iPadoPedia excerpt

thiefDevice Management: iPads might be brilliant teaching tools, but they also provide endless online temptations, are relatively fragile, and deliciously stealable. We look at how to keep them safe, in one piece, and your students on task.

The vulnerable, troublemaking iPad

The best teaching ideas in the world for your iPads will mean little if the devices themselves are no longer there, damaged, or giving ADHD to every student in the class. Unfortunately, the very traits that make iPad so versatile in a classroom can also conspire to make thievery, damage and mischief more likely than not.


iPads are expensive, they’re in demand, they’re portable, and they’re difficult to tell apart—a lip-smacking checklist for any thief.

They’re also light, are frequently carried around, and feature a glass screen—which means that if they fall butter-side down, there’s a very real risk that screen will break.

They’re also potentially the single greatest distraction device to have been allowed within light years of a classroom, and would likely have been banned outright in any other teaching era. Not only can they play games, and be used to communicate with other students, but they can show any movie ever made—it would be like a student of our generation having a stereo, a gameboy, a phone and a television set right there on the school desk.

All of this is outweighed by how monumentally useful they are, but there’s nothing useful about a stolen, damaged or out-of-control iPad. If you don’t intelligently put preventative measures in place though, you’ll regularly be dealing with all three.

Keeping them secure

With tablet computers being so easily to pilfer—it’s not like trying to steal a piano or a sports car—opportunity is not merely necessary to tempt thieves, but often sufficient. If iPads are around when nobody else seems to be, they’re likely to walk.

This means everyone involved in the program has to be fanatical about ensuring that an unattended classroom means locked-up-iPads. Every time, no exceptions. If your class is just quickly popping outside to look at the unusual cloud formation that you just spotted for your meteorology unit, the iPads should be secured first, or brought with the students.

Similarly, when students go out to lunch, or the class heads off for physical education, the iPads would be locked away again. And again at the end of the day. This policy of every time/no exceptions means limited opportunities—the only way for the devices to be stolen is if there’s a break in.

Know where every iPad is: Just knowing that GadgetTrack might be installed is a deterrent in its own right.

Of course, there’s nothing you can do to stop that, but there are things you can do to make it difficult for your burglar—who is presumably in a hurry—to find your iPads in the first place. Most teachers love labeling things, but what you don’t want is a cupboard with “iPads” written on it. (It’s like marking X on a treasure map for pirates). If you must label your iPad cupboard, try “junk” or “unusable/broken art supplies”—unless it’s an inside job, someone breaking into your classroom might just ignore that cupboard entirely.

To add an extra layer of security…

…consider installing an app like GadgetTrak. Not only will it use GPS or wifi-triangulation to locate exactly where a stolen iPad is, but—and this is serious-but-funny-at-the-same-time—can take a photo of whoever is currently using it, and then email it to you. You won’t need Poirot to solve this case.

“Branding” each iPad

Whether students are bringing their own iPads, or you just need to keep track of which student was assigned to which school-owned device, it’s important that you can quickly disambiguate ownership/custodianship over each device—not easy when all iPads look essentially the same.

One quick, free and effective way to do this is to set the wallpaper for each iPad to be immediately, self-evidently unique, like the world’s easiest spot-the-difference puzzle. That way Emily knows that hers is the one with the picture of the frog, Ramana has the rhinoceros, Jessie the camel.

Numbered Lock Screen:  It’s not the most exciting wallpaper ever made, but everyone will know exactly which iPad this is.

Numbered Lock Screen: It’s not the most exciting wallpaper ever made, but everyone will know exactly which iPad this is.

Or—less imaginatively, but perhaps more usefully—you might simply have each wallpaper show a different number, displayed in large screen-filling font, so that you can see from a distance which one is which. When the time comes to store the iPads, each would go into its corresponding numbered slot; when they come out tomorrow, students know exactly which slot theirs is in.

Of course, the ultimate in instantly being able to tell which student belongs to which iPad is for the lock screen of each iPad to actually feature a photo of the student who owns that iPad—it makes it very easy to tell if a student is carrying someone else’s iPad.

How to do this?

Picture based branding: Load up Safari, find the image you want, click and hold on that image and select “Save Image” – the image will now be saved to your camera roll collection of photos.

Alternatively, you could simply take a photo with the iPad.

Either way, to turn that saved image into a wallpaper, load your camera app, find the image in your collection, click the right-pointing arrow icon at the top right of the screen and select “use as wallpaper”.

Choose “Set Both” when you’re then asked whether you want to set this for your Lock Screen or the Home Screen – that way you’ll see this wallpaper when students are using the iPad, and when it’s just been woken up.

