Thursday, May 24, 2012

iPad Essentials: Use iCloud to Find and (Hopefully Not) Remote Wipe an iPad

In my last post, I mentioned using the Passcode Lock feature to protect data on your iPad, as we do use our device as a clinical tool.  An additional, and hopefully never necessary, safeguard involves the use of iCloud to delete your iPad's data.  iCloud confuses many people and for good reason- there is a lot to it.  Much of what happens with iCloud is actually more for personal than professional use, so I am not going to go into detail about its many features here.  Here is a post about what iCloud does, and here is a link on how to create an account/switch it on.

What I want to focus on in this post is iCloud's ability to help you find and/or "remote wipe" (which does exactly what it sounds like) your iPad. After setting up iCloud on your device, you can, as it mentions in the above post, download the Find my iPhone app.  This app also locates iPad, but further confuses people because if your iPad were lost, what good would it be to have an app on that missing device to find it? That sentence made me feel like a tree fell on me in the forest with no one around to hear it.

Presumably the Find my iPhone app would be helpful if you have multiple devices, but the whole function is also accessed another way.  If you have turned on the Find My iPad function in Settings>iCloud, as is shown in the picture from the above post:

Find My iPad=ON
You can also find your iDevices by logging into on a computer with the Apple ID (iCloud) login and password that you have used on your devices.  You can then select Find My iPhone (I know, it works for your iPad also), and your devices will be located, as long as they are online somehow.  Check it out, all of my devices are at home:

Click to enlarge
Perhaps I have an Apple Problem.

From here, you can Remote Lock or Remote Wipe (Erase) your iPad, thus protecting your student data. You can also play a sound that may help you locate your device, or send a "this device is being tracked" message that sometimes gives you a better chance of having a thief abandon your device (or you can freak out your teenager this way).

I hope you never have to use these steps, but it's really helpful to know about!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

iPad Essentials: Use a Passcode

For this post in my series on iPad essentials, I wanted to discuss the use of passcodes, which is important as a confidentiality measure. Many of us have our iPad set to unlock immediately when you perform the "slide to unlock":

As you might know, your iPad goes into this state when you push the "Lock" button at the top of the iPad, officially known as the Sleep/Wake Button:

Image from official iPad User Guide
The iPad also goes to sleep and is locked when you close a Smart Cover on it or a preset time has elapsed (to change that time setting, open Settings, select General, then Auto-Lock and select the time period of inactivity after which your iPad will go to sleep/lock).

There are several reasons why SLPs might want to be using a passcode instead of allowing anyone to unlock our iPads with a simple swipe.

1. Confidentiality/HIPAA- I don't want to get too much into this, because being in a public school, we aren't as well versed in HIPAA. I need to catch up. But part of my understanding of HIPAA is that it is  not based in technology but behavior. What procedures do you follow that protect patient/client information?  If you keep any client information e.g. reports, emails, full names, identifying info, or other data on your iPad, you should be using a Passcode Lock.  ESPECIALLY if you remove the device from your workspace. 'Nuff said. 

2. Kids- you probably occasionally leave your iPad in reach of kids.  Said kids then go immediately to the iPad, swipe to unlock and begin to explore/play, resulting in a transition issue that you have to deal with. Adding a Passcode Lock solves this problem. AWWW, you can't get in, kiddo.  Now let's work with my agenda. :-)

Here's how you set a Passcode Lock.

1. Open the Settings app, and select General
2. On this screen you will see Passcode Lock, and it will be set to On or Off. Tap that field to go to the Passcode Lock screen.

3. On this screen you have a choice of entering a "simple" passcode (4-digits) or a longer one such as an alphanumeric (letter and number) sequence.  Make sure you remember it, and it is probably a good idea to turn off the "Erase Data" setting, because that is totally scary.

Note: if you saw my previous post about projecting iPad to a group, it's important to know that Passcodes and locking in general play into this process.  If your iPad goes to sleep/is locked while connected to a projector, it sometimes will then not be "found" by the projector when you wake it up/unlock.  Best bet is to turn off your passcode lock and set Auto-Lock to Never when you are projecting to a group or giving a presentation. You can then easily return to your protected setting when you are done.

