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 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 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 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.

Our Story for iPad: The Best Digital Storytelling App for Young Writers

There are a lot of digital storytelling apps for the iPad. Each is just a little bit different from the others, but one stands out among the others, at least for me, because of its simplicity, ease of use, and ability to tell great stories. On top of all that, it is 100% free! I’m talking, of course, about Our Story for iPad, an app created by The Open University. In my opinion, it is the best digital storytelling app for young writers. Here’s why.

Our Story for iPad

Open the app for the first time and you are greeted with three choices Get Started, Create a New Story, or Use Existing Story. Tap the green button to begin Add a title for your story, then find the photos you need in the iPad camera roll. Drag the images you want to the tray at the bottom of the screen.

Our Story for iPad Creation screen

To begin adding story details, tap on the image you want to use in the timeline at the bottom of the screen. That page of the book will open and you now have the choice over whether you want to add text (tap the keyboard), record audio (tap the microphone), or do both! The app keeps things simple. There are no font choices, page layouts or anything else, so that definitely cuts down on distractions and helps focus the user on the story. When you are done with the page you are working on, the back arrow will take you back to the previous screen to choose another page.

Our Story for iPad Creation Screen

If you want to return to the story to work on it later, press the save button (the floppy disc icon) to store your progress for another day. If the story is finished, you can view it by pressing the purple play button to see the finished product. Stories can be shared from this screen too. Tap the printer for a printed version (no audio of course) or share by email, Dropbox and iTunes as a PDF. You can also send it to other users of the Our Story app the same way so that they can play and edit your story.

Overall it is a great app. Personally I would like to see the option for students to take a picture inside the app and use that in their story, instead of relying on existing images. Alternatively, access to a simple drawing tool would be nice to have students illustrate their own picture if needed.

Otherwise, I think this is a very worthy app for any elementary or primary classroom, and can be a great way for you to create digital stories with your students. Give it a go if you have never used it before.

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.

The Best LMS iPad Solutions for K12 Students and Teachers

With blended and online learning becoming an increasingly popular teaching model for the classroom, more and more teachers are turning to a learning management system (LMS) to help facilitate learning outside of the classroom. Many of these services allow you to access their features on an iPad through a website, but apps are often created for a more user friendly tablet experience. So, here is a roundup to some of the more popular options for teachers using iPads.


1. Canvas: Infrastructure’s learning management system is designed to be used by all devices. It has an HTML5 website that works very well on the iPad, but if you ever need to add a file, or have a student submit a file as an assignment, you are going to want to turn to the Canvas iOS apps for help.

Canvas has two iPad apps. The first, Canvas for iOS, is designed for quickly checking your course content, looking at the latest announcements, and for uploading files to your Canvas class. The latter is achieved via the Open in another app option that is now commonly found in most of your favorite apps. Canvas has a useful guide for uploading files to the iPad, and you can view that here.

The second Canvas app is the Speed Grader app. With this app you can browse through student submissions, make video, audio and text comments to students, and grade using a point scale or via a rubric that you have previously set up.

Canvas is free for individual teachers to use with a class, but if you want students to have access to multiple courses with the same login and be part of a whole school LMS initiative, then you should really look at the paid version of Canvas that comes with more management features and helps unify the teacher and student accounts under one domain.


2. Edmodo: The ever popular Edmodo recently got a makeover to improve the user interface and make it easier to navigate. In the previous version, the Edmodo app looked almost identical to the Edmodo website. Now, the Edmodo app has a more distinct look. It is recognizable and built along the same theme as the website version, but it is not nearly as similar as before. New features are listed here.

Edmodo is not quite as full featured as something like Canvas, but its simplicity and ease of use is hard to ignore. I usually tell teachers it is kind of like a private Facebook, but that may be doing it a disservice, because although it looks similar, it really does a lot more. Notes, polls, quizzes, alerts and assignments can all be created inside Edmodo. Students and teachers can send apps to the Edmodo app and add them to their Library for assignment creation or submission, and this is done in much the same way that that you do in Canvas.