...or name it:  No Alexander, that’s not your iPad. How can I tell it’s Denise’s? I’m a teacher; I just know things.

…or name it: No Alexander, that’s not your iPad. How can I tell it’s Denise’s? I’m a teacher; I just know things.

Number or name Branding: Instead of trying to find the image you want, it’s often easier just to load up Pages, type a number or name in a huge font so it fills the screen, and then take a screenshot.

That screenshot is saved to your camera roll; from there setting the image as a Lock Screen and Home Screen background image is exactly as outlined above in Picture Based Branding.

Record the serial number

Of course, an enterprising thief could always change the home screen…that’s where the serial number provides the ultimate tool in matching iPads to legitimate owners.

The serial number is unique to each iPad, and can be found on the back, right down the bottom. It’s in a font that you almost need jeweler’s glasses to read, so it’s not a practical way to easily identify ownership, but it’s a useful failsafe if for disputes about whose unit is whose proves impossible to resolve any other way. If you’ve got a record of every serial number, and who they belong to, then you’ve got a FinalAuthority in the event of any misunderstandings.

Preventing damage

Outside of theft, the next most likely disaster is physical damage, which is made vanishingly less likely if the iPad has a good cover. A lot of users think that the iPad looks so good that it just doesn’t need a case, but this is not about aesthetics, it’s about an extra line of defense between that glass screen and anything hard (ie. most of the world).

A cover is the easiest, most cost effective way to provide basic protection against physical damage. (iPads might be great tools, but they can get all Humpty Dumpty on you if you drop them)

A cover is the easiest, most cost effective way to provide basic protection against physical damage. (iPads might be great tools, but they can get all Humpty Dumpty on you if you drop them)

So what makes a “good” cover? You’ll see all sorts of options with magnets and auto-on opens and stands and shells, but for protection purposes, just make sure it actually covers front and back, and that when closed, doesn’t leave any edges or corners unprotected.

Websites like cnet.com and arstechnica.com will have reviews and roundups. Don’t skip or skimp; this is kids, gravity and glass objects we’re talking about here.

Aside from that, in elementary schools, a policy of iPads-locked-away during break times will make sure they’re not on the playground while students are.

Recommended rules of usage

Students will generally cherish their iPads, and would be horrified if theirs was damaged, so they’re motivated to take good care of them from the outset. This is even more the case if the iPad is demonstrably and enduringly theirs, rather than whatever they grabbed from the shelf today.

Still though it’s important to have clear guidelines as to what “careful with an iPad” means. Obviously you’ll need to tailor for the age group and needs of your own class, but here are some common candidates for iPad physical usage guidelines:

  • Clean hands. Art sessions with lots of messy paint are great. iPads are great. The combination, not so great.
  • Two hands when carrying. Probably not necessary for your Year 12 Economics class; definitely a good idea for your Year 1.
  • Keep it out of extreme temperatures. The recommended operating temperatures for an iPad are actually not all that different from those of a human being. If the sun streaming through a window makes a place in the classroom too hot to sit in, it’s too hot to store an iPad.
  • No other object placed on iPads. So it doesn’t end up being sat on by mistake, because nobody could see it; also avoids pressure on the screen from other heavy objects. This includes leaning on the closed iPad.
  • No liquids. Water and electrical devices. ‘nuff said.
  • Locked away when you’re not with it. See the notes earlier in this chapter about security.
  • Soft, dry cloth only for screen cleaning. No cleansers of any type to be used.
  • Don’t lend it to other students. The consequences for breakage/misuse fall on the student who owns the iPad; they need to be in control of its destiny.
  • No stickers/engravings/etchings. Especially for students who are used to covering lunchboxes and exercise books with whatever. School iPads should always look like they’ve just come out of the box for the first time.
  • No disassembly or attempted repairs. As a sealed all-in-one unit, there’s limited scope for do-it-yourself repairs, but if something gets lodged in the lightning port, you don’t want students attempting extraction with a compass-point.

Monitoring usage

Particularly if your classroom is wifi enabled, an iPad is a gateway to pretty much every form of entertainment ever created. It’s not just readily distractible students who can succumb to the siren’s call; unless you want your iPad program to descend into FaceTube anarchy, there are two measures that need to be in place:

First of all, there has to be meaningful consequences for breaches of whatever usage code you establish—the prospect of suddenly being the only student in the class who is not allowed to work with iPads any more is usually sufficiently daunting. Show them some pencils and paper—or better still, slide rules, quills and ink—and let them know this will be their iPad Substitute during any (painfully lengthy) lockout period. Just like the olden days, when we were at school.

