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Mr G Online
Sep 20

iOS 6 has finally arrived and all the tech press will be ranting and raving about Siri improvements, Passbook, Apple’s new maps and whatever Android has that Apple hasn’t done yet. I’m more interested in improvements that have gone largely unnoticed that mean a better experience in a school environment, especially one like mine where we are using iPads in a shared device situation.
This is what I like so far.

Browser photo uploads.
Finally, we can upload photos and videos from the camera roll on the iPad onto websites. This will make publishing blogs and websites a reality on the iPad. Previously this has been a real drawback at school. Students would create some great work in iMovie, Comic Life, SonicPics etc. or take/download some photos then have to go through the time consuming process of transferring them to a a desktop or laptop computer before uploading their creations to their blog or website. now, through an updated Safari, they can add their work straight from the photo library as they would on a computer. Sadly, you can only upload photos and videos. You still can’t upload documents, but it is a big improvement in the workflow.

iWork apps and transferring elsewhere
For as long as I have used an iPad or iPhone, I’ve been able to transfer or save most document based work created on my iOS devices to Dropbox, Evernote, PDF apps or even the school network through the Open in…. Function of iOS. Bizarrely, and damned annoyingly, the one exception to this rule was Apple’s own iWork apps – Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple’s stubbornness in making iTunes Sharing, iCloud or iWork.com ( along with email and WebDAV) the only options made working in a PC centric environment difficult with its otherwise superior apps ( compared to other Office compatible apps). Well, Alleluia, Praise The Lord, Cupertino’s engineers have finally added Open in Another App as an option. Combined with DropBox, Google Drive, Box, or Filebrowser ( for school network connections) we can now easily save our Pages/Numbers/Keynote Documents to other apps or locations so that we don’t have to rely on using the same shared iPad all the time. It also means we have backups elsewhere in case other users accidentally delete the file on the iPad. Would be nice if they could next add the same feature to GarageBand and iMovie so we can back those files up as well.

Improved Open in…. Functionality
While I loved using the open in function to transfer or save my files to other apps or locations, I was still sometimes frustrated when I could select my preferred app or network. Previously, the list of options was limited to 10 apps and sometimes the random order of the function meant even though I wanted to save to Dropbox, the list would have other compatible apps for a PDF or document listed in the ten and Dropbox would be inaccessible. Apple has finally fixed this ridiculous limitation by allowing for unlimited options in the open in menu. They have changed the look of the selection box and allowed for a swipe action to take you to a second panel of options. Now I can be confident of always being able to select my preferred choice for transferring from one app or location to another.

Updating without passwords
As the tech admin in charge of keeping the iPads up to date ( I was the holder of the school account password) it was very time consuming and frustrating to be solely responsible for updating apps on the school iPads and iPods. I know I could run updates by syncing the iPads To iTunes on the computer but that just seemed unnecessary and a waste of time ( wireless syncing seem to be a problem on our network – possibly a proxy problem). Now that updating apps no longer need passwords, I can rely on the other teachers to do the updates themselves.

Improved ( but still not completely fixed ) proxy bypassing or access.
This is not a problem for everyone but it certainly has been for us. Early iOS iterations would not allow any apps requiring Internet connection ( most notably Dropbox and Evernote ) to function over a proxy server. More recent updates have allowed downloading from Dropbox to access files but not uploading. Same with Evernote – syncing didn’t work. Dragon Dictation wouldn’t work either because it needed to connect to a server. With iOS 6, I can finally sync Evernote at school, which is good news for teachers would have been using Evernote for assessment records but being annoyed by the fail to sync messages at school. Unfortunately uploading to Dropbox is still not working. I haven’t tested Dragon Dictation today – will update with answer tomorrow. We switch to a new proxy system in the next couple of weeks which is supposed to fix the issue but no guarantees. In the meantime, at least Evernote is working and maybe an updated Dropbox app might fix the problem by taking advantage of iOS 6s new, supposed global proxy connection.

UPDATE:Guided Access

read this article that explains tbe benefits of Guided Access for special needs students like those with autism and also to prevent cheating.ย 

They’re the main improvements I’ve noticed so far – it’s only been a day. It’s good to see a native Clock app that can be used as a timer, stopwatch, alarm and world clock – all useful tools in a school. Saves spending 99 cents an iPad for a fully functional alternative. You can also import songs from itunes straight into Garageband and then into iMovie – good for adding soundtracks to videos.

One drawback with iOS 6 on iPads is the (probably temporary) disappearance of a native YouTube app – iPhone/iPad app is available from App Store and Google but not for iPad yet. 3D maps are a nice improvement in the new Map apps for exploring different cities in class, too.

Have I missed anything else useful for school situations? Drop a comment if you have noticed something else. I’ll continue looking in the meantime.

