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Thank you for reading! Stay tuned

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Hello,

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,

Irfan

Visit to Apple Regent Street

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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.

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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:

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Irfan

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.

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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 🙂

Irfan

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 🙂

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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!

Irfan

App: Run Windows 10 on your iPad

Today’s post will be about an app I found on the app store called “Microsoft Remote Desktop”. A free app that allows you to access your Windows or Mac desktop from your iPad and works in a similar way to TeamViewer or Splashtop remote desktop software.
It is very simple to set up and you’ll be able to interact with the computer through touch – the way Microsoft somewhat imagined you would do with Windows 8/8.1 and then improved it in Windows 10.

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The Microsoft Remote Desktop Assistant app for Windows lets you remote control your pc

 

  1. Download and install the Microsoft Remote Desktop App on your iPad.
  2. Download and install the Microsoft Remote Desktop Assistant app on your computer
  3. Run both apps
  4. On the iPad app, enter the username from the assistant screen and your Windows account password to gain access to your desktop
  5. That’s all! You’ll be signed out of Windows on your desktop and a new session will be created on the iPad (picking up where you left off)
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Windows 10 running on iPad – tablet mode

You can close the lid of your laptop too. To exit, sign back in on the PC or close the connection from the iPad.

The app is very stable and you notice very little lag when you’re using it. It’s best if you have a fast internet connection though.

It’s definitely not an excuse for you to forget about your desktop or laptop completely, but its a handy way of getting to it for some light content. Its also cool to show your friends that you can run Windows on an iPad – sort of.

In 2012, I used Splashtop to control my Windows 8 PC from my iPad. Here is the actual image from that time:

Download it for free from the app store today and tell me what you think.

Irfan

Why I Like iPad For Learning 

The more posts I write, and the more I go back and look at them – the more I realise that I haven’t explicitly told you my reasons for liking iPad for learning with at uni. So here is a list of just that. 

  1. It’s the future!
  2. It’s useful for tube journeys (shameless previous post plug!)
  3. Blackboard is quick to access
  4. I like having my uni stuff separate from personal iPad and iPhone stuff. 
  5. Don’t need to carry laptop just to take, download or follow notes
  6. I can annotate on notes!
  7. Syncing of files is excellent (iCloud)
  8. iTunes U is the best education app I have ever used – lots of useful courses and videos 
  9. The app selection is incredible – “there’s an app for that”
  10. Good for typing quick emails and for keeping a tab on incoming emails too
  11. It doesn’t complain if I leave it at home 
  12. It’s thin and light and I barely know it’s in my bag
  13. iPad doesn’t act like a barrier between me and the lecturer like a laptop does
  14. The battery lasts longer than my laptop sometimes
  15. My timetable works perfectly with the native calendar app
  16. Because I have my timetable in calendar, it tells me the times I should leave so I won’t be late
  17. Two things at once on screen mean I can have Pages and News open (Slide Over)
  18. AirDrop notes and things to my laptop/iPhone is very convenient 
  19. I can access OneDrive, iCloud Drive and Google Drive without logging in every time 
  20. It’s the best tool I’ve used for revision – lightweight and easy to revise on
  21. iBooks keeps my coursework specs in one place

I’m sure this post sounded more like an iPad ad in some ways, but those are all valid points! There are loads more, but can’t think of anymore right now. 

Some things I don’t like about using the iPad for learning:

  1. Due to the MDM profile, I’m forced to type in a long password, when I would really like to use a quicker pin (it doesn’t have Touch ID)
  2. I’m reminded on the lock screen and settings app that my iPad is managed by the university and that my location and web traffic is monitored. While this is fine, it still would be nice if it didn’t word it that way!
  3. Can’t code on it
  4. Blackboard app is not reliable. It’s easier and quicker to use Safari to access Blackboard!

Irfan

Tip: Reading List

Imagine if you could continue reading that article you were looking at during breakfast, or do some quick revision on Java – on the tube, without Internet. 

