With so many different devices being used to teach technology skills, we are often asked whether iPads and TechnoKids resources are a good fit. The simple answer is Yes! But… there are cautions and qualifications. Here are a few common questions.
Which TechnoKids projects can I use on an iPad?
TechnoKids has over 25 projects that iPad users can complete. To determine which options are best for your students, view the TechnoKids Project Matrix. Any TechnoKids project which has a version for Google Docs can be done on an iPad. In addition, some Office Online, Internet, and Programming projects can also be completed but with slight modifications.
Should I use the iPad Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps?
TechnoKids has many projects for Google applications. If students have a Gmail account, they can access all Google apps online from Google Drive. TechnoKids has lessons that use Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, Sites, and more.
For the iPad, Google has created specific apps for Docs, Slides, and Sheets. While these apps are easy to use, they are limited in their features. They won’t work for TechnoKids projects. For example, in the Slides iPad app, a user can create a slide show, apply a theme, set slide layout, present, and share work – but not much else. The limitation in features, means that TechnoKids instructions will not match.
In most cases the Google iPad apps are a bare bones, disappointing alternative to the full app. The iPad Google apps are best used to work offline, make edits to a file, or to view a completed document. In our opinion, they are too ‘light’ to create an appealing, powerful project from scratch.
But there is a solution….students you can still use the full version of Google apps on an iPad. Keep reading!
How do I access Google apps on my iPad?
The best way to access Google apps on an iPad is through a browser. Open Chrome (recommended and must be installed) or Safari and go to Google Drive. From that starting point, all TechnoKids instructions will match what you see on your screen.
This method is highly recommended for accessing Google apps on iPad. Students get complete versions of Docs, Sheets, and Slides with all tools. As well, they can also create projects with Forms, Sites, Drawings, and more! And, all Google apps are free.
Can I use Microsoft Office versions of TechnoKids projects on my iPad?
Yes, students can use the Office Online version of a TechnoKids project. As is the case with Google projects, you will be working online through a browser such as Safari or Chrome. Like Google, you must have a Microsoft account, but it’s free too.
Please note, if students must work offline, Microsoft does offer apps for the iPad similar to Google’s. These include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The apps can be used with a Microsoft account, but I would caution teachers to first check the instructions in the TechnoKids project that is being used. Note the similarities and differences as some tools may be unavailable in the iPad app. Using an iPad app for Microsoft Office is likely only a workable alternative for TechnoKids Primary or Junior projects which have fewer features than the more advanced titles.
Which TechnoKids programming projects can be done on an iPad?
TechnoKids has many programming projects that can be completed on an iPad. Some require slight modifications in instructions.
TechnoWhiz uses Scratch Jr. This free app is perfect for use on an iPad with its touch screen and drag and drop features. Teaching young students to code? Scratch Jr is definitely an ideal starting point.
TechnoTales also uses Scratch Jr. and is an ideal follow up to TechnoWhiz. Students design an animated fairy tale as they use visual programming blocks to learn coding basics.
TechnoHTML teaches students to become web designers using HTML and CSS. You will need an HTML editor for the iPad. Visit the app store to see what is available and free. I would recommend trying out one or more of the free apps to see which works best for you.
How are TechnoKids PDF Workbooks annotated on an iPad?
When using an iPad, students will need a PDF app or account with an online PDF service. This will allow them to type answers, highlight text, and make notes in TechnoKids assignment sheets. If you are looking for a free option, TechnoKids recommends KAMI, which is a free online service that works with Google Drive. See our next post Annotate a TechnoKids PDF on an iPad to get specific directions.
What are the drawbacks to using an iPad and TechnoKids?
- Any project that requires writing more than a few sentences is inconvenient on an iPad without an external keyboard. TechnoKids intermediate projects such as TechnoNewsletter and TechnoBiography have students write extensively, so an iPad would be a deterrent to producing one’s best work.
- A smaller screen does not allow students to have TechnoKids pdf workbooks open on a split screen while they are completing a project in another app. Instead, they must toggle back and forth between screens. That may be a source of frustration for younger students. A solution would be to print the workbook.
- Internet access is almost a necessity. As mentioned above, most apps work best and have the most features when used through a browser.
What are the benefits to using an iPad and TechnoKids?
- School districts have embraced the portability, ease of use, and affordability of iPads as compared to desktop computers. Parents have also valued iPads as educational tools as well as sources of entertainment for their children. As a result, iPads are commonplace, and many students are very familiar with using them. They know the touch screen gestures to open, close, move, drag, tap, and more. What they do not know is often intuitive and easy to figure out.
- Collaboration, a valued strategy, is easy with both Google Docs and Office Online. Students can readily work together, edit each other’s files, and share finished documents.
- iPads and TechnoKids projects, in either Google Docs or Office Online versions, can readily be used for both physical and virtual classrooms. Whether it’s the ideal device is a debate that will continue. But in a time when educators must contend with online learning using a variety of devices, an iPad will definitely work well!