Happy Locking!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

iPad Essentials: Sharing your iPad screen as a Visual/Interactive Context with a Group

For another iPad Essentials post, I wanted to address a very frequently asked question about connecting iPad to LCD projectors, interactive whiteboards such as a Smartboard, TVs, and laptops. SLPs and special educators may be interested in displaying an iPad to a group in order to present info visually, or allow the group to experience an app; the iPad is an amazing teaching tool!

This is such a divergent process (you can do it so many ways!) that I thought it would be best to make a video.  This video goes through 6 different ways to share your iPad on a bigger screen, and they are all a lot easier than you think.  Because we are talking about 6 different ways, the vid is a tad long.  Feel free to skip to what you want to see and ignore my babbling.  Also, keep in mind I am not a videographer or producer, so I did the best I could shooting and editing this (with iMovie) on my iPad, and I don't know why I didn't get rid of the pen behind my ear, haha.  You may want to watch the video on a computer rather than iPad or mobile device, as I added annotations via YouTube that are only visible on the full web.

Note: Since I made this video, I learned about AirServer- an app for PC that reportedly serves the same purpose as Reflection for Mac, i.e. it allows you to mirror or show your iPad on your PC screen.

Here are some supporting links that are also in the annotations:
Apple iPad to VGA Converter
MacReach Episode on using Apple TV in Educational Settings
How to Activate AirPlay on iPad to stream to Apple TV connected to HDTV or LCD Projector
Adapter Required to connect Apple TV to LCD Projector
A Helpful Video on iPad and Apple TV in the Classroom (with SmartBoard)
Reflection App used to Mirror iPad on Mac Screen

Overall, this was fun to make and taught me about video editing on iPad and YouTube annotations...always good to have a context to learn!

Click here to see other entries in the iPad Essentials for SLPs series.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bag Game

Bag Game is an interactive app for iPad and other iDevices (iPhone, iPod) that brings the game of "20 Questions" to the iPad format. Using Bag Game (the folks at all4mychild emphasize that it is a social game that can't be played alone) children can choose an object from various categories, hide it "in a bag" and engage in a clue-giving/guessing process with another child or you as the therapist. Question prompts are provided (e.g. "Is it in the ___ group?") that also function as a question/clue tally and gear the game toward the use of Yes/No questions. However, this activity can easily be modified to target use of key semantic attributes, with the "hider" providing clues about category, function, location, associations, and appearance to a communication partner. Guessing games of this type address a number of objectives, including semantics, listening, question formation, turn-taking and other social-pragmatic skills.

I really can't think of anything but positive things to say about this app! It's simple, yet addresses a complex and key skill that students need repeated practice with.  I have used it with kids at various grade levels and they love it, from the selection of the adorable illustrations to "bag," to the "pinching" effect that "opens the bag." The categories and category items are generous, such that the app could be used to target basic categories (included: animals and food, in various subcategories, sports equipment, appliances, instruments, tools, vehicles). Most of all, I am not a "stuff guy" and I would likely never endeavor to play a real "bag" game, with the exception of the activities that come with the Talkies program, so this app caters to my need for simplicity.  Speaking of Talkies, this app, with its hidden object  context, could also be used to target visualization as a language strategy.

Bag Game is also featured as part of all4mychild's terrific Social Adventures app, an e-guide to targeting social interactions through fun games, activities, catch phrases and visual cue cards, but as a stand-alone, the price is totally right at $1.99.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

iPad Essentials: Gauge your Space

I thought it might be helpful over the next few months to share some iPad tips here, not necessarily the basics like turning on and off the device, but functions that can be viewed through an SLP lens as to how they affect our work!

The arrival of the "New iPad" (3rd Generation) and its "retina" display, which is Apple's way of saying the screen is as HD as your eye (what about people who wear glasses? is this term "lens-ist?") has raised concerns regarding how much space or memory one should have on his or her iPad. Apps that are "optimized" for the retina display tend to be bigger in size. For example, the Keynote presentation app almost tripled in size when becoming beautifully HD, growing from 115MB to 327MB. As a result, you may feel a lot less comfy with a 16G iPad, and my recommendation at this point is to consider the 32G for a new purchase. BUT, don't panic if you've got the little one, there are a few steps you can take to avoid the dreaded "your iPad is full" message.

