iOS 11 Release – Check before you update

Do not disturb in iOS 11

Apple will release iOS 11 tomorrow, September 19. Before you update, make sure that you check the readiness of your device. iOS 11 is a major update, with new features as well as security updates. New features include:

  • Files app to manage your files on your iOS device
  • Dock available in apps, with quick access to recent apps
  • Better multitasking on iPad
  • Drag and Drop on iPad
  • Inline drawing and searchable handwriting in Notes
  • Document scanner built-in to Notes
  • Inline drawing in Mail
  • New filters built into Camera
  • Customize the Control Center
  • Driving mode so that you are not disturbed while you drive
  • Lane guidance and speed limit built into Maps
  • Quick type keyboard for typing with one hand
  • Automatically set up iOS device from another iOS device by proximity

Check your hardware

iOS 11 is compatible with iOS 5S and newer iPhones, iPad mini 2 and newer iPads, 6th generation iPod and iPod touch. However, be aware that new operating systems can slow down older devices. Just because you can update your device doesn’t mean you should. If you have an older device that you depend on for frequent use, I suggest waiting for later updates of iOS 11, and checking reviews of how it works with your device before you update to iOS 11.

Check you apps

ios 11 app compatibility imageMany developers have updated their apps to work with the new operating system, but some apps (especially free ones) may not work with your device. If you have any of those apps installed, find a replacement for the ones that you use. If there are any apps on the list that are critical for you, you may want to wait for an app update before updating to iOS 11.

To check which apps many not work after you update your device,

  1. Open Settings
  2. General — About
  3. Applications

Check your space

If you’re getting storage almost full messages on your device, it’s a good idea to clean the storage. If you need help, see this article from Macworld.

Other consideration

Before you update, make sure that you know your Apple ID and password. If you have it saved on the device and don’t haven’t it memorized, make sure to write it down temporarily. Also, make sure that your device is backed up to iCloud* (or your computer). If you depend on your iOS device, I think it’s a good idea to invest in iCloud. I pay CDN$1.29 a month for 50GB of iCloud storage.

*Note that iCloud doesn’t back up your apps. It makes note of what apps you have installed on your device so that you can restore them later from the App Store, but it won’t allow you to restore any apps that are no longer available in the App Store. It also doesn’t back up data from the Health app.

If you have a question or need some help, post on my Facebook page or email me at damianne@presidentialtech.com.

Save all Your Photos in One Place

As a teacher, you probably take lots of photos of your students in the classroom. You may even have students or assistants act as photographers. It’s useful to save all those photos in one place. This lets you access the photos from any device, makes it easy for you to share photos and albums with everyone including parents, and protects your images from loss if a device breaks or becomes inaccessible. If your device is running out of space, you may also want to save your photos and videos in Google Photos so that you can delete them from your device and free up space. This is especially important if your school uses devices that only have 16 GB of space.

If your school uses G Suite, Google Photos is a good option, as it is included as an app in your G Suite account. Google Photos works on whatever devices your school may be using. To use Google Photos, you need a Google account. Then install Google Photos on your Android or iOS device, or on your Mac or Windows machine, or access Google Photos on the web. Once you have the app installed, you can setup Backup and Sync for Google Photos on your device.

Note that if you set the quality of your photos to high in Google Photos, your uploads do not count towards your available storage limits. This means that you can save an unlimited number of high quality images (up to 16 mega-pixel) and videos (up to 1080p), which is high enough quality for people who mostly access multimedia in digital formats.

7 Steps to Secure your Device

portable devices

Secure your Device posterMany of us use our devices as an extension of our brains. We keep personal information such as our banking details, passwords, addresses, social media accounts, contacts, etc. on our devices. This could be catastrophic in the wrong hands. In the best case, we would simply lose all of our data, but they would be backed up elsewhere. In the worse case, an unscrupulous individual could steal private information from our device or use this information to defraud us or our friends and family. Whether you have an iOS, Android, or other device, it is important to secure it.