If teachers do find fault with Edmodo, then it is usually the organizational side that frustrates them. It is harder to structure an entire online class with modules, assignments, etc. and keep all of it in one place with some kind of hierarchy. It just doesn’t function that way. There is also no way to create or take a quiz on the iPad app right now, however, you can if you go to Edmodo through Safari or another iPad web browser.

However, in the interests of fairness, Edmodo will tell you quite openly that they do not regard themselves as an LMS. Whether you think that is semantics or not is up to you. At the end of the day it really comes down to what you want to do with your class in an online environment. If Edmodo meets these needs, all the better.


3. Schoology: The last LMS for iPads that I want to mention is Schoology. With the schools that I work with, Schoology is not as popular as Canvas and Edmodo, but don’t let that put you off, because there are plenty of school districts that are very happy with the Schoology platform.

Schoology is comparable with Canvas in many ways, and offers the same “try before you buy” pricing model. It is free for teachers to create a class for their students, but if you want the benefits of having everything under one umbrella, you will want to look at their Enterprise package.

The Schoology iPad app is a free download, and lets you access many of the features you would expect. Assignments can be created by teachers and submitted by students. Teachers can manage their classroom, create assessments, and grade student assignments with custom rubrics that are later viewed by students.

Schoology is a very structured and organized LMS, much in the same way as Canvas is. Assignments, online discussions, a gradebook and even attendance can be take on the iPad app. Push notifications also alert students to the latest updates that you post to your class. There is also a calendar so that students and teachers can keep track of assignments and future events.

So are you using an LMS in an iPad classroom? If so, which one would you recommend, and why?

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?


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.


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.

How to Become an iPad Keyboard Ninja! (The Education Edition)

Some people love it, others hate it, but the iPad keyboard is here to stay. Personally, I love it. I almost never use an external keyboard because the on-screen one works so well. It is also packed full of hidden features you might never have used before. So, if you are ready to become an iPad Keyboard Ninja, read on!

Three Layers of iPad Goodness

So, let’s start with the basics. There are three layers to the iPad keyboard. The first is the one you see every time the keyboard pops up. It has a QWERTY keyboard and some of the other most often used keys. To access layer two, tap the .?123 button in the bottom left or bottom right hand corner. Here you will find numbers, punctuation and an Undo button. Layer three is accessed from layer two by tapping the #+= button in the bottom left and bottom right of the keyboard. Here you will find more punctuation, special characters like the percentage sign, asterisk and even some currency symbols. The Redo button is also on layer three. To get back to the number keyboard (layer 2) tap .?123, or tap ABC to go right back to the first layer (QWERTY).

Thumb Texters Unite

In iOS 5, Apple added the option to use a split keyboard for typing. Some students prefer this as a typing option because they have been raised on cell phones and small screens where they tap away at insane speeds to type their messages. Some adults like it too. How do you do it? Put two fingers on any two keys and pull them apart. The keyboard will stay that way until you push it back together with a finger on each side. If for some reason your keyboard will not split, go to Settings > General > Keyboard and turn on the switch next to Split Keyboard.

split ipad keyboard

Hide or Move the Keyboard

Sometimes the keyboard just gets in the way, especially in landscape mode, and it can be hard to see what you just typed. However, you can hide, or move the keyboard very easily. In the bottom right hand corner of the iPad keyboard is a button that looks like a keyboard with a down arrow. Tap it once to hide the keyboard. Press and hold it to see another way to split your keyboard or undock it. If you undock the keyboard you can slide it up and down your page to see text that may be hidden behind it. To move the keyboard, press and hold the same button and slide up and down on a page. To dock the keyboard, press and hold the keyboard button and select Dock.

