Aitken College iPad basics

iPads are tablet computers that have captured this corner of the market. This post will look at the basics of iPads in relation to how they will be used at Aitken College.

How do I get one – to try

The best way to get you head around an iPad is to get your hands on one. Pat has about 5 iPads that have been set up for staff use. These will be available for borrowing as soon as the covers come. If you want to have a look at one before that, come and see me.

How do I get one (or thirty-one) – to use with my students

Once again, we are waiting on the covers and some maintenance work to get the docking stations in place before they can be taken to the classroom. Once this is done, you will need to book them and then get the key to the trolley. Once you have done this, just simply push the trolley to your room and away you go.

What do they do?

To do most things on an iPad you use the touch screen. As a result, it has very few physical buttons and features.  On the back, these are:

  • The on/off button on the back at the top left-hand side. Press to turn the thing on, press and hold to reveal the slider on the touch screen that turns it off. This button also locks the device.
  • The camera beneath that (both still and video), that can be turned on using the camera app on the device.
  • Beneath that and further to the left there is the mute switch (down for mute).
  • And beneath that is the volume control.
  • At the top right is the headphone jack.
  • At the bottom in the middle is the port for plugging in the one and only cable (aside from headphones) that connects your iPad to the computer, data projector or charger.

On the front there is only one button, the Home button. Here’s what it does:

  • Press it to reveal the slider to unlock the device. While using the device, press it to return to the home screen.
  • Press it twice and you can see all the apps that are running on the device and, by scrolling to the extreme left, you can lock it so that the screen doesn’t turn around when you rotate the device and operate the music player using the controls there.
  • Hold down the home button and press the on/off button to take screendump from the ipad.

That’s great, but what does it do?

The iPad, like all computers, runs programs – otherwise known as applications or apps. You can open an app by tapping its icon on the touch screen. Some of the apps that come with the iPad are: Safari (for web browsing), the camera, photo and video apps (for taking and viewing photos and video), maps (for maps) and YouTube for searching for and viewing YouTube videos.

These apps are very user-friendly. If at any time you want to enter text into a field – say you want to type an address into the maps app – just tap the field and a keyboard will pop up at the bottom of the screen.

Logging in and connecting to the internet

As these are setup to be single-user devices there is no need to log in to an iPad and, through the wireless network they will already be connected to the internet. To connect them at home, open the Settings app, select wifi, select your home wireless network from the list, enter your password and Bob’s your mother’s brother.

What apps and where?

Aside from those provided on it, we will also have some other apps installed on the device. What these are by the time the devices get out to the students will be largely dependent on the trials that are going on at the moment and your input will be greatly appreciated.

Depending on how they are set up, most of the devices will have all the apps that we choose to get on them with Pat pushing them out through some sort of bulk Apple wizardry. If you want an app put onto all of the devices talk to me, Kim or your department head and we’ll see what we can do (or just bribe Pat).

Classroom protocols

These will develop as they are made ready for use but basically you will need to consider how to make sure that each student is responsible for their device and leaves it in a manner that is usable for the next group. All the iPads will be numbered so you can probably just work your way down the roll. Regarding their distribution, it is up to you whether you rely on the ITAGs or having a rotating roster responsible for handing them out and (CAREFULLY) plugging them in again at the end of the lesson.

More information

For more about iPads and their use in an educational setting, have a look at this publication put out by the Victorian DEECD. It is best read on a iPad and has some background information, a list of useful apps and some lesson ideas to get you started.

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About timthelibrarian

Tim Harwood is a Teacher Librarian and eLearning enthusiast.
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