Follow these 7 tips to secure your device:

  1. Set up a passcode of 6 or more digits on your device.
  2. Use Touch ID or an unlock pattern for added security of your device.
  3. Sign into iCloud/Google sync so that your device is backed up.
  4. Turn on Find My iPhone (iOS) or Find My Device (Android). On iOS, make sure that you also turn on Send Last Location.
  5. Enable two-factor authentication for all accounts that you use on your device. This makes the next two steps very important if you lose your phone or if it’s stolen. This setting will prevent unauthorized access of your accounts, but may also keep you if you don’t have any other devices that are logged into the accounts.
  6. Add multiples verified emails or phone numbers. Use the alternate phone number of a partner or trusted friend, so that you can get the verification code from them if you need to access your accounts on a new device.
  7. Memorize your Gmail/iCloud password. This may encourage you to create a password that is easy to remember. Remember that even if the password is easy for you to remember, it should be hard for other people to guess. Make sure that your password has a combination of types of characters, and is at least 8 characters. The longer and more random the password, the harder it is for criminals to crack it.

For additional tips, and instructions to help you access the various settings on iOS or Android, see this PC World article.

App Spotlight: Padlet

padlet logo

Overview

Padlet is a digital canvas where you can create, create, and collaborate. It’s one of the most popular tools with my colleagues, and I’ve used it for years, since its previous incarnation as Wallwisher. It’s a freemium product, with a version for schools called Padlet Backpack.

Using Padlet

To use Padlet, it’s best to create an account. You can sign up with a username/password combo, or by connecting your Facebook or Google account. This gives you a personal profile, which includes a public feed of your padlets, as well as any biographical information that you’ve added to your account. If you don’t create an account, make sure you save the links for any padlets that you create, and to finish editing their settings within 24 hours.

When you create a new template, you can select one of five formats, or convert between formats:

  • Wall which uses a “brick-like layout”, when order doesn’t matter
  • Canvas which lets you arrange content and create connectors within them, for trees, mind-maps, flowcharts, brainstorming, etc.
  • Steam for a vertical organization of content, to make lists, reports, blog posts, etc.
  • Grid for rows of content, useful for storyboards, noticeboards, etc.
  • Shelf for columns of content, each independently scrollable, e.g. compass point activity, introductory padlet.

You can create a padlet from scratch, using a template, or by modifying an existing padlet which allows copy, and you can decided whether or not others can remake your work as a template. There are a variety of wallpapers to choose from. Themes are also available in the premium version. For each padlet, you can set a custom link address.

template choices

Template choices

 

There are options for visibility: Public, Secret, Password-Protected, Private or Organization Wide (premium feature). You also decide permissions for users: read-only, write, moderate, admin. Posts can show up instantly, or you can turn on moderation. You can manage posts by other users, and edit, transfer, copy, or delete them. Also, at any point, anyone can export a Padlet as a pdf, csv, image or Excel file. They can also share it on social media, or embed it elsewhere on the web.

post to padletPadlet lets you add posts to the board, using links, photos, video, documents, music, voice recordings, and other file types. You may also be able to comment on other posts, depending on the settings of the padlet.

Padlet has integrated search, which lets you find your own padlets, or to search for padlets on specific topics.

Padlet Backpack

I haven’t used the premium product, but according to the Padlet website, it offers the following features:

  • user management and access control
  • more privacy
  • extra security
  • branding
  • school-wide activity monitoring
  • bigger file uploads
  • controlled environment
  • support

Great Features

  • Support for multiple languages
  • Easy to collaborate in the space
  • No signup required to post
  • Upload files from your computer, or embed from the web
  • Attached links and files have previews right in Padlet
  • Links are automatically recognized and hyperlinked
  • Real time updates of the padlet, or focus mode which lets you decide when to refresh the content
  • Copy posts within one padlet or from one padlet to another
  • Automatically create a QR code for your padlet

