Category Archives: iPad

Fix for iPad 2 iOS 7 wifi droping

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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.

Results:
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.

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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.

iPad drawing app to create outline maps

The iPad is one of the easiest ways to create digital artwork.  One way I use the iPad for homeschooling is to customize maps or to create a map outline using a drawing app.   I use the SketchBook Pro for iPad app, but you can also use the free sketchbook express app.  The only requirement for creating an outline map is that the drawing app has the ability to create layers.

To create an outline map just search for any map picture.  Import that picture to your drawing app.  Create a blank layer over the picture.  Then you can trace the main map details on your outline map.20140210-234306.jpg

Once you have your outline then you simply delete the original map  layer and then save your outline map to your photo roll.  Now you can use the picture in a number of ways for school.  20140210-234320.jpg
Here are
more autodesk apps.

Skyfish Phonics app review

Sky Fish Phonics by Knowbility is an app that some would consider more of a fun review game than a teaching educational app.  It’s the closest app to a game that I have on the iPad. The goal of the game is to achieve different costumes for your fish. You get a new costume when you finish a level. You finish a level by shooting your fish through different obstacles.  Some of the obstacles require you to choose the right sound or match words with sounds.  The prize for finishing the level is a new costume for your fish.

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There are several settings you can change.20131224-201912.jpg

Overall my boys had fun playing this game however it seemed like there was more entertainment than learning.  I feel that the Phonics elements  to the game were better then some games that claim to be based on phonics.  Still I would recommend this game for reinforcing phonics but I would not use the app for a new learner.

Free digital Old Schoolhouse magazine

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Did you know that the Old Schoolhouse Magazine is now digital and it is free?

Occasionally we have had subscriptions in the past to the Old Schoolhouse magazine. I am also signed up for the email newsletter but somehow I missed the transition to digital.

Since the magazine is no longer in print (except as a yearly volume) The Old Schoolhouse stared a special online education portal. It is called SchoolhouseTeachers. Not only is the Old schoolhouse digital magazine free but you can try out Schoolhouse Teachers for a year free if you are a homeschool legal defense member!

The digital version of the Old Schoolhouse magazine is like typical magazine. You can scroll through different volumes. It looks like the archives go back quite a ways but I quit looking at 2010 issues. Navigation in the magazine app is not the most fluid experience but it works OK. There is also a search function that could help find a specific topic.

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Why you shouldn’t let your kids play on the iPad

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It finally happened – my iPad’s front glass got cracked. You would think I would have learned my lesson about letting kids play unsupervised with my iPad, since my wife’s phone got fried
by our two year old. I am surprised it did not happen sooner. I have let the kids use the iPad for the last two years so I guess I was getting complacent.

This is how it happened:
My older son was trying to get my five year old to come for dinner. He was trying to get my son to stop playing on the iPad. Somehow the iPad dropped on a paint can! That’s right a paint can that just happened to be in the living room.
Even though I don’t have any “games” installed on the iPad my five year old would play on the iPad every hour if he could. since the screen got cracked I decided to I put a password lock on the home screen so he can’t play on it without our permission.
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I was surprised the iPad still worked with the broken digitizer. It looks like just the glass was broken but unfortunately you have to replace the whole iPad digitizer assembly which is very difficult. Thankfully I paid extra to add the accidental insurance from Best Buy. I just dropped it off today to be repaired.
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This is now my second device
that has been damaged by little children. Now I am a firm believer in mobile device insurance.
What do you think about kids and mobile devices? How do you protect your tablet?

Lego mindstorm EV3 for Android and iOS

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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.

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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.
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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?

You can’t rely on technology for homeschooling

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Technology is great. It can make our lives easier. Technology will magically teach your children right? Wrong!

When the iPad first came out I thought it would be the best thing for homeschooling. While the iPad is great for homeschooling it doesn’t magically reduce the work required for homeschooling. Sometimes it would be nice to sit my kids down with the iPad and learn all they need to know. It just doesn’t happen that way! Your kids actually need to interact with you the parent and teacher.
Oh yeah – the other reason you cant rely on technology – Technology can’t survive being thrown into an oven. Case in point my wife’s new iPhone pictured above. For some reason my two year old put the iPhone in the oven. Usually when he puts things in the oven, we find them before the oven gets turned on! For some reason, on this particular day, the iPhone got toasted by my two year old. Not only can technology go up in smoke it is also expensive to replace. So the moral of the story…don’t let your two year play with your iPhone! Don’t rely on technology to always be the best available tool. Sometimes the old fashion pencil and paper is all you really need.
What do you think? Has technology helped with your home school? Are your kids smarter?