Tag Archives: iOS

Scenes from a middle school classroom

6th grade social studies- creating and comparing physical and political maps.


A student asks his group, “Wait, do we need to label the cities?” He raises his hand is about to ask the teacher when someone from his group responds, “Check the rubric.”

The student goes to their teacher website, bookmarked on her iPad, and scrolls to the bottom of the page, clicks on the rubric which opens up a table in google docs. The student reads aloud the expectations for full credit to the group. The student who originally asked looks at me and his group and says, “So yes, I need to label everything,”

The students showed me their physical maps which had been drawn by hand, then taken a picture of and imported into notability. Within the notability app they labeled the key features and exported the file to their teacher for an initial grade. While working on their political maps by hand, they constantly consulted their physical maps within notability to ensure the two maps were aligned and that towns and cities were accurately placed according to landforms.

On the board, the devices sign was turned to off- meaning the device could only be used for the apps listed below.




How to back up your Notability files to Google Drive

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 3.11.07 PM

Unless you are backing up your iPad to a computer or iCloud, data stored in your apps, like Explain Everything, Pages, Notability, etc,will no longer be there if you need to wipe and restore your iPad.

Let’s say you use Notability for your observations of teachers if you are an administrator, and observations of students if you are a teacher. You are using Notability to not only write in notes onto the observational document, but also recording audio from the classroom. This can take up a lot of data, and the 5MG of storage in iCloud may be used up quickly. You can use Google Drive as a place to back up your documents.


5 Links Monday (on Wednesday) 10/23/13

A shout out to the faculty and staff at Coal Ridge Middle School who shared with us that they’ve used these posts as exploratory time during a faculty meeting. It’s great to hear that people are finding 5 Links Monday helpful (no matter what day it gets published). If you’re using these posts for your own learning and exploration, we’d love to hear about it. As always, we’ve been scouring the Internet for 5 helpful links for you over the past week, and we’ve got our findings below. If you’ve a link to share, please post it in the comments.

Link 1 – Notegraphy Does the Heavy Graphic Design Work for You

This slick iOS app connects to social media, and does the fine work of incorporating the styles of leading graphic designers to make otherwise text-heavy messages carry some artistic wait. This would be a great way to improve assignment reminders, pull important quotations from class texts, or send positive notes out to students. I recommend some fun playtime.

Link 2 – Yes, you can program on the iPad

The folks over at Lifehacker have given some thought to a common complaint, namely, that users can’t program on an iPad. As more and more conversations about living in a digital world focus on helping students learn to program, these are helpful answers, and they open up a treasure trove of resources to keep kids creating for online spaces on iOS devices.

Link 3 – Gardner Clears the Air on Multiple Intelligences

Anyone tied to education has likely had at least passing connection with Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. It’s also a little likely that those intelligences were mentioned in the same breath, if not the same sentence, as learning styles. They aren’t the same thing, and as Gardner puts it in this Washington Post piece, he’s ready to clear the air and clear up the confusion that leads to the conflation of these two principles. If you’re curious as to how people think and the conversation around what “smart” really means, you should take a few minutes here.

Link 4 – Finding Your Way Home after More than 2 Decades

While it’s not not a commercial for Google Maps, this story is also more. I watched it imagining lessons helping students to think about location, place, finding their way in a digital world and telling a story with photos, images, and sounds. At the very least, there would be great learning through showing the video and following up with the question, “What did you notice?”

Link 5 – What Can Students Build from IWitness?

The USC Shoah Foundation has compiled more than 1,300 video testimonies from the Holocaust. The Foundation’s IWitness Challenge asks students in classrooms around the country to tap into the tremendous power of those testimonials and create video works to motivate and spark change in their communities. You can find out here, and get your students started in affecting change by learning from and honoring the past.

Help! Configurator ate one of my licenses!

I just got off the phone with a fellow Apple Configurator user. She had purchased a single copy of a $299.00 app (yes, the decimal is in the right place….) and when she imported her spreadsheet into Configurator, it wouldn’t let her add the app to the device (she got the error, “no licenses available”. Whenever this happens, you can troubleshoot it in this way.

1. Go to iTunes, find the app, and from the File menu, select Get info. Confirm that the account name is the VPP account email. If it’s not, it means you redeemed the code with another account and Configurator won’t accept it. I’ve seen this once or twice where people forgot to log into the correct accout, and redeemed a code with their personal iTunes account.

