iPad Cheat sheets from IPad for Dummies

Not that you’re a dummy. I hate that title- I know it is tongue and cheek but dummies is such an ugly word. How about , “iPad for Neophytes”? Or for the hipper among us, “iPad for Noobs”?

Anyways. I digress.

I am planning a series of cheat sheets for those on staff who do not yet feel comfortable with the iPad. Well, imagine my surprise when I came across some online cheat sheets for the iPad via the dummies site.

They have three cheat sheets:


These are printable, so if you are teetering between the old school world and the new school world, you can print out these bad boys and tape them up on your desk. Or you can PDF if them and stick them in your ibooks!

I plan to make a cheat sheet about:

  • Email
  • itunes store and accounts
  • Pages

Let me know if you have an app or a topic you would like me to cheat sheet! (I know. Cheat sheet is not a verb. But I flout the grammar rules I tell you. Flout.)

Google Drive for iPad has arrived!

Okay. So as anyone who has attempted to use google docs on the iPad knows, up to now it has been an exercise in frustration. Limited editing capability. The real time collaboration capacity, what makes google docs so valuable to so many people, choppy at best, completely non-functional at worst.

This issue has come up again as we prepare for our first iPad roundtable of the year. I was reading, yes, the google doc we started so staff could tell us what they want to talk about and discovered that Ms. Art teacher has encountered many issues in her class with the iPad and google docs. (I have written about the dysfunctional marriage of google docs and iPads before)

So I do what I always do when confronted with a problem I don’t know the answer to…I go to the hive. Or better known as the iPad forum (this one happened to be in linkedin) where I found out that google was going to follow up their launch of google drive (the app otherwise known as google docs). Of course, I rushed to the app store and yes! There it was! Google Drive!!!

#1: Sign in. You should be able to do this.


#2: Choose your file! As you can see, the interface is nice and simple, though I would have like to sort my files from more recent to less recent. They are now sorted alphabetically.

Luckily, there is a recent option, which I clicked and found our roundtable document. I clicked on edit and voilà:


But the real question is, if I edit it on the iPad, will it be shared in realtime? I checked the document on my desktop and yes, my text was there!

You can change the colour of your font, handy when there are several people collaborating on a document.


There are some basic formatting options as seen above. However, as Ms. Art teacher has pointed out, there is no option to insert hyperlinks… As well, in the description of the app, they say you can insert media, which I am unable to find in the editing on the iPad:

Quickly share a photo with a friend 1000 miles away. Read the most up to date version of your document whether you’re at home, at the office, or on the go. Make items available offline so you view them while you’re on a plane. No matter what happens to your devices, even if your iPhone goes for a swim, your files are safely stored in Google Drive.

Oh- Just figured that out. You cannot insert a photo in a document but you can upload a photo to google doc:


Maybe you can add it to a doc after? let us try… Nope. IN fact, I uploaded it then couldn’t find it. had to use the search field…

You can see if anyone else is viewing the doc:


You can share the document:




Here are some other sharing options, as well as options to move your document into folders, etc. What I don’t see is an option to download your document into Pages or something similar, though you can opt to view your document offline:


In a nutshell: although it is not perfect – they still do not have an option to “open in” Google Drive from your email. You can’t upload photos or movies directly to your doc. You can’t hyperlink- the collaboration works very well as well as basic editing. This free app goes a long way to transferring the amazing functionality of Google docs we have been used to on our laptops and desktops to the iPad. Hopefully they will keep on improving!


On the iLab: syncspace- a collaborative whiteboard!

Earlier this week Ms. “I’ve been on sabbatical and no nothing about the iPad” came to see me about an app that would allow her class to collaborate on lexicons for her French class.

Now this is a very interesting query, one that my librarian brain had to dissect:

Me: What do you mean by lexicons?

Ms. Sabbatical (S for short): I want the students to group words on a specific theme together.

Me: Okay- so you don’t need a tool specifically for lexicons?

Ms. S.: No. Something like google docs but for drawing that we can do on the iPads.

Me: [lots of thinking out loud, brainstorming and then giving up and writing down the query on my very long list of things to do]

It is only now, at the end of the week that I figured out the answer was right underneath my nose. By doing several searches on the internet and finding lists like this and like this and like this, I figured out that our iLab iPads already have a tool that can do this ready and waiting for someone to know what to do with it.