With the reading list feature you can do just that. It’s a really clever option that I found to be useful on a somewhat boring journey to uni. Best of all – there is nothing to set up, not even an iCloud password to enter. 

To get started, open up Safari and begin by opening the site that you want to be able to view offline. Make sure it’s fully loaded. You’ll know it’s fully loaded by the fact the blue bar at the top reaches the end of the URL bar and disappears. 


Tap the share icon, and choose Reading List (it’s the icon with the Steve Jobs glasses). Then wait a few moments for the page to save in the background. You won’t get any visual cues that it’s done, but if you no longer see the spinning wheel at the top of the screen (next to the iPad text), you can assume it’s been saved/added to reading list. 

And that’s it!

To get back to that site, when you’re offline, open Safari and tap the book icon. Choose the glasses icon and you will see all the sites available to you. 


It’s not really going to work for videos and it’s best for sites that have a lot of text rather than images (though it will save images).  Also, the more content on the page, the longer it will take to save. You can check if the page got saved by closing the tab, turning on airplane mode and trying to access the site from your reading list before you make your actual offline journey. 

Give it a try and tell me what you think in the comments!

Irfan

How ‘Duet’ is doubling my performance

I introduced a new app in my workflow called ‘Duet’ – also recently talked about it on this blog.

I have been using it with my Macbook in the past weeks and can safely say that it has succeeded in speeding up my workflow.

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Its been very useful for the Mobile Application Development module (the irony!) where I can have Android Studio open on the Macbook, and the emulator open on the iPad. No need to switch windows anymore, or swipe desktops. Its simply a quick glance at the iPad, see the bugs, and correct the code – brilliant!

One of my friends saw this unique way of working and said “Wow” as soon as he saw it. He was quite confused as to how it was working and I explained all about the Duet app to him and he promptly downloaded it (mainly because it would become a paid app the next day!) and started using it. He has a 12″ Macbook and since his screen was smaller than mine, he noticed the biggest difference to his workflow for Android programming. I even showed him the different options you get in the menubar on the Mac.

It’s not perfect though. For example, sometimes it lags and doesn’t keep up with my cursor very well.

If you haven’t tried out Duet, I recommend that you do!

Irfan

The State of iPad Use

As we reach the peak point of the semester, its time to once again look at how well iPads are performing in the classroom.

Honestly, its remained pretty much the same since my last post about it. I have noticed however that less and less students are bringing in the iPads to lectures/tutorials and bringing in their laptops instead.

I think this is due to the modules we are taking which includes making an Android app and another which asks for a series of complex diagrams. These are simply not possible on an iPad so many students prefer to bring in a laptop to take notes AND work on said course works. I have to admit, I have also been doing this. I haven’t brought in the iPad for the past couple of weeks, simply because I found no need for it when I need to work on my app anyway. I found it to be more convenient and lightweight to bring in a laptop instead (not that the iPad is heavy – just carrying both can be tiring!).

There are still many students who elect to bring in both, and thats great. I’ve seen a couple of students who have the iPad open displaying lecture slides, and they’re typing notes or working on their laptops.

Its difficult to say whether or not students will bring in the iPads after the deadlines for these CW’s pass because there will be a second app to create, and a C# implementation of the diagrams. Theres also a group project that requires a lot of Java programming right now.

Overall, iPad use has slowly reached a point where students would rather get productive on a laptop, than a tablet – because the iPad simply does not let you program, which is a big requirement in our faculty. But students are still embracing iPads wherever they can.

Irfan

Tip: “Remind me about this later”

Siri is your built in virtual assistant and it can help you get so many things done, just by asking!

If you’ve never used Siri, you can summon Siri by holding down the home button – and I bet you’ve done that accidentally 10 times 😆

The next time you’re browsing a website, or found a good store near the University of Westminster, and want to be reminded about it later – ask siri to “remind me about this later”.

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Siri will save what ever is on the screen as a reminder and remind you to get back to it later on in the day. You’ll see it in the Reminders app, and tapping on the Reminder will take you back to that screen.

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Give it a go the next time you want to be reminded about something on your screen 🙂

Irfan