The Shortcuts app for iOS is one of those apps that I didn’t spend enough time with when it first came out. It was packed full of potential, but it looked complex and difficult to learn. I was wrong. You don’t need to be a programmer or even know very much about shortcuts at all, so long as you have a few basics under your belt. That’s what this guide is all about. It introduces the iOS Shortcuts app from the ground up and gives you the tools and resources you need to be successful.
Do you use the iPhone Control Center? Most people I know have a love-hate relationship with this particular iOS feature. It’s exactly what they need when they can find it, but when they forget where it is, frustration sets in and they start to swipe madly around their screen to try and find it again. Personally, I think there is a lot to like about Control Center, especially if you take some time to dig a little deeper and take full advantage of everything that it can do for you. Here’s a look at the best it has to offer.
As much as I enjoy using Green Screen by DoInk, there are still teachers that find it hard to get paid apps approved, or to raise enough money to put a paid app on all the devices that they want it on. Consequently, I still get a lot of questions about the best free green screen app for the iPad. Up until today, there weren’t a lot of options, but a recent update to iMovie has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.Continue reading iMovie: A Free Green Screen App for iPad
A recent update to Apple’s publishing standards has allowed more flexibility in the creation and sharing of eBooks on the Apple Books Store. Previously, all books had to be submitted to the store via the iBooks Author app for MacOS. However, you can now use Pages on an iPhone, iPad, Mac or online at iCloud.com. Here’s how it works.
Earlier this week I saw a tool going around Twitter called Remove Image Background. It’s a clever, web-based tool that uses artificial intelligence to identify a person in a photo and remove the background behind them. It’s free, it works on all devices, it doesn’t require a login, and it removes backgrounds surprisingly well. I am sure that it could be used for all kinds of graphic design projects, but like many things, it made me think about green screen.Continue reading How to do Green Screen Photos Without the Green Screen
Apple held a special event in New York today. They unveiled a new MacBook Air, an updated Mac Mini, and a bold redesign of the existing iPad Pro line. All of these devices were released just in time for the holiday season, but are they worth your time and, more importantly, your money? Here’s what you need to know.
Recently, I had the need to create a screencast of an iPad app for a teacher I work with. Normally, I would just AirPlay my iPad to my Mac, and then record (and edit) my video with Camtasia. However, this time I felt like doing something different. I wanted to explore the options for doing this using an iPad, because I am increasingly of the opinion that there are very few things you can’t do with just an iPad any more. As it happens, there are a number of apps that will let you do this, so in this post I am going to demonstrate one of those apps, tell you about the process I used, and as suggest some others that you might want to take a look at if you decide to try this yourself. Here’s what you need to know.
There are a number of decent annotation apps for the iPhone & iPad. I know, because I have used a lot of them. However, I almost never use a dedicated app any more. The tools that I need are actually built-in to iOS, and they cover almost all of my image annotation needs. I’m talking specifically about the Photos app. It has some great options for marking up images and screenshots, but not everyone knows where those tools are. So, here’s what you need to know.
Up until this week, I rarely used an external keyboard with my iPad. The on-screen keyboard was fine for what I needed to do and unlike a lot of people, I really have no problem typing on the screen. I can’t type as fast as I can on a standard keyboard, but I can type fast enough to churn out emails and blog posts with no real concerns. This week, however, I decided to try something a little different. I resolved to use the iPad as my only device for a week.
On a “normal” week I would spend my time switching between a MacBook, a Surface Pro 4, and my iPad for the tasks that I need to get done. However, I happened to read an article entitled, Stop Using A Laptop in 2017; It’s Time To Use A Tablet. In it, the author made a case that desktop operating systems are less relevant than they used to be, so that got me thinking. Could I use an iPad, and only an iPad, for a week? No reason why not, right?! The challenge was on, and I took a Bluetooth keyboard along for the ride.
If you use an Apple device, you are probably increasingly used to using dongles, adapters, or whatever else you want to call them. They give you the functionality that Apple doesn’t natively include because of design constraints or a forward thinking approach to new technologies. However, there are dozens of Apple adapters available, and it can be hard to know which ones are the right ones for any given situation. This edtech gear guide was written to help remedy that problem.
