The iPad 2 has been a great tablet. I have had little issues with the iPad including connecting to wifi networks. Unfortunately that seems to have changed with the update to iOS 7. I really didn’t want to update my iPad 2 to the latest OS but unfortunately my iPad broke. I had to send it the iPad away to be fixed. When th iPad came back from repair it was updated to ios7 and that seems to be when the problems started. Ever since the repair I have had problems with my iPads wifi connection. The iPad 2 would loose the wifi connection or it would the connection would be very slow. I tried a number of changes to my router based on some Apple forums but none of them seemed to fix my problems. If I restarted the iPad things would work for a little while but then the problems would came back. Resseting the wifi setting seemed to work temporarily but I was getting tired of always resetting the wifi.
Finally I decided it was time to update my wireless router. I had read that a different router worked for some people. I hate the idea of changing hardware just so my iPad 2 works but If I could find a good cheap router it would be worth it instead of sending my iPad back to Best buy and being without an iPad for 18 days!
I found a new western Digital router that allowed two USB hard drives to be connected to it. This would also help my storage limitations on the iPad. So I gave it a try.
It seems to work! One of the reasons why a different router seems to make the difference is the 5 MHz band. Apparently my old router only used the 2.4 GHz band. With my new router I named the two networks with 2.4 and 5 in the names so I could tell what connection each device used. I was surprised that the iPad preferred the 5 GHz band while my iPhone 4S preferred the 2.4 GHz band. My guess is that the iPad 2 had some issue with 2.4 GHz and possibly has something to do with iOS 7 update.
Not only did the new router seem to fix my iPad 2 wifi connection problems but it also has the potential to fix my iPad storage issue. The router has two USB ports which I hope to use as a cloud storage solution for the iPad. I hope to write more about it in the next few days.
Lego is finally coming out with a tablet and Smartphone compatible Lego Mindstorm set. The Lego Mindstorm EV3 was announced at the 2013 CES show.
It is not quite clear how the new EV3 Mindstorm will work with Tablets and Smartphones but a new processor is the key. According to Lego:
“the EV3 Intelligent Brick now un‐tethers robots from the computer by providing users expanded on‐brick programming and tighter integration with smart devices.”
The new Intelligent Brick uses an ARM processor and Linux OS base that allows on board programming. My guess is that apps can be created to interact and program the smart brick. Right now it appears that the only app that Lego will release will be a remote.
The new EV3 intelligent brick does allows connection via bluetooth and wifi. This should make things easier.
Unfortunately the new Mindstorm set will not be available until the summer of 2013. The Lego education website lists the availability as the fall of 2013. The education set also appears to be $10 cheaper at $340 but it does not include software. Hopefully software will come with the non educational set and hopefully in the future you will not need a PC.
What do you think? Will you wait until the fall to pick up the new Lego Mindstorm set?
One of the best features of new Verizon shared data plan is the mobile hotspot feature. You no longer have to pay extra to use your phone as a mobile hotspot.
Thanks to the new Verizon shared data plans my iPad is no longer unconnected. In fact I am writing this post from my WIFI iPad which is connected to my iPhone via WIFI.
With the iPhone Hotspot I was able to check my email and preview this post on the iPad. Hotspot sharing was easy to setup. You just turn on the “personal Hotspot” in the iPhone options. It will tell you what the password is for the hotspot.
On the iPad Setup was simple. You just select your phone from the list of wifi networks then you enter your password. Once you’re connect, the iPad will automatically connect in the future and you won’t have to enter your password again. There are also options to connect over Bluetooth or via USB. I’ll have to try those options at home. Will you use the mobile hotspot?
By the way the 1GB data plan seems to be working just fine four our family with two iPhones. After all I was only using 200MB with AT&T. Update: apparently the iPad doesn’t always remember the password.
Its been a few months since Apple announced iBook2 with interactive features but unfortunately there are not very many iBooks with interactive features. I was thrilled to come across the video below because it showed that there are interactive kids iBooks in the bookstore. (You can buy the interactive iBook on insects here.) The video below is an excellent example of how you can use the iBooks authoring tool.
One of the nice features of iOS 5 is the define option. If you want to find out the meaning of a word just double touch the word. Press the arrow on the right and a define option is available. This feature seems to be available even without a network connection.