I know. The horror.

Secondly, it requires effective monitoring—or at the very least, the universally held belief among students that there is effective monitoring. Students are less likely to goof on their iPads if they know that at any given instant you can see exactly what they’re looking at.
This combination of use-it-the-wrong-way-and-lose-it with I-can-always-see-whatever-you’re-looking-at means that suddenly the whole idea of just quickly popping into FaceTube fails a cost-benefit analysis. You’re going to get caught, and you’re going to lose your iPad.

So how do you see what they’re seeing?

A low-tech solution is to simply invert traditional teacher positioning in the classroom, and place yourself behind all your students, so that they can’t tell whether you’re looking at their screen right now or not. The constant possibility that you might be makes goofing an uncomfortably risky prospect.

Another tactic is the random “freeze”. All students, hands in the air; anyone who doesn’t comply instantly loses their iPad for the day. The teacher is then able to wander the class and see what’s on every screen. If they suspect a student may have been quick enough to switch away from whatever they were doing, a quick double tap on the home button will bring up a history of which apps they were using.

Again, it’s not the actual checks that have the impact here—it’s the constant and real possibility that a check might happen at any time.

But if you want to get serious about knowing exactly what’s going on at all times, then there’s a brilliant option in development from the team at NetSupport Schools. At the time of writing this edition of the book it was in beta only, but once released, the software will allow the teacher to see what’s on the screen of every iPad in the room—it actually will display every screen right there on the teacher’s own iPad. The teacher can zoom out for a bird’s eye view of all the screens, or zoom in to see individual screens up close…students will have no idea exactly when they’re being monitored like this, which is reason enough for the program to keep misuse in check.

You can also lock any student’s screen—or the class as a whole—to get their instant attention…
…all very exciting, but not here just yet. Keep an eye on netsupportschool.com for updates.

Bringing it all together: Licensing

The idea behind licensing is that students earn tiered access to iPads, by demonstrating that they’re responsible enough to be entrusted with each new level. Provide evidence to the contrary, and their license—and its attendant access privileges—can be downgraded.

LicenseThere’s a number of parameters a license can target. One potent option is to use it to regulate access. So a student with a Level 1 license might have to surrender their iPad at the end of each school day; a Level 2 might be allowed to take theirs home on weekends; a Level 3 might be allowed to take it home every day.

Alternatively, the licenses might target ownership. So, for example, a Level 1 student might be required to share their iPad, a Level 2 might get an iPad to themselves, but only by “borrowing” one of the generic communal class iPads—it wouldn’t be theirs, and they might get an entirely different one next time; while a Level 3 student gets their own iPad, labelled with their name, and that’s permanently set aside for their own use.

You could also use a system like this to unlock access to additional apps. Students on Level 1 might just have access to a couple of very basic apps; students on Level 2 can choose 2 more; students on Level 3 can choose an additional 5, and so on.

The structure is up to you, but a tiered system like this is a powerful incentive to want to do the right thing—not everyone will end up with the top tier license, but the right students will.



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ArchivingHow iPad makes a class Archive possible • Collecting everything your students have ever done • Creating portfolios for parent/teacher meetings • Setting up Best Of galleries • Getting written work into your Archive • Giving students access • Tagging student work so you can find anything instantly


AttendanceFaster, smarter ways to take the roll • Going beyond what’s possible with paper • Visual tap-to-mark-off photo-based roll options • Multi-purpose classroom admin tools • Replicating traditional rolls • Archiving paper records • Taking the roll in less than a second

Behavior Management

Behavior ManagementUsing iPad for daily orientations • Waiting-room style cycling announcements • Personalized runsheets for special needs students • Noise monitoring • Behavior gamification systems • Managing class chores • Turning students into celebrities • Using iPad as both a carrot and a stick


BrainstormingWhy brainstorming is better on iPad • Fast, text-based just-get-it-down brainstorming • Sketches and diagram based brainstorming • Classic Buzan-style mindmaps • Capturing sessions on audio or video • Asynchronous Brainstorming



Calculation with working(!) and rewind(!!) • Themed, fun and quirky calculators • Calculators on demand • Using iPad to measure everything from angles and distances to seismic activity • Conversion tools • Calculating with Siri and Google Search • Timers and Stopwatches


canstockphoto11121938Video analysis • Slow motion replays • Highlights and blooper reels • Virtual back page newspaper reports • Playbooks • Scoring and stats • Drill compendiums • Team management • Managing temporary groups within a squad


communication1Setting up group email for instant classwide contact • 
Alternatives to face-to-face meetings for busy parents • Creating an online document repository for students and parents • Plugging iPad into existing schoolwide communication management systems • Setting up a class website or blog

