPod touch (5th generation)
  • Record compatible Third-Party music apps using Inter-App Audio in iOS 7
  • Drag and drop audio recordings to create Sampler instruments
  • Support for AirDrop in iOS 7
  • 64-bit support

Have you updated your iLife apps yet? Which changes are you most excited about? Be sure to check out the updates for Pages, Keynote and Numbers, because they also got some very worthwhile upgrades too.

How to Print with an iPad: Five Options for Schools

The paperless classroom is a great ideal to work towards, but the journey to get there may still involve some printing. So, just how do you print from an iPad? Well, there are several ways, and it may depend on your individual circumstances, but the information below outlines the most common solutions.

1.Email it!

Ok, so this is less of a solution and more of a workaround, but if you can email the document you want to print, you can access it on a desktop computer and print from there. It’s not ideal, but it will work if you get stuck, and LOTS of people do it.

2. AirPrint printers

There are a number of Wi-Fi printers that are designated AirPrint printers. An AirPrint printer will be recognized by all iOS devices when you enter the share or print menu in an iOS app. When they first came out, they were few and far between, but they are not nearly as rare as they used to be. Look for the AirPrint logo on the box the next time you are shopping for a printer, or see if your existing printer is listed on Apple’s AirPrint Support page. However, these are not always the best choices for schools and businesses, because the ink cartridges do not always last as long as laser printers, and replacement cartridges can be expensive.

3. The Middle Man

There’s an app for the Mac called Printopia. It lets your iPad communicate with your Mac and can be a great help with how to print with an iPad. Printopia works as a go-between. You send the print job from the iPad to Printopia, and Printopia sends it to a printer of your choice. It’s a slick and relatively inexpensive solution. Sam Gliksman even put together a workflow for how it can be used for students to submit assignments to the teacher. Read about it here.

printoipia for how to print from an iPad

4. There’s an app for that!

It sounds cliche, but there really are apps that are designed to help you print from an iPad. Most printer manufacturers have their own apps to help you print on their printers, but be aware of the fact that not all printer models are usually supported, and they tend to work with varying success. Still, it can be worth checking the App Store to see if your printer manufacturer has an app to help you print.

Alternatively, you could invest in a popular printing app like Print Central Pro. At $7.99, it is not cheap, but it could be cheaper than buying a new printer. Print Central works in a similar way to Printopia, and is consistently praised for its performance and compatibility.

print central for ipad printing

5. The xPrintServer

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t replace your existing printer just so you can print from an iPad. In fact, most schools and business refuse to do just that because of the increased costs. Enter the xPrintServer from Lantronix. This little box comes in two flavors – a home edition priced at $99, and an Enterprise edition priced at $199. When you plug it into your existing network, it automagically makes all your existing printers compatible with an iPad. Setup is easy. So easy in fact that Lantronix have made a few humorous videos to illustrate just that.

Do you print from an iPad at your school or office? Which of the above methods do you use? Or do you have another solution altogether? Feel free to leave questions or comments below.

What’s New for Schools with the Latest Google Drive Update for iOS?

Google has updated its iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch version of Google Drive with a clean new interface and a few new features ahead of the impending introduction of the new iOS 7 operating system for Apple’s mobile devices. So, what’s new and what’s still to come? Let’s find out.

Google Drive iPad App Update

What’s new for educators?

Visually, users will notice an immediate change in the layout and feel of the new Google Drive app. It now mimics many of the features you find on the Android app and you can view your files and folders as a list or a grid. The details panel is all new, and includes an image preview of your file at the top. From this panel, you can now copy the link to any document so that you can paste it into another document, app or email. Finally, there is an update for Google Presentation files. You still cannot create or edit these files, but there is a new viewer complete with speaker notes, a slide sorter view, and a true full screen mode.

Google Drive for iOS

What teachers still need

We badly need  support for tables. Why has this taken so long? Android users have it, but iOS users can’t view or edit tables and this can be a major inconvenience. I’d also love to see more sharing options. Why can’t we share documents as “anyone with the link”? Better still, why can’t Google Apps for Education users have domain sharing options to share files with everyone in their organization? And what about Google Presentations or Google Forms? Can we expect to see those added any time soon?

Conclusion

Overall, I love the update. I like the cleaner look, the ability to copy links and the nice new viewer for Presentations, but Google Apps for Education users will continue to seek further updates to increase efficiency with Drive on the iPad in the classroom. Let’s hope that comes sooner, rather than later. In the meantime, be sure to check out my guide to a Paperless iPad Classroom with the Google Drive app. It has been updated to include screenshots from the latest version of the Drive app.

The Best Free K-12 iPad Apps You Might Never Have Heard Of!

Looking for some new iPad apps to use in your classroom this year? New apps are released every week, but which ones are really worth your time? Which ones could truly push the boundaries of teaching and learning in your classroom? Sometime I am surprised at what apps people have not discovered yet, but often I am equally surprised at what I see other teachers using.  So here is a quick rundown of the best free K-12 iPad apps you might never have heard of!

StageTellagamiOur StoryToDo MathThinglink

Stage Interactive Whiteboard and Document Camera – While it may win the prize for the longest app title in the App Store, it is also a genuinely useful app that helps add yet another useful feature to your iPad. It turns it into a document camera, complete with annotation tools for your to mark up objects over a live view camera. The app is free, but there is an optional $1.99 in-app purchase if you would like to record your live session as a video.

Tellagami – If you haven’t tried Tellagami yet, you have got to give this free app a try. It lets you create a Voki-esque talking avatar video. Videos are limited to 30 seconds, but are highly customizable. You can type the text for your audio and have it read by a voice of your choice, or use your own voice. Backgrounds, facial expressions, and gender can also be changed. Videos can be saved to the camera roll for use later in apps like iMovie.