I want to… connect wired headphones to an iOS device with no headphone jack.
More information: This dongle lets you plug 3.5mm headphones into a device that has no traditional headphone jack, however, it can be used with any iOS 10 device that has a lightning port. It can, for instance, be used to add an extra headphone jack to iPads, but a dual headphone splitter, or a multi-headphone splitter, would be cheaper (or more efficient) in the long run.
I want to… plug a traditional USB device into a new Apple MacBook.
You need: USB-C to USB-A Adapter
More information: If you own one of the newer MacBook laptops, you will be missing standard USB ports to plug in Bluetooth mice, a SMART board, or other USB accessories. This adapter restores that ability, but so do USB-C Hubs.
I want to… connect my new MacBook to the internet with an Ethernet cable.
More information: The Ethernet port has been missing on MacBooks for some time now. This adapter is for MacBook and 2016 MacBook Pro users who want to connect to the internet with a wired connection.
I want to… connect my old MacBook to the internet with an Ethernet cable.
You need: Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
More information: This is the same adapter as the one above, but it works with older MacBooks that don’t have the USB-C inputs. Instead, it converts a Thunderbolt port to an Ethernet port. You can also use the Apple USB Ethernet Adapter.
I want to… connect USB devices to my iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.
You need: Lightning to USB Camera Adapter
More information: The Lightning to USB Camera Adapter was designed to help you transfer photos and videos from a digital camera to an iOS device. However, this handy dongle also allows you to connect a USB microphone for better audio recording, a USB keyboard for better typing, and some other low power USB accessories. It’s a handy adapter to have because of how flexible it is. You can’t use it for all your USB devices, (a mouse and a flash drive will not work), but it’s compatible with more than you think.
I want to… connect my older MacBook to a VGA projector or external monitor.
You need: Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter
More information: The majority of projectors used in schools today seem to have a VGA connection. A VGA connector is the trapezoid shaped port with pins on the male side and holes on the female side. This adapter lets you use a VGA cable with your MacBook so you can connect it to a projector, monitor or TV that has VGA connectors.
I want to… connect my new MacBook to a VGA projector or external monitor.
You need: USB-C to VGA Adapter (Apple price: $29)
More information: This dongle lets you continue to use a VGA projector with the newest MacBooks by converting one of your USB-C ports into a VGA connector.
I want to… connect my iPad to a VGA projector or external monitor.
You need: Lightning to VGA Adapter
More information: Another pricey adapter but a must have if you want to show your iPad on a SMART Board, projector or TV via a VGA cable. It needs no wifi access and is generally very reliable. The Apple adapter includes a lightning port to let you charge your device while it is on screen.
I want to… connect my MacBook to an HDMI projector
You need: USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter
More information: This adapter comes with an HDMI port, as well as a USB-A port and a USB-C port for charging while connected. You can also use most third party USB-C hubs that have an HDMI port.
I want to… connect my iPad to an HDMI projector or external monitor.
You need: Lightning Digital AV Adapter
More information: This is the HDMI version of the adapter above. It works in exactly the same way, but connects to HDMI devices as opposed to VGA. It also includes a lightning port for charging while your iOS device is displayed on screen.
I want to… connect import media from an SD card with my Macbook
You need: USB-C to SD Card Reader
More information: For some reason, Apple still refuses to add the SD card slot on new Macbooks. Maybe it will return one day. Until then, you need this adapter or third party USB-C hubs that have an SD card slot.
I want to… charge and iOS device with a micro USB charger
You need: Lightning to Micro USB adapter
More information: Apple made these at the behest of the European Union who sought to standardize charging ports to reduce electronic waste. However, you can buy them in the United States if you want. As always, third-party options are available.
Need more help?
Unsure which dongle or adapter you need? Want to double check that you picked the right one? Leave a comment below, or drop me an email via the contact page, and include as much information about what you are trying to achieve and the devices you want to do it with. If there is an adapter out there that fills that need, I’ll tell you what it is, and where you can buy it.