Thursday, January 22, 2015

Add Custom Keyboards to your iPad in iOS 8

iOS 8, among other enhancements, brought the ability to add 3rd party keyboards to the operating system. Previously, though some modifications of the keyboard were possible, we had little choice in customizing keyboards for use with learners of different ages and styles.

With iOS 8, keyboards are searchable and downloadable from the App Store. With a few taps in the settings app, they are made available any time the keyboard is visible. Some of the most interesting educational keyboards are being made by AssistiveWare, creators of Proloquo2Go. Among these are Keeble ($14.99), a keyboard for adults with visual and physical impairments, and Keedogo (1.99/4.99), a child-friendly keyboard!

Keedogo has a look and feel that will make your young students want to type! In addition, the keyboard can be customized to offer more extensive word prediction choices and ABC or Querty layout.

After installing Keedogo from the App Store, open the Settings app and navigate to the General>Keyboard section. Tap Keyboards>Add New Keyboard and Keedogo will be available under Third-Party Keyboards. You will need to enable Full Access in order for the keyboard to work. To see this process on video, see this tutorial.

From any app that uses the keyboard (remember that the keyboard only appears when the context is one in which you would be typing), you can then tap the Globe symbol to switch between your available keyboards. In this way you can have Keedogo available when you want it, and switch to the grown-up keyboard when using the iPad yourself.

A view of the Keedogo app being used with the Pages word processor. Tapping the Globe icon allows you to switch between the keyboards. 

Tap the 123 button and then the Cog key to customize the Keedogo keyboard's theme, layout, word prediction and other features.

If at any time you decide you want to delete the Keedogo keyboard, navigate to Keyboards in the Settings app and sweep left to delete Keedogo. You can always reinstall and enable it later.


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