A New Kind of Learning Journey


Its been a few months of not posting, but I’m back! Time for an update, and tell you about the exciting future of this blog.

I have always wanted to go into teaching, and now that I have got through all the hurdles, I am finally known as a ‘trainee teacher’!  I applied for a PGCE in Secondary Education in November year and it’s taken nearly a year to get to this point. I couldn’t be more excited and it has only been possible due to my hard work and determination to get there.

The FST Mobile Learning Project was one of my favourite projects I had ever taken part in and using the iPad for my studies proved to be a good idea. I learnt so much about the limits and capabilities of the iPad that I simply can not stop using it for my further studies.

Since the iPad was extremely useful for me in my Undergraduate study, I can only imagine how interesting it will be in my Postgraduate study. This time I will be in a different role – the teacher/lecturer!

The iPad I will be using is an iPad Air 2 with iOS 11, compared to the iPad Air (first generation) that we got with iOS 8 installed.

This is great as I can look at ways of using the iPad to plan and deliver my lessons.

I intend to continue blogging about my use of iPad during my teacher training. It proved to be a great ‘journal’ for the past 2 years and it will be great for other trainee teachers to perhaps give the iPad a try.

That’s all I can say for now, so you will need to check back next week for an update!



Thank you for reading! Stay tuned



This is just a quick post to say thank you to everyone to took the time to read my blog over the past 2 years! I started this blog with an ambition to document my learning with iPad and its been fun to write the posts as well as read the old ones! The blog actually started as part of a proposed “Diary project”, but I did not hear about it again (nor did I enquire again), so I just continued to blog independently. Nevertheless, the blog did gain a lot of attention in it’s own right – being shown at events and other Universities; and this is something I am really proud of.

Its been an amazing journey and when I graduate Westminster this July, I will continue to use iPad in my future career. This means I may continue to post about my learning journey with iPad in the coming months.

As a student in their final year, semester 2 was really good in terms of iPad use. A lecturer managed to squeeze in the “Keynote Live” feature into their presentation which made it easier to follow the slides and read small text. It was an experimental thing, I’m sure, but I can see it having many advantages. I believe there was a limit of 50 viewers, so if Apple increases this (without reducing quality or something), it might be something worth doing in many other lectures.

As far as learning with iPad goes, it remained consistent with previous years I have talked about it. Its great to have a device on the go for revision and using the free apps from FST, and it was something I will always appreciate about Westminster. I only wish that we were given iPads in the first year!

Like I’ve said previously, my journey at Westminster might be over, but my learning journey doesn’t end here. I will continue to embrace my new “skills” with my personal iPad. Not to sound like an ad, but the iPad is something I really enjoyed using as it became part of me. I’ll be honest, it was not too useful for a Computer Science student, but it was good for the non-programming side of things. I’ve been told you can program on an iPad, but IMO it’s not as immersive as a traditional computer.

Also, I can’t forget the fact that the iPad gave me “access” to a hidden room at Apple Regent Street! It was great to visit the store and pick up all the information about probing and using iPad apps.

Secret: The hidden room is just as appealing as the rest of the redesigned store.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog as much as I enjoyed writing the posts, and hope you will come again to read the posts again.

Special thanks to all of the Apple Education team (P. Hutton!), the University of Westminster and Academia for making this learning journey, on My iPad Diary, possible in the first place.

Look out for more posts coming in the next few months – I can’t wait to tell you whats next! It’s really exciting.

Thank you,


Return Of The iPad

Today I got an expected email about the return of the iPad Air:

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In case the image doesn’t load, we have been asked to return the iPad so they can be given to new students this September.

A lot of mixed emotions went through my mind while reading the email. Firstly, it is really sad to give it back because I’ve become really attached to it and secondly, I can’t believe 2 years have just gone by so quickly!

We were given iPads in an effort to transform learning. Do they succeed? You’ll have to read my ‘end of semester 2’ post to find out!

It’s been an amazing journey and I can’t wait to tell you what’s next for My iPad Diary in a few week’s time.



Visit to Apple Regent Street


On Friday 31st March, lucky Digital Ambassadors (including myself!) were invited to take part at an event at Apple Regent Street (yes, it’s no longer officially called “Apple Store”). Although Apple have done this before, this was the first time Westminster collaborated with them.

In case you didn’t know, the redesigned store has been visioned by Jony Ive, who designs nearly all of Apples latest devices, including iOS. We also got to see a room very little people get to see; the new board room!

The day lasted 3 hours and was packed with talks by Apple members of staff including Creatives who talked about Apple awareness. A video at the start talked about how iPad is enabling people to get things done from anywhere – including the top of a mountain where there may or may not be 4G…

After a lengthy talk about how to help people through effective questioning, we were shown how to use iMovie, Slide-over, the Camera app, and Keynote. This was a really useful section of the event as I picked up some new skills.

They explained how these tools can be used together to create content. I had never used the ‘instant alpha’ feature in Keynote before, and I suggest you try it out too – it eliminates colours in an image to make them transparent. I know I will be using it more often!

We were then tasked to create our own presentations on a topic of our choice, related to our course.


After presentations, we were given a store tour which included lots of interesting facts such as:

  • Apple moved the pillars on the top floors of the store to be in line with the ones at the bottom floor of the store – the attention to detail
  • Apple Regent Street was the first Apple Store in Europe
  • It was also the largest store in Europe
  • The walls are covered in marble and use Jony Ive’s idea for the design of the stair bannisters.

