Monday, January 27, 2014

Thing 2: iPad/iPhone Tips and Tricks

This is one of my favorite topics! I love showing people how to make the most out of that awesome little device they carry around. I have found that there are two kinds of people in the world (well, at least in the education world): those who like to "play" and those who don't. And here's the kicker: the ones who "play" are actually the ones who find shortcuts for doing things that make their lives easier. Those who say "I just don't like to take time to figure out how to do it easier" are the ones who are doing it the hard way.

My number 1 all time favorite shortcut for iPad users  - and especially teachers! - is keyboard shortcuts. They are so easy to set up, and once you have them set up you save so much time. Our teachers use the email address that ends with: It takes a long time to type! So here's the shortcut.

My second favorite shortcut is a new one for me, so this is the first time I'm writing it down. Sometimes I begin to key in something in an email or a text message and then I change my mind. I have to press and hold the backspace key and delete the letters, right? NO! All I have to do is shake the device and a message will pop up asking if I want to delete my text!! It's a miracle!

A third time-saver is to search for apps with the spotlight feature rather than looking through all of the many icons on the iPad. I rarely search for icons any more. Just slide one down to reveal the spotlight search and type in a few letters for the one I want. (And in the general settings be sure to set your Spotlight Search so it only searches for apps.)

So far you've been able to tell that I love shortcuts, right? The next two are also shortcuts. QR Codes are lifesaving shortcuts for devices. No longer do you have to try to type in the entire URL, or resort to Google searching rather than trying (I admit it, I used to do that all the time!) I now use the QR Code creator and create qr codes for all of the pages I want students and staff to easily locate.

This fifth tip works on all computers but makes life a lot easier when sharing resources. Save those long URLs with Google's URL shortener. It will save you many a headache in the future.

This last tip has to do with notifications, which are annoying, interfere with your work, and consume precious battery life. Turn them off!

Using these tips will actually help you spend LESS time on your device  - so for those people who want to do things efficiently it makes sense to set these up once. One last trick (if you're old like me): turn up the text size so you don't have to strain to read text on your device. There are quite a number of accessibility features that you can use if reading the device is a problem. They help a lot!

I tried to complete this on my ipad and got frustrated when I began adding images and couldn't view the whole document. I tried both Safari and Chrome and then decided to give the Blogger app a try. This is much better! So, if you're struggling along in a web browser, make the switch and join me in the Blogger app. You'll be glad you did.

And because it's working so well I can add one more quick tip. The iPad doesn't always know when you're writing a contraction like it's or the simple its without the hyphen. This trick usually works. To get the hyphen to appear just add one more of whatever the last letter of the word is and your iPad will hyphenate it. Want to write we're but don't get the contraction? Just type weree and autocorrect will replace it with we're. Pretty slick, huh?

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