Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is Guided Access?

Do you only have one iPad to use in your classroom? Is it your personal device? Do you have students that you want to use an iPad, but are too concerned that their attention will wander to other areas of the device? Surely not. But if you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need to know about guided access. 

Guided access lets you control where a student can go on an iPad. You can lock the student into using only the app that you want him or her to use. Essentially, you choose the app, turn on guided access, and then hand it off to a student. The student will only be able to use that app until a passcode is entered. Here's how you set it up.

Go to your "settings" app. Go to the "general" tab and then scroll down to "accessibility". You'll find guided access under the learning category. Press it. This takes you to the guided access control area. Turn the switch to "on". This enables guided access for you. Next, press "set passcode". Enter a four-digit passcode (I would suggest the same one you use for the lock screen. No need to remember more combinations). Now you are ready to go. 

Launch an app you want your student to work with. Once it's open, triple-click the Home button to enable guided access. The screen will now show several options. You can disable all interactivity and lock rotation. You can also turn off access to particular regions of the screen. That way students can only interact with your predetermined areas. Then press "start". 

Now, no matter how hard he or she tries, the iPad won't let the student leave that app. If the home button is pressed, it lets the student know that guided access is on. Even pressing the power button does nothing. When the home button is triple-clicked, it prompts for the passcode. That's the only way out. 

Guided access is a great tool for teachers who want students to use the teacher iPad but don't want to give access to personal accounts such as email or social media. Its limitation to one app is good and bad. I would love to be able to limit to more than one app so some students could use multiple apps at the same time like iMovie and Safari to complete projects. Maybe that upgrade will come soon.

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