2. Make sure you truly have an extra copy of the app available – you can do this by clicking on the number to the right of the app name in Configurator’s App list. If all licenses are taken by devices, you’ll have to purchase more, or remove the app from another device first.

3. If the account information for the app is correct, have the program facilitator head back to http://volume.itunes.apple.com and re-download the spreadsheet for that app and send a copy to you. Return back to Configurator and reimport the spreadheet again. This fixes the issue almost every time. It won’t work if you simply reimport the old spreadsheet you have previously downloaded, you MUST get a fresh download from VPP. This was the issue this AM and the $299 app was saved!

PS – Also make sure you’re using the most current version of Apple Configurator, 1.2.1 at the time of this posting.

Configurator 1.2 is here.

Apple has released version 1.2 of Apple Configurator and it includes many new features. If you’re ready to update your supervised devices to iOS 6, we recommend that you first update to the newest version of Configurator.

To update Configurator and run the iOS 6 update on your devices:

  1. Make sure you have a current backup of the machine running Configurator. That way if anything goes wrong during the update, you can recover your data.
  2. Check for any app updates in the iTunes store.
  3. Update the Mac OS to 10.7.5 (minimum) and update iTunes to 10.7
  4. Either put in a work order or call the Help Desk at x57730 to have the Configurator update installed. To expedite the process in your call, log in to the devicemgr account and have the App Store open on your machine.
  5. Once Configurator is updated, open the application. Be prepared to be patient as it may take a while to open initially. Add any updated iOS apps to the Configurator Apps list.
  6. In the Configurator Supervise Settings, use the Check for Update option to receive the iOS 6 update.
  7. Plug in your devices and wait for the update magic to happen!

Changes in Apple Configurator 1.2 and supervision include:

  • The ability to lock a device to a specific app.
  • The ability to use Restrictions in the profile to restrict iMessage and Bookstore use.
  • The ability to restrict explicit and erotic content categories in Siri and the Bookstore
  • The ability to restrict the removal of apps
  • Global proxy settings (this gives the ability to filter content even when devices aren’t on the SVVSD wireless). More coming on this soon.

It appears this version also correctly allow access to the full quantity of apps purchased through VPP. If you update and still have issues with licenses not being available, please let me know.

Issues with iOS 6 and Configurator 1.2

  1. Supervised iPads running iOS 6 have an issue when restoring a backup as part of the Configurator process. When the devices get to the step of restoring from backup, they may shut themselves off, which results in the process giving an error. Until this issue is fixed, you can work around it by watching for this step and manually turning the devices on before the process times out. (Not much fun if you’re working with devices in a cart.). Or, you can choose to not restore from a backup for the time being. For info on what is included in the backup process in Configurator, check out this post.
  2. This version still doesn’t deal with the issue of not being able to transfer Camera roll media from a supervised device.

You can find the update manual for Apple Configurator 1.2 here. Please share information and send along your questions as you update your devices!

iTunes U featured content: FOSS Science

Apple’s iTunes U is a free resource provided by Apple where K-12 schools and teachers, non-profit organizations as well as colleges and universities can upload and share multimedia content, including complete courses.

If you’re an elementary science teacher in the district, you can find supplemental audio content for our FOSS science kits there! The content includes audio recordings of the student science stories as well as teacher preparation videos to assist you in setting up for a science kit.

To access the content, you can preview and download the files onto a computer using the iTunes application. On an iPod touch, iPad or iPhone device, you can do the same by downloading the free iTunes U app.

Here’s a link to the FOSS content from the Lawrence Hall of Science. You can also open the iTunes Store on any device and search for “Lawrence Hall of Science”.

Apple Configurator for iOS: Understanding Backups vs. Profiles

I’ve gotten several questions lately about how Apple Configurator works through the sync process for supervised devices. Here’s a bit of info on the inner workings of two important components: device backups and configuration profiles.

Apple Configurator allows you to do more than just manage apps on your devices. Through the use of Backups and Configuration Profiles, you can restrict certain features as well as pre-populate some app content and web clips onto your devices.

To do these things, it’s important to understand the difference between a configuration profile and a backup as well as to understand the process a supervised device goes through when syncing in Configurator.

What does a Configuration Profile do?

