university

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

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

Getting At My Files on iPad

When you’re working on the iPad, there comes a time where you might want to save your work somewhere, for access later on or on a different device (i.e a PC).

Since the iPad doesn’t have any place to plug in a USB, or include a file system, it can be difficult because you’re basically forced to store your work online. It is confusing at first but now I’ve begun to store my files in 3 places.

iCloud Drive

iCloud

I like the simplicity of Page for iPad because of its feature rich design and it works flawlessly via iCloud. With iCloud Drive, my Pages documents are uploaded to iCloud and available to me on any PC when I sign in to iCloud.com.

From there, I can continue to work on them OR download them as Word files and save them to my USB.

One thing I didn’t like about this was that it was difficult to access my files from a different iOS device as it works through your Apple ID. I have a uni Apple ID and personal one and so keeping them separate is a main priority. It was not easy to sign in to my personal one, and sign in separately into iCloud Drive to get my files. You have to sign in to the whole iOS device to get to your files – which is annoying, but if you just use the FST iPads, then its perfect.

OneDrive

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Word is another app that I have recently started using – primarily because I’m entitled to Office 365 as a student. Its working great so far and I can install OneDrive on my iPad and sign in separately from my Apple ID. Again, all my notes sync across my devices and I can view them at home on my PC later on.

Since its Microsoft Word, all my docs are in a standard .docx format and compatible with nearly all my devices. Plus, the 1TB of space is plenty!

Google Drive

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I use Google Drive for everything else such as uploading images and files that I don’t want to mix up with my uni work in the above.

I found that using 3 apps works best for me, but I noticed that many people have solely been using Google Drive for all their storage-on-iPad needs.

Irfan