1. Be aware of your available memory.

Many are afraid of the Settings app, but getting comfortable with navigating it is really essential to using your iPad well.  Don't go in and change things randomly, but also don't fear that you will activate a self-destruct sequence somehow and soon be sitting with a fiery iPad. In the Settings app, under General (where many of the important settings are), you can tap on Usage. This brings up this screen (note, the storage list takes a few moments to load).  Here you can see which apps are taking up the most space; this is determined not only by the app itself but also the data you have stored with it- created projects and such.

You can tap on the words Show All Apps and this is really the only place on the iPad itself that you can see a full list of apps installed on your iPad (organized in descending order of memory hoggage).

Here's where you can make some tough decisions. If you have a 16G iPad at near capacity (note the numbers right under the word Storage- they tell you how much space you have available), do you need your rarely used Where's Waldo? app, which eats half a gig? Hold that thought a minute.

From this screen, you have another function you can perform-tapping on an app in the list here brings up a means to delete it right away (knowing that you can re-install at any time):

2. Delete what you don't need (keeping in mind you can reinstall, and with a caveat)

As SLPs, we are seasonal folks. We don't keep the scarecrow hanging up all year, and similarly, you can take all those Halloween apps off your iPad as well, and put them back when you need them again.  Follow the steps above to delete apps, or, from the home screen:
1. Find the app icon
2. Tap and hold on the app until it "jiggles" and you see an X in the corner of the icon.
3. Tap the X and hit Delete on the warning message to delete the app.

The caveat here is that when you delete apps, you can always reinstall them.  They are "in the cloud" and attached to your iTunes account.  More on that in a minute. However, if you have saved projects or data, these will be deleted as well. So, don't go whimsically deleting Articulate It or Language Adventures (especially don't delete Language Adventures, because I will be sad), as you will lose your student reports.

3. Bringing apps "down from the cloud" after deletion

Apps you have deleted (or have installed on another device with the same iTunes account) can be brought back to your iPad very easily.  Simply open the App Store app and tap on the Purchased tab at the bottom.  You can then select the Not on This iPad tab at the top of the screen, and scroll through the apps or use the Search field. Note that this Search field will only bring up apps you have purchased, not new ones- tap the Top Charts or Categories tabs at the bottom to search for new apps.

That's it for now! Happy Deleting!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Announcing Language Adventures!

Students of all ages continue to enjoy playing board games! I recently worked with authors Nichole Ontis and Danielle Sears, two school-based SLPs, along with Barbara Fernandes, on a new app that translates the board game format into an exciting and fun experience for the iPad. Language Adventures (unless I missed something) is the first speech and language board game for the iPad, and takes advantage of the electronic medium to add aspects that can be lacking in traditional board games: colorful and engaging presentation of questions, super-portability, and tracking of student progress. Plus, as Jenna of Speech Room News noted, there'll be no more of that overzealous dice-rolling that inevitably results in those lovely "Where did the dice go???" moments in your sessions.

Nichole and Danielle also envisioned a flexible therapy tool that SLPs could use to address the goals of diverse students who are all playing the same game (our groups don't always "go-together" perfectly well, and we do what we can, right?) For this reason, Language Adventures is planned as an expanding app, with new targets to be added (to the current receptive and expressive targets of synonyms, antonyms and multiple meanings, spanning difficulty levels from primary grades to high school) as free updates to the app.

I have had a lot of fun with Language Adventures in my therapy sessions so far. The kids LOVE seeing their photo come up as their turn arrives, as well as the dice-rolling and token-moving effects.  I appreciate that the app is contextual, using "kid-friendly" definitions and questions based on the settings of playground (roughly for grades 1-3), cafeteria (upper elementary-middle school) and classroom (middle-high school) and providing teachable moments for linking vocabulary practice to the real world.

You can get a glimpse of Language Adventures here:


Disclosure: Author has a contractual relationship with Smarty Ears Apps and receives a portion of the profit of the sales of this app.