An amazing day with lots of information taken away, including new skills picked up by tutors, who are already using their newly learned skills. One tutor has experimented (successfully) with Keynote Live in the lecture:



iPad As A Supplementary Display

I have found one of the best uses of the iPad in a workflow – using it as another display which can display lecture slides, codes and other useful information while you get work done on a laptop.


I find it particularly useful for iOS programming where I can have Xcode open on the Mac, with the lecture notes open on the iPad. Sure I can open the notes on the Mac, but having it on the side makes the workflow less cumbersome. Just a few glances and its done.

Still trying to work out how to use Core Data though 🙂


App: Swift Playgrounds

Since the iPad is not really a “computer replacement”, the way you get common tasks done is different from what you may be used to. Its not possible to create an iOS app from scratch on iPad – you need to have a Mac for that. And other types of coding might be difficult or hard to complete on a device without a physical keyboard.

The Swift Playgrounds app brings learning of the Swift programming language, to the iPad in a fun way. The aim of the app is to teach the new generation to code, while current coders can use it to brush up on their Swift skills. It has been developed by Apple, who have even modified the existing iOS QuickType keyboard to provide learners with shortcuts to common coding characters (such as { and }). The QuickType keyboard also gains predictions for methods that the user might want to type.

The teaching is done through a series of challenges to strengthen the users’s coding skills. You solve interactive puzzles in the guided “Learn to Code” lessons to master the basics of coding, while additional challenges let you explore code and create programs that are engaging and unique.


As well as the teaching part, there isa screen which allows you to access a blank ‘playground’ – an IDE without any controls, and just outputs results to the console as you type the code. This is useful for experimenting with Swift and good for using the iPad alongside Xcode on a Mac.

Click here to give Swift Playgrounds a download.


Semester 2

Firstly, apologies for not keeping the blog “alive” throughout semester 1. Things got busy quickly and I felt like I would be talking about the same things anyway! Thats in the past, so I hope it won’t happen again…

Next – A lot has changed since the end of semester 1. For one, nearly all lecturers are making an effort to encourage the use of the iPads this semester.

In one of my lectures, the tutor encourages us to bring the iPads in order to complete a lecture quiz/survey and to post comments on the lecture Padlets. This really does create an engaging atmosphere in a lecture that might seem slightly ‘boring’.

For my iOS programming module, the lecturer advised us to download “Swift Playgrounds” as a way of accessing a sandboxed programming environment for the lectures, as he believes laptops create a barrier, and as a way to learn the Swift programming language – it’s been working! (review?)

Finally, my third lecturer likes the fact we can use the iPads to see a mobile view of websites while we have the desktop version up on the computers. It provides for a quick and easy comparison that we can use for our website implementation later on.

Can I also just point out how happy I am with the execution of the Apple AirPrint protocol around the university? It makes printing from our iOS devices so much easier and quicker, as its often quicker to open a file on the iPad than a computer. More information can be found by clicking here.


I Like Apps in Lectures

Its now week 3 and I already have so much to talk about.

3 out 5 of my lecturers have been using the iPad as a way of engaging with students and as a student I am really happy with the outcome.

In one of my module lectures We have used the app ‘Kahoot it’ as a way of playing a quiz with the class and its proven to be very fun and engaging. We’ve used this in 2 out of 3 lectures so far and its really fun. It can become competitive really quickly.

The tutor displays the question on the projector, and we answer using coloured icons on our iPads – much like “who wants to be a millionaire”. After 10 seconds, the answer is displayed. The music is also very funky 🙂


Secondly, at the end of another tutorial, we use the ‘Poll Everywhere’ app to gather answers to questions set by the tutor. They ask us questions relating to the tutorial (what we’ve learned, what could be better and to define words used in the tutorial). Again, I found this really interesting and its great to see the instant bar charts at the end of the poll to see how many people got what right or wrong. Its anonymous too.

Finally, in another tutorial, the lecturer has been using the Nearpod app as a way to go through tutorial slides and then asks us to complete a range of tasks by drawing on the screen. I found this to be the best way of learning as I was really not understanding the new topic at first, but by the end of the activities I became very competent in labelling parts of a webpage accurately. So this is by far the best use of iPad this semester, along with Kahoot It.

I now have big reasons to bring the iPad into uni on a regular basis and hope this new learning trend continues!


Final Year – iPad in Education

And so it begins – my final year at the University of Westminster with the iPad as a way of enhancing my learning.

The FST iPad Programme has now been extended to level 4 students which is great because it means more students can now have instant access to information at their fingertips. And while I probably won’t be able to study alongside level 4 students, I’m sure they will develop their own ways of studying with them and I’m interested in seeing how they use them.

Just a few days before my first day back, I got a couple of emails from tutors that were planning the lessons/lecture in advance. They were emphasising the fact that we would need to bring the iPads in to class – presumably on a regular basis.

This is great as it proves my theory correct – tutors will become more used to the idea of teaching via iPads over time and using them alongside ‘traditional’ teaching methods.

I’m not sure how much I will be using the iPad this year, as I will need to focus on my final year project and other modules. They require a lot of ‘proper computing’ and can’t be done as easily on a tablet. My proposed project supervisor wasn’t really up to the idea of me taking meeting notes on the iPad (it was all I had on me at the time!) and advised me to bring a pen + paper to future meetings. I’m completely OK with that and he says its easier for him to make ‘red pen’ notes on paper than iPad.

This was just a quick post to say that I haven’t forgotten about this blog and I’m not likely to either. I’m very committed to document my journey. 🙂

I will of course continue to make posts at least once a week about my use of iPad in my final year.