Apple Configurator, as it is currently deployed in SVVSD, can be used by the device manager to:

  • Set Restrictions to limit items such as:
    • App purchases
    • Use of the camera and FaceTime app
    • Use of built-in apps such as Safari and YouTube
    • available content in iTunes and the App store by its content rating
  • Set up Web Clips for easy access to district websites.
  • Configure web filtering for devices (this will be coming in iOS 6)

Configuration profiles can be created directly in Configurator. You can find more information about how to create and install Configuration profiles on the Apple website here.

What does Restore from backup do?

Unlike backups of a computer, Configurator-created backups don’t include every piece of data from a device.  In general, Configurator backups include:

  • App locations and app folders. In short, if you want apps to be placed in a particular order or in a particular folder on your devices, this location information will be kept.
  • Contents of particular apps including:
    • Photos
    • Notes
    • Contacts
    • Safari pages that are loaded at time of backup
  • Settings changes as made in the Settings app such as:
    • Accessibility settings
    • Keyboard settings
    • Languages settings
    • Lock screen timeout settings

Backups to be applied t0 Supervised devices must be created from a Supervised device. You can find more information about creating backups on the Apple website here.

In what order does Configurator apply changes?

When a Supervised device is plugged in, Configurator applies changes in this order:

  • Any changes to the device name are applied.
  • Any iOS updates are applied.
  • Any changes to the iOS settings are installed
  • Any newly unchecked apps are removed from the device. If these apps were purchased though VPP, their redemption codes are recaptured and available again for another device to use.
  • Newly checked apps are installed on the device.
  • If a backup is selected, it is applied to the device
  • If a Configuration profile is selected, it is applied to the device.

If you plug in a cart of devices, each device will go through these steps in order, but you may notice that Apple Configurator staggers the start of this process across all the devices.

Why is the order important? It helps to explain some of the issues you may sometimes see when things don’t go quite as you expect. For example:

  • While using a sync cart or case, if you uninstall an app from a large number of devices, and in the same step install it on other devices, you might get an error that there are not enough licenses.  Uninstall the app and apply this change before trying to install the app onto new devices.
  • If you’re looking to place Web clips created as part of a Configuration profile on a particular page or in a particular folder, you might notice that they don’t always end up in the correct place. This is because the backup (which determines the location of an app) is applied before the Web Clip (which is part of a profile) is installed.
  • If you use a configuration profile to restrict app installations, you might receive an error that apps can’t be installed on the device, even if you’ve changed the profile. This is usually because Configurator installs apps before it checks to see if a change has been made to the restrictions set in configuration profiles. Uncheck the profile or recheck the specific option in a profile to allow installing apps and apply before adding or removing apps.

For more information on using Configurator in St. Vrain, check out the complete set of directions here.

Configurator Update and App Installations

Apple has released two updates recently for their Configurator software. The most recent version, 1.1.2 will address issues with licensing via the Volume Purchase program. In some instances, schools were reporting that Configurator was showing one less license available than the quantity purchased.  This issue is fixed in the most recent release.

If, after you update, you are still not able to access all of your licenses, re-download your app spreadsheets from the VPP portal and re-import your VPP spreadsheets into Configurator.

To update to this version of Configurator, either put in a work order using the link here, or call the Help Desk when you are at the machine that is running Configurator.

On a related note, some schools are unable to update or install apps on devices after this update. If you experience this issue, make sure that your Configuration profile is set to “Allow installing apps.” If this is unchecked, the devices will stop the install process.

The easiest way to manage this is to create TWO configuration profiles. In one, set all the restrictions as you wish, while still allowing apps to be installed. In the second profile, make the change to the App installation permissions.

When you want to install apps in the future, follow this process:

  • Attach the devices to the Configurator machine
  • Uncheck the profile that prohibits installation of apps and apply
  • Add apps to Configurator and install on devices
  • Recheck the profile that prohibits installation of apps and apply

Here’s a video to walk through the process:

Update: Managing iOS Devices

Late last spring, Apple introduced a new tool to assist schools in managing iOS devices. Apple Configurator is an application that runs on a Mac and allows you to manage settings, restrictions, and app permissions for up to 30 devices simultaneously.

While there are still some bugs and inconsistencies in the system, this tool is much more effective in managing carts and cases of iOS devices than the previous method of using iTunes.

If your school or department is managing multiple iOS devices, check out the updated resources and directions via the link here.