Our Story (for iPad) – This excellent digital storytelling app is simple to use and easy to achieve great results with. Created by the Open University, it allows you to add photos from your camera roll and add text and/or audio to them. It’s perfect for elementary teachers who are looking to introduce their students to digital storytelling for the first time. A good alternative app here is 30 Hands.

ToDo K-2 Math Practice – With activities that are aligned with Common Core State Standards, ToDo Math may be a great option for early years teachers looking to help their student practice some basic math facts. Skills include counting, writing numerals, addition and subtraction, but it has some nice additional touches. For instance, at the end of each level, students are also asked as to whether the questions were too easy, just right, or too hard, and subsequent questions are then adjusted accordingly depending on how they answer.

Thinglink – Welcome to the future of images, proclaim Thinglink, and I think they might be right! With Thinglink, you can add interactive elements to a picture. Web links, YouTube videos, camera roll videos, and text can all be hidden under hotspot targets on an image so that students can give multimedia description of their images.

showbieTouchCastDuolingoMoldivCargo-bot

Showbie – Still struggling with getting student assignments from their iPad to yours? Revolutionize your iPad workflow with Showbie, a (mostly) free service that was built for just that purpose. It is slick, easy to manage, and works  effortlessly. It’s the kind of app that Apple should have built for teachers a long time ago, but they didn’t. It can be used at all grade levels because students do not need an email address to sign up.

TouchCast – With Thinglink, you add interactive elements over a picture. With TouchCast, you add interactive elements over a video! They are called vApps, or video apps, and include the likes of Twitter feeds, web pages, photos, news tickers, polls and more. You can also add filters to your video or experiment with the green screen effect. TouchCasts are shared online.

Duolingo – Looking to introduce a second language to your students? Duolingo might be a good place to start. This popular app starts with the basics, but soon has you translating more and more difficult texts. It might not replace Rosetta Stone yet, but it has a clean, fresh look, and includes gamification elements to boot. Most importantly, it makes learning fun. With Duolingo you can learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English.

Moldiv – This photo collage editor may have in-app purchases, but it offers so much for free that you may as well forget that they are there. Choose from around 80 frame layouts for your photos, and add stylish fonts or labels to your collage. You can change the background color of your collage and even adjust the spacing, margins and roundness of your collage corners. Finished collages can be saved back to the camera roll or send to other apps for sharing or further edits.

Cargo-bot – Interested in teaching your students about programming, but not sure where to start? Cargo-bot may be just what you need. The premise is simple. Move crates from one side of the screen to the other. The execution, however, is less simple. It starts off easy with some in-app prompts, but soon gets more complicated and requires you to think like a programmer to complete your task in hand. Alternative free programming apps include Hopscotch and Daisy the Dinosaur.

Is your favorite on this list? Do you have an app which you like that most teachers don’t know about it? Feel free to share your comments below.

Instashare: Free AirDrop-like File Sharing for iPads and Macs

Instashare

Instashare is a new app for iOS and OS X devices that lets you share files wirelessly for free over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. I’ve been playing with it on and off for the last week, and I have to say I have been impressed with its capabilities. More importantly, it could have some great uses for a tech savvy teacher in the classroom.

How does it work? Simple really. The Instashare app acts like a bridge between your devices. You send files from your device to Instashare, and Instashare sends it to a device within Bluetooth range, or on the same Wi-Fi network. Best of all, it works with almost any file on your iPad via the sharing menu. Simply select to open your file in another app, and then send it to Instashare.

It works with Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and anything you can put in your Camera Roll. It works with Google Drive, Notability and just about any other app that lets you open your final product into another app. Notable exclusions include the likes of Garageband and Educreations.

Free iPad Files Sharing with Instashare

In the classroom, this could certainly add flexibility to the use of the iPad. Imagine a collaborative writing project where each student writes a part of the story and then sends it to the next student via Instashare. The same could be done with a collaborative video project. If all students need access to a video shot on one iPad, the owner could share it with others so that they can work on the media in iMovie or other video apps.

Videos taking up too much storage? Students can share their iMovie or ExplainEverything projects with the teacher’s Mac, and then have them saved to a flash drive or burned to a DVD. Want to add a video from your Mac to a Keynote presentation on your iPad? No problem. Send it to your Camera Roll via Instashare. It could even be a useful way for students to hand in assignments to their teacher, although currently it does not support more than one transfer at the same time. Still, it does mean no printing, no email, no fuss.

The iOS app is free, and so is the Mac app (currently listed as BETA). A Windows app is in the works, and so is an Android version. It is unclear right now as to whether they will all communicate with each other, but I am sure that would be the plan. Transferring files from iPad to iPad was almost flawless for me and worked almost every time. Going from my Mac to an iPad was a little more inconsistent at times and occasionally produced an error message, but it is a BETA app so it will surely become more reliable in time as they continue to develop it.

So, if you are looking for a quick and easy way to transfer files between iOS devices, or to and from a Mac, take a look at Instashare. The free version of the iOS app is ad supported, but these can be removed for a 99c in-app purchase.

Free McGraw Hill Apps for iOS – Limited Time Offer

Free McGraw Hill Apps

In celebration of the forthcoming Digital Learning Day, McGraw Hill has a number of apps free in the App Store right now – the majority of which are usually paid apps. They are mainly aimed at elementary aged students, but definitely worth taking a look to see if there is anything you might want to use in your classroom. These apps are free as of the time this post was published, but will go back to regular prices after Digital Learning Day on February 6.