Friday, February 24, 2012

iPad - Five tips for making an image

I want to talk images today. Using an image is a great way to mirror all the iPads in a traveling pack or cart. It's pretty simple to do, you just have to make sure you allot time to tweek the image to make sure it includes everything you want. There are several tools you can use to make sure your image is perfect. Here are some tips for you.

1. You can put six apps in the dock (the bottom of the screen that stays the same on every page). This is a great place to keep readily used apps.
2. You can create folders. Press and hold an app until they all start wiggling. Then pick up and drag one app on top of another. You have just created a folder! 20 apps fit in a folder
3. Create web shortcuts for easy navigation. In Safari, choose the action arrow button and select "add to home screen". This creates a shortcut that looks like an app. Name it whatever you want and move it in folders or on the dock. Great for finding popular sites quickly.
4. Organize apps on the pages. You can create new pages and sort in whatever fashion you want. For our elementary carts, we chose to sort by content. We didn't go by grade because many apps fit for multiple age groups.
5. Add a background image. Import an image file to serve as your background. You can use different images to number the iPads so it's easy to see which device you are using. Add your school logo or student picture if you want to personalize.

That's a few tips for getting a good image started. Once you have it chosen, then you'll need to deploy the image to the other iPads. Essentially, all you will do is back up that master iPad to your iTunes or iCloud account. Then for each new iPad, you will "restore to backup". That will put the exact same image on every iPad in your cart.

Hope that helps you get started. Next time, I'll talk about configuration profiles. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know @mattvillasana

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Traveling "iPacks"

One successful deployment model we've started this year is the "iPack" (I'm not sure if that term in copyrighted or not). We purchased two sets of five iPads to travel amongst the elementary schools. I haven't seen this model used in other schools, so we didn't have a lot to go on. We weren't even sure if teachers would use them. It was so awesome to get both packs checked out for the entire school year in just a few weeks time!!

There is a lot to discuss about the iPacks, so I won't even attempt to do it in one post. I will add more information soon. Subscribe to our blog or follow me at @mattvillasana.

Check out our iPack page for general information on the iPacks, and stay tuned for more 'behind the scenes' on how I got them set up for deployment.

Getting started with your iPad2

With so many people purchasing iPads, it was important to get some information out there to help people get started. We found it was really difficult keeping up with training because of how quickly the device was spreading through the district. I'm not sure we could count how many trainings we have done to get teachers and administrators started.

If you are interested in the basics of iPad, here is an easy to use resource to walk you through set-up. Enjoy!

Getting Started with iPad


Kerry led a great session on eBooks and ePubs after school today. And that's tough to do because of all the choices out there. She focused on iBooks, Kindle, Nook, and Google Books. With so many options out there, it's important to find one that is going to fit your needs the best.

I thought Kerry did an awesome job of showing teachers how an app like iBooks could be used with students. There are great organizational features that allow you to sort your books and pdfs in categories. Teachers could create their curriculum by moving downloaded eBooks, self-created ePubs, and pdfs by class or content area. Another great tool is the ability to highlight and write notes within the app. What a great way for students to record their thinking!

For more information, check out Kerry's agenda here: eBooks: Finding, Using, and Creating