Creative Writing

canstockphoto3592668Using iPad to generate random creative writing triggers • Triggers for younger writers • Tools for fleshing out characters • Apps to help students find the right words • Drafting tools for poetry and lyrics • Planning and outlining • Writing collaboratively with iPad • Drafting, editing and proofreading


demonstrationsUsing iPad to create replayable video instructions • Archiving your demonstrations • Freeing yourself to teach more, repeat yourself less • How students can access your video demonstrations • Creating help-on-demand with QR codes • Student-created demonstrations • Using existing video libraries

Device Management

thiefMaking iPads harder to steal • “Branding” iPads for easy identification • Setting up a serial number database • Preventing damage • Recommended usage rules • Monitoring usage • Making students accountable: setting up a licensing system


discussionsUsing iPad to involve shy or unengaged students in discussion • Working with asynchronous discussions • Maintaining a record of who said what • Giving speeches to the class...from home • Recording and annotating discussions • Using iPad for groupwork assignments


canstockphoto4209397Apps for traditional flashcard-based test preparation • Going beyond what’s possible with traditional flashcards • Math drilling for basic arithmetic, tables, mental math tricks, pre-algebra, basic algebra and geometry • Options that work with the entire K-12 math syllabus • Spelling Drills • Foreign language vocab drills • Music drills • Gamification of drilling


Also included in the iBook

Handing in Work

Freeing yourself from needing USB drives • “bumping” ipads to hand in work • iPads and email-based submissions • Using DropBox • How your iPad can accept handwritten submissions

Managing Homework

Using iPad like training wheels for time-management • Standalone homework management apps • Syncing homework online • Using GTD to organize their whole week • Basic homework management with Calendar

Marking Work

Annotation options for iPad • Marking handwritten work • Going beyond written feedback • Iterative marking • Peer review • Pre-emptive marking • Marking by panel • Using your class Archive to calibrate your marks


Entering the post-photocopy age • Five reasons you can replace most of your photocopying with your iPad • Using your iPad as a scanner • Apps that turn handwritten words into wordprocessor-editable text


Using your iPad to plan the year ahead • Freeform planning • Managing the teaching day • National curriculum references • Referencing plans and notes from previous years • Planning classroom layout


Going beyond PowerPoint • Creating Keynote presentations on iPad • Non-linear presentations • Getting iPad onto the big screen in your classroom • Using iPad as a speaking prompt • Presenting directly onto your students’ iPad screens • Dazzling with Augmented Reality


Rapid repurposing of one source into many types of publications • Setting up a class blog • Creating a magazine-quality PDF • Turning work into an iBook • Creating a comic • Producing a class radio show • Building a self-guided kiosk • Turning assignments into a movie • How younger students can create eBooks


Setting up and working with paperless quizzes • Paperless testing with Google • Real-time testing with Socrative • Turning testing into a game • Students as quizmasters • Creating QR-triggered video walkthroughs of the answers • Adding mystery and anticipation: Using QR to reveal questions


The case for students doing most of their reading on iPad • The essential reading apps • Creating notes, bookmarks and highlights • Accessing a free library of all the classics (over 42,000 titles and counting) • Reading on the web • Deferred and curated reading • Magazines and journals on iPad


Turning field trips into publications • Adding high impact production values to raw media • Your excursion as a comic strip or slideshow • Creating written reports on iPad • Using iPad to edit and assemble video recounts

Report Writing

Using your iPad classroom Archive as a comprehensive student reference • Summoning examples of written work • Attendance and photo cheat-sheets • Tracking and annotating student behavior issues • Customizing your own records • Keeping your records secure


Collecting and organizing information on iPad • Setting up and working with curated resources • Researching with apps (atlases, encyclopedia, Wikipedia fractals • Resources for the classic elementary school units • Options for upper secondary students • Referencing and citation generators

Taking Notes

Getting past the input hump: using keyboards with iPad, writing directly onto the screen with styluses, or using iPad to annotate recordings • Working with Cornell or guided notes • Options inspired by traditional blank page notebooks • Indexed notes • Managing huge collections of notes • Notetaking with mindmaps • What notetaking with iPad means for students

Video Learning

Helping students work with tens of thousands of teachers • Auditing lectures from around the world with iTunes U • Curating YouTube and Vimeo for your students • Stealing brilliant ideas from great teachers • Commercial video libraries • Creating your own video library