Friday, April 3, 2015

I Didn't Know That!

Calling all Mac lovers! Growing up, my mom was very tech-y.  I remember we had a computer in our dining room since I was in 3rd grade (we are talking 1990ish), and I would impress my teachers by typing and printing my papers (the printer had those circle things on the side that fed the paper into the printer that you had to rip off) to turn in. All of the computers we ever had were PC.
Fast forward to my first real job as a grown-up, when I started working in a school that was all Mac. I knew my way around a computer, but not a Mac. At first, I hated it. It was so hard figuring out everything that seemed so very different from my trusty ole PC. But then I used it more and more, and began liking some of the easy-use features (drag and drop, anyone?!?). 
Then I got an iPad - wow! Then I started creating products for TPT and realized a Mac would be perfect for creating products. So I saved and saved and saved (for 2 years!) and finally bought my first MacBook Air - love! And I finally broke down and got an iPhone for my birthday last year. I'm totally Mac - and I'm not going back.
But this post isn't about my love for Mac, it is about all of the cool things they can do! It amazes me every time I learn something new about any of my Mac products. So, I thought I would start sharing through a semi-regular (because I know me, I wouldn't be able to do a weekly post because I just can't commit to something like that right now) series of posts called I Didn't Know That! Thursday. (I even made a cute button for it!)

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio (I love them!) for their Technology Thursday.

Today, I'm going to share about something cool with the iPad. The newest operating system iOS 8 has a really cool feature!
You may or may not know about Guided Access, which is a way to 'lock' kids into an app so they can't get out. To turn on this feature, go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Guided Access. Turn it on and add a passcode (you have to remember what it is to turn it off, so make sure it is easy to remember!).
Now, open an app you want your students/children to use and triple click the Home button (circle). You will see a screen like this:

In the bottom right corner is a Time Limit button. Turn it to on and choose the time limit. 

When 29 seconds are left, a message appears at the top notifying you of the time remaining (I'm not sure why they picked 29 seconds, not 30!). When time is up, this message appears on the iPad.  There is nothing the students can do anymore when this happens.

When you triple click the home button again, this pops up. You need to the put in your passcode and it unlocks the iPad.

I see this being great for my son. I often ask him to use a particular program on the iPad (to practice letters or math, for example) for 5 or 10 minutes. He is constantly asking how much longer.  Using this, I can lock him into the app and he can't do anything but that app for a specific period of time.  It is also great if you give your kids (or students) 5 minutes of free time on the iPad. Then they won't be able to use it longer!

I love all of the cool new features Apple is adding to their products and I can't wait to share some of the other cool, new tricks I have learned!

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Hey there!  Its finally April!  I'm so excited because I love spring (almost as much as I love October - almost:))  Spring brings warmer weather, playing in the backyard with my kiddos, warmer weather, nighttime fires around the fire pit, did I mention warmer weather?!? It is also the beginning of t-ball season, so we will be spending a lot of time at the field for the next 3 months (my son plays and my hubby coaches!).

I spent the day yesterday at an Apple Education Seminar all about iTunes U.  It was amazing!  Being in a room with like-minded educators, working on a common goal (yesterday was a workshop type of situation where the Apple experts were there to explain, demonstrate and help you create your own course) is wonderful!  Everyone kept coming up with new ideas and sharing and asking questions you didn't even realize you wanted to know the answer to. I LOVED it!  And here's the best part - it was FREE! I don't know if these are new (I went to another one last month about going 1:1 in the private school setting), but they are great PD!  I highly recommend it:-) 

I spent the day working on developing a course for the new staff that start at our school. When new people being working at our school, they are required to take a computer competency course lead by myself and our other technology coordinator. I love teaching these classes (and I feel like most of the staff members get a lot out of it. Unfortunately, we always have one or two (or 5) new staff members begin in the middle of the year (after the classes have started/finished). The course I'm making will serve as a resource with videos and pictures and assignments to get staff familiarized with our technology.  I think it will also be great for returning staff members who may forget some of the programs we have/how to use certain things.  They can go to the course and watch a video or read some text about it to jog their memory. I'm excited about how it will turn out:)

Now, its time for some currently!

Right now, I'm washing dishes, laundry and listening to Uncle Grandpa (one of my son's favorite shows).

Spring Break begins today (technically yesterday, but I was at a training all day).

Since its Spring Break (and we aren't going anywhere), I want to do some fun stuff with the kiddos. It should be warm this afternoon (67ยบ), so that's the plan. I also want to do some spring shopping at Once Upon a Child and Homegoods, scrapbook a few pages, and maybe make a new TPT product.

My son woke up at 5:30 this morning!  Seriously, is somebody supposed to sleep in on Spring Break with kids getting up that early?  7:00 is early enough (when they usually wake up), but 5:30?!?

Teachers don't have a lot of time, but most of them are willing to learn something new - especially if it is quick.  I created this blog to give teachers ideas of how to use technology in a quick and dirty sort of way. That's why I named it Technology Timeout - take a quick timeout to learn something new about technology.

Now, I'm off to see what everyone else is up to!