Tips

  • Use an organizational tool like a Venn Diagram or T Chart as a background to help you organize posts
  • Install Extensions for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari to quickly add web content to your padlets, or install the Chrome App for easy access
  • If students are posting without an account, have them put their name in the title of the post

10 Ideas to use Padlet in the Classroom

  1. Make a list of resources for your students, color coded by topic, or reading level.
  2. Have students create a wall as a presentation on a topic
  3. Create a padlet for collaborative brainstorming
  4. Collaboratively create a question and answer board with students
  5. Create a video playlist for a course
  6. Create a booksmarks board for a class
  7. Have students post reviews of books that they are reading
  8. Post a daily message/question to students that they can respond to
  9. Create a weekly “newsletter” for parents, curated by students
  10. Have students create showcases/portfolios of their work

Devices Supported

Padlet works on iOS, Android, Kindle, and on the web.

Padlet with Kids

Padlet allows use by children under 13, provided that schools take the steps needed to comply with their local laws. In the US, this means respecting COPPA and FERPA, and either consenting on behalf of parents, or getting parental consent before sharing any personal information about children.

Resources

Spring Cleaning for your Mac

cleaning supplies

Sierra has included some new tools to manage storage on your Mac. However, if you have an earlier version of Mac OSX, these options are not available.  Cleaning your Mac is an important step in maintenance, and includes cleaning the hard drive, as well as the outside of your device.

Clean the Hardware

First off, turn off your computer and unplug it from power. Take your computer out of the case. Get a microfiber cloth, dampen it slightly, and wipe down your computer. You can also use the damp microfiber cloth on the screen. If you keyboard is extra dirty (I’ve seen some keyboards that I didn’t want to touch), use a soft toothbrush to get between the keys. Lifehacker explains that you can use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser if you computer is greasy. We also have some LCD cleaning foam in the Idea Lab. Here are the official cleaning instructions from Apple.

Update your Software

Now’s a good time to update your software as well. I usually recommend that people do security updates as soon as they come out. Update your apps in the App Store, as well as your operating system, if your hardware is compatible.

Also, clean up your login items, those are the applications that automatically open when you start your computer. Go to System Preferences | Users and Groups | Login items, and delete the items that you don’t want to automatically open when you start your computer.

Make Space on your Hard Drive

  1. It’s okay to delete apps that you never use on your laptop. You may have installed something for testing, or for a short time, and kept it installed. If you no longer need it, delete it. You can do that by dragging them to the trash can. For a cleaner uninstall, you could use an app like AppCleaner.
  2. Clean out your old photos and videos, remove duplicates, and empty your Photos’ trash.
    • export old photos to an external drive
    • save old photos to Google Photos or to iCloud with optimized storage turned on (only available in Mac OSX Sierra)
  3. Clean out your download folders. Either move files into Documents or delete them.
  4. Organize your desktop. Delete saved screenshots that you no longer need, and move files into folders in Documents. If you can’t see your desktop, it’s a good idea to clean it up. If you want to move a file but be able to quickly access it from the Desktop, make an alias to the file on the Desktop after you move the file.icon for alias
    • To make an alias, click on the file with two finders and select Make Alias.
    • Drag the alias (it’s not a real file, just a pointer to a file as seen by the arrow on it) to the Desktop
  5. Use an app like Disk Inventory X to see the size of folders, or use the Finder to find large files.

To use finder to find large files:

  1. Open Finder, 
  2. Go to File | Find (shortcut CMD – F)
  3. Change Kind to File Size.
  4. Set the minimum File Size requirement e.g. 100 MB

find large files gif

Back Up

Use Time Machine to back up your hard drive, or copy your necessary files over to a back up hard drive. It’s a good idea to schedule a weekly back-up time in your calendar. I encourage you do that now, if  you haven’t done it before.