So teachers of Trafalgar, I present to you Syncspace!

Here are the specs, shamelessly pilfered from their website:

SyncSpace for iPad provides a zoomable drawing space that can be shared in real time over the net, a sort of shared whiteboard. Turn on synchronization and send a link to the document to others who will be able to see your drawing and also make changes using SyncSpace. Syncspace

To use syncspace, the first thing you have to do is turn on sharing, then invite via email:



When the student gets the email, they must first make sure to open the syncspace app and turn on sharing. Then they will click on the link in the email:


The different members can share the document with others as well- not just the first creator! The link will take them to the syncspace website. All they need to do is click on the middle choice- draw:

The links takes them back the synscspace app and the shared document appears. They can now edit!

In the following drawing, the different colours were made via different iPads. You can also type your words by pressing down on the screen until a textbox appears. A whole range of colours are available, as well as different fonts. The realtime syncing works instantaneously:


You can also add photos:


Because the price for synscpace is pretty steep ($7.99), I would recommend booking the iPad lab for this use.


iPad + Physics = ?

Just read about a fascinating study involving iPads and a high school Physics class, called Can iPads Make a Difference in Physics Education?

Here is a particularly juicy excerpt:

One fascinating shift that the researchers noticed was from the students’ reliance on teachers as an authority to reliance on evidence from their experiments. For instance, one experiment required the students to cut a PVC pipe to produce a certain frequency of sound. Before they had iPads, the students had to rely on the teacher to determine pitch by ear. Several iPad applications allowed the students directly engage with evidence instead of relying on an authority figure. By numerically determining the frequency of the sound waves, the students conducted their science experiments independently.

Students gained more autonomy through the ways they compiled their solutions to homework problems as well. Throughout the course, students used screencasts — video captures of their work on the iPad — to complete their lab reports. With screencasts, the students could also overlay their own narration to create multimedia solutions to their problems.

Read more…

Here is a list of the best physics apps according to Physics.org.

Flipped Classroom Video on iPad

Mr. Scruton, our beloved math and multimedia teacher, has made a screen video using two iPads to show his Grade 7 multimedia class how to make a slide show presentation. This is a good example of how the iPad can be useful in a flipped classroom.


Here is what he had to say about how he made it:

Here is the link to a vid that I made by taking a video of one iPad with another iPad. I edited the film in iMovie, then exported. The exported file was way to big (on medium). I opted to jing the playback window from iMovie. There are some minor problems with stops (from the playback of iMovie), but otherwise is ok quality at very low size.

Here are the links:

I assume the Mr. Scruton, when faced with the large file, synced the file to his laptop and then used jing to record the recording.
An alternative route to deal with large files would be to upload them to your youtube page and then share the link with a select group of people. All students at our school have youtube pages attached to their official email- it has been the way we have exported movies from the lab iPads to the teachers. They only have to share the link with their teacher ( a simple click on the privacy options and voilà! An easy way to get a movie off the iPad!

Examples of iPad Classroom Integration




I came across this great article this morning entitled ” Six Examples of iPad Integration in the Classroom” via Edutopia.  It has many great ideas, all of them applicable to our students.
Here is a screen shot of a section of the article:

Read more….

I especially like the idea of teaching a calculus lesson via a music video. Check out all six ideas from Burlington High School, Burlington, MA!

20 Fun Free Apps that Promote Student Centered Learning & Literacy

Welcome back!

Although we have been back for a couple of weeks now, I have been busy managing textbooks and thus have not had much time to do anything else. If ever there was a reason to go digital, believe me managing dusty, gross old textbooks would be it. I hereby make a direct plea to the publishing companies to figure out an affordable education model for digital textbooks now. Please.

In the meantime, I thought I would share this awesome post from a blog aptly named Teacher Reboot Camp.

20 Fun Free Apps that Promote Student Centered Learning & Literacy.

Lots of lesson plans and tools to discover, notably Mentormob, a tool that allows you to organize videos, websites or yes, even old school articles into a playlist, as well as woices, an app that allows your students to create location-based audio guides. This is a very intriguing idea for any language class, or perhaps even history class? 125th anniversary activity for Traf anyone?

Check it out!