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18 Responses to “iOS 6 update bonuses for education ( not for tech heads)”

  1. Anthony Says:

    iOS6 also allows you to enable Guided Access which can lock an app on the screen and turn off the home button as well as other features. This could offer lots of potential for making the iPad more usable in the classroom

  2. JJoe Says:

    Concerning your statement about not having to update, is this also true if the iPads were set up with the Apple Configurator app? I’ve had some students who have upgraded to iOS 6 and they can’t update the school-installed apps…

    • mgleeson Says:

      Joe, I don’t know the answer to that one. Haven’t used Configurator yet. Came out after our initial roll out. Am plan to use it to reconfigure at end of year and prepare for new patch in future. I’ll be on the lookout for an answer through. Maybe, there is something you have to configure on Configurator. Or maybe you have to configure the updates, not the students. Interesting problem if it is one because not having to update all the time is my life’s dream๐Ÿ˜„

  3. Viviene Tuckerman Says:

    Hi Mark, we have a setup where all the ipads have their own individual account and email, using the +1 method with gmail.

    They still all sync to one computer, and the ability to update without a password will be wonderful.

    Is is possible for all the ipad to have a separate dropbox account? Then when they sync to the computer what would happen. I am curious about this.

  4. mgleeson Says:

    In the settings of the Dropbox app you can unlink the account ( the same as logging out ) then you can login as a different account again. Works just like logging in and out of network on computers.

  5. Viviene Tuckerman Says:

    Thanks Mark. So, just let me get this straight…..You can sign into dropbox on the ipad under a different account, as well as the dropbox on the computer you use to sync to? Not quite sure how this would work. I have not used dropbox at school with class iPads thus far, only with my own ipad and computer. Thanks for your patience. Would love to have a workshop with you sigh…..

  6. mgleeson Says:

    Since I don’t know what your understanding of Dropbox is, Viv, I’ll go back to the start. I have a Dropbox folder living in the cloud that is accessible from a folder on my iMac, my MacBook, the Mac mini, PCs and laptops at school as well as my iPad and iPhone. I make a new file and it syncs to the cloud and then syncs to all my devices. If I delete a file it disappears from all my devices. However, if I log off from Dropbox on any device, my files are still intact in the cloud. So if I log off on the iPad and log on to another account, I’m just linking to another account. I don’t lose the files, just access temporarily. If student A logs in, he has access to his files until he logs out. Then student B can login in to her Dropbox account, access her files and log out again. When student A gets the iPad again he logs back into Dropbox and sees his files again. Same as using PCs on a network.

    Hope that clears it up. As for the workshop, that’ll cost meals, accommodation and return airfares ๐Ÿ˜œ

  7. Ann Zimmer Says:

    I also love the fact that in Spotlight you can see the folder in which an app resides! YEA!

  8. Jeff Layman Says:

    Good list! I’m ok without the YouTube app… going to youtube.com within the new and improved Chrome web browser is nicer than the old app was anyway!

  9. cchausis Says:

    I think the biggest loss is the Google Street View feature available in the iOS5 Maps app. I haven’t been able to get Google Street View to work in Safari or Chrome in iOS6. This was a great for taking “virtual field trips” on the iPad, that the 3D flyover just doesn’t provide the same. I want to “stand” in the street and look around at my location, not get a birds eye, distorted view. Good news is that this may return… see http://hexus.net/mobile/news/apple/45885-google-street-view-coming-ios6-sort-of-maybe/ and http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/27/technology/personaltech/apples-new-maps-app-is-upgraded-but-full-of-snags-review.html

  10. TonyF Says:

    Hi great post thank you. Very interested to get iPad tips a big help for me…. Can I clarify something about updating apps?

    I sync the ipads with a ‘master’ mac book… after that any ipad can have any of its apps updated without an apple id sign in by the original purchaser / downloader? ( I don’t want to distribute this to all the ipads.)

    Maybe I misunderstand. It would make updating way easier for me, but play hell with our bandwidth and wifi which is dodgy lol
    Thanks again
    cheers
    tf

    • mgleeson Says:

      It can certainly work that way, Tony. does depend on your bandwidth and wifi though. That was a problem for us until we got a deal that didn’t count iTunes downloads. Not sure how it works with supervised Configurator set up iPads yet.

  11. Jay Wang Says:

    Are you sure it’s iOS 6 that solves the evernote problem, I’m in the same situation, credential requiring http proxy, but I find that both evernote on ios6 , ios 5.1.1 and web starts to work flawlessly, I would guess evernote changed something on their end, like falling back to http if https doesn’t work normally.

    • mgleeson Says:

      All I know is that from my personal experience Evernote app did not sync until I updated to iOS 6. On iOS 5.x I could not get it to sync through the app over our proxy. You may have had a fifferent proxy set up that Evernote could communicate with. Me, no until iOS 6.

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