I know that there are many tablets now on the market. When I first saw the iPad I immediately thought about the possibilities of using a tablet for homeschooling. I was a little hesitant to buy the first generation iPad because of the price. I also kept hoping there would be a good Android tablet that was cheaper than the iPad. After a year of waiting for Android, I finally decided to buy a second generation iPad. I have not regretted that decision. With five kids at home, the iPad is a favorite school activity.
Here are my top five reasons i chose iPad for homeschooling
Large selection of quality apps (I can transfer iPhone apps to the iPad for free)
Large screen so more than one person can look at it.
Built with quality and size. No cheap plastic.
Long Battery life. I usually only charge it one or two nights a week.
iPad 2 vs. iPad
I bought a second generation iPad (16 GB) because it was the latest and it had a faster processor. In hindsight I think I would have bought a 1st generation iPad with more memory. The iPad 2 does have some nice bonus features but for most of what you need the first generation iPad will work.
Favorite feature: Automatic on with the cover opened. It is so nice to just open the cover and look something up and then close the cover and toss the iPad on the bed.
Least favorite feature: The camera: It is low quality and the kids sometimes take many pictures that take up memory. A close second least favorite feature is the 1 speaker! It isn’t very loud especially in a family with four boys.
Ultimately it now comes down to the software. Even though there are some good Android tablets on the market Apple has a good head start on applications. The applications make the tablet useful. The iPad is still the king of tablets.
Delete multiple pictures:
My 16Gb iPad is to full to add more content! After looking at my iPad closer, I discovered that one of my wonderful little angles used the camera to take the pictures shown above. They just so happened to be all the same! It was getting tiresome deleting one picture at a time. It seemed like there should be some way to delete multiple pictures at once on the iPad. Well there is a way to delete multiple pictures from the photo library. It’s not intuitive, but when you are viewing your photos, you can select multiple pictures. If you tap on the symbol in the upper right that looks like the symbol for export (highlighted in the picture below) you can select multiple photos.
You can then select a number of pictures and then delete as shown below.
Deleting documents in apps
I also found that I had multiple copies of PDF documents in different PDF reader apps. Some of the apps are easy to remove documents in iTunes but others require you to go into the app and delete the individual PDF documents.
iOS 5 options
One of the nice features of ios 5 is that you can view the memory of each app. You can find this in Settings-> usage. You can delete the apps that use up a lot of memory.
Now iCloud can be used to store up to 5GB of data free. This is useful if you have WiFi available. At the very least you can move some apps/documents to iCloud that you do not use very often. I have not found this option to be useful at this point but if you have found it useful I would love to hear about it.
While Keynote on the iPad is not perfect it does allow you to create personalized presentations on the iPad. Here are some of the ways I am using Keynote for Homeschooling:
Show a presentation at night in the dark or just sitting on the sofa.
Another way I have used Keynote and the iPad for homeschooling is by searching for a PowerPoint presentation on the topic I want to teach. I can download the PowerPoint presentation into Keynote and edit it to customize the presentation.
I am also using Keynote for customized flash cards. I have my son enter the Latin vocabulary word for the week into the presentation. When he is done we can review the presentation and practice the vocab words. You can read more about how I created a flash card slide show on my post about How to use Keynote on the iPad to make flashcards.
Features I would like to see incorperated into Keynote for the iPad:
Ability to change the theme
Ability to record the presentation similar to PowerPoint 2007
While Keynote is not perfect it still is a powerful app for homeschooling. I’d love to hear any ideas from anyone else who is also using an iPad for homeschooling.
In this webinar @tjhouston and @llacrosse will overview 20 apps in 20 minutes. These are the apps that were used in the classroom and found to be effective supplements to the curriculum. They were used with 5th grade science students while working with ipads for an entire school year.
While there is no perfect list of apps that will be guaranteed to work with all students in all classrooms, this list may be a good starting point for seeing the variety of apps available for the classroom. The types of apps available to teachers and students range from basic consumption of information apps to creation apps that allow teachers to provide a platform for students to showcase growth and learning. Each teacher and group of students will benefit from working to individualize their class with app usage. The best apps are those that work for YOUR content, YOUR class structure, and YOUR needs.