Thursday, September 28, 2017

Approaching iOS 11...carefully

For those of us that depend on our iPads to any extent in our work, a new operating system brings exciting new features, but some trepidation. As it should. Apple released iOS 11 two weeks ago, and it comes with some cool updates particularly for the iPad. Note also that not all devices currently "out there" will be prompted to install (i.e. "can run") iOS 11. This is just a function of the cycle of upgrading (and on the downside, the march toward obscelence). To see if your device can run iOS 11, check this list. Remember you can always google your device model number (on the back, wicked small) to find out what generation your device is. If you are not able to update, don't stress. This doesn't mean your device is useless at all. You may run into apps that you cannot download due to your use of an earlier operating system, or hear of updates to apps that are similarly not available to your device. Just keep on keepin' on and think about upgrading to a new device eventually. The 5th Generation iPad is quite reasonably priced at $329.

It seems that iOS 11 was a line in the sand Apple needed to draw with developers who have not updated their apps in some time, and they need to update their apps for compatibility or they will simply not launch once you have installed iOS 11. This is the real reason I wanted to write this post, to advise you to wait a bit before updating (a month, maybe?) and check compatibility of your indispensable apps before you update. They've made this really easy to do! THIS POST EXPLAINS HOW.

I went through this list and checked, and for me there was nothing I couldn't live without except the original Toontastic (I'm ok with the new Toontastic 3D, but before updating I need to save some animations I made in the original as I often talk about the applications of these types of apps in workshops).

Unfortunately, if the developer is no longer interested on keeping their app functioning, apps that remain incompatible will just take up space on your iPad. Check out these different ways to delete apps- I particularly like the 2nd way of deleting from Settings.

I look forward to talking about the cool features of iOS 11 in the weeks to come.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Organize yourself (and maybe others) via Google Keep

In the last few weeks, I started back to work after summer vacation and began my regular consults at several schools. I am focusing on taking better notes--and organizing them. Notes are of course a way we can keep data on students, but providing consultation through a private practice motivates me to provide the best services possible, which in turn means not forgetting nuggets of information that could/should turn into action items for me. Historically I have been a little scattered in this process, using a combo of Mac/iOS Notes, Evernote, Google Docs and, well, actual paper notes. Starting the year fresh, I am trying out Google Keep, and so far am loving it. Some reasons why:

-I am embracing efforts at minimalism, which in this case are satisfied by using one resource (Google Apps) in many different ways.
-Keep looks like Post-its. This is pleasing.
-Within Keep, quickly click or tap to start and title a note. Notes are displayed in an array before you, and as opportunities arise, you can tap out of one note and into another. This is particularly useful in consultation as student names come up and new info is shared, or when running groups.
-Keep allows you to color-code and label notes for organization. Like other Google items, you can share and collaborate a note. Students' work products can be photographed and placed in a note for additional data. You also can make notes contain reminders or checklists.
-I have been keeping one note on each student in my charge and I see options ahead- I could either make these a monthly note or each note can be copied to Google Docs.
-So far I have been using Keep via its web version on the Mac, but there are apps available for iPad and iPhone and other platforms.
-Keep is free with a Google Account and you can log in from anywhere (I got turned off of Evernote when it only allowed you two devices).
-Students may also have access to Keep (or you can request the administrator to "turn it on," and it therefore provides another assistive tech possibility within their existing Google Accounts.

As I am taking notes in the cloud so to speak, I always only put student initials as identifying info.

This video provides a great tutorial from an educational perspective. Enjoy Google Keep if you try it!