undock split ipad keyboard


Have you found the caps lock on your iPad yet? Simply double tap the shift key on either side and it will turn blue. You have now activated caps lock and everything you type will be in all caps. Tap the shift key again to exit caps lock…and stop shouting on the Internet! 🙂

caps lock ipad

Shortcuts to Success

The iPad Keyboard can be programmed to autocomplete some simple words and phrases to save you time. For example, try typing omw and the iPad will offer up the option to autocomplete the phrase On my way! Just tap space to type the automated text. You can program custom commands too. On my iPad, typing jw followed by the space bar will type my work email address. Think about how often you have to type that. Wouldn’t you or your students like a shortcut? You could even set up some words or phrases for students with spelling or fine motor difficulties, and list them on a card next to the iPad for whenever they need to type them. To create your own, go to Settings > General > Keyboard and scroll all the way to the bottom where you will see Add New Shortcut…

keyboard shortcuts ipad

Parlez-vous francais?

How would you like the ability to switch languages on your keyboard without affecting all the other apps and menus? If you are an MFL teacher or have ESL students in your room, this could be a very useful feature. To add a keyboard from another country, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard… By default, there is only one keyboard, but here you can add more. Once you have added the keyboard(s) you need, you will see a new globe button appear in the bottom left hand corner of your iPad keyboard. Tap this to switch keyboards, or press and hold to select the language you want to switch to. Oh, and if you haven’t added the Emoji keyboard yet, you should. You can thank me later! 🙂

ipad keyboard languages

The Case of the Missing Apostrophe…and Other Rogue Keys

A complaint I hear often about the iPad keyboard is that there is no apostrophe on the top layer of the iPad. You have to dive into the second layer every time you want to type a contraction correctly. Actually, that’s not true. Press and hold the exclamation mark and, as if by magic, the apostrophe appears above it. Slide your finger up to select it. Press and hold the question mark and you will find quotation marks. Want to write café like the French do? Press and hold the letter E to find an e with an accent on it. There are lots more like this. Try some other keys to see what you can find. It is great for word origins, foreign language words, and more.

Hidden iPad Apostrophe Key

The Safari Address Bar Keyboard

Ever noticed the keyboard change depending on whether you are searching the Internet or typing a website address? Take a look, because it does. Typing in the address bar of Safari modifies your keyboard. The space bar disappears, because Safari knows you don’t need a space bar to enter a website address. What you might need however, is the colon, forward slash, underscore and hyphen keys, so Apple adds those instead. You also get a .com button to help complete those URLs you are typing in the address bar. Better still, if you press and hold the .com button, you can also select .edu, .org, .net or .us. Just slide up to select the one you want.

safari keyboard ipad

Speech to Text for (Almost) Everyone!

If you have an iPad 3, iPad 4, or an iPad Mini, your keyboard has a built-in dictation feature that will turn your words to text at the tap of a button in any app you can type in. Simply tap the microphone on your keyboard to activate Siri Dictation and clearly speak the words you want to dictate. Press the microphone again when you are finished and the iPad will turn your speech to text. A list of what you can say can be found here, and again it can be a great tool for young writers, and those with spelling or fine motor difficulties. Be aware that you will need a WiFi connection for this to work, and your mileage may vary on translations if used in a noisy classroom. Consider a USB mic or headset. If you have an original iPad or an iPad 2 try Dragon Dictation or PaperPort Notes for similar functionality.

ipad dictation

Spell Check and Auto Correct

I’m not about to debate the merits of spell check and auto correct here, but if you are tired of the iPad suggesting or correcting words that you don’t want changed, or your students are doing something like a spelling test on the iPad, you can turn off all those automated keyboard corrections by going to Settings > General > Keyboard and flipping a few switches to the off position. You can also turn off the ability to double tap the space bar to insert a period in this menu too.

autocorrect options ipad

And with that, I now proclaim you an iPad Keyboard Ninja. Go forth and spread your knowledge, and feel free to leave any tips of your own on innovative ways you use the iPad keyboard in your classroom in the comments below.