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iPad Settings That Can Make a Big Difference in the Classroom

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 -- Scott Sterling

With iOS 9 came a lot of new iPad functionality, as well as settings to manage those capabilities. Some are not very useful in the classroom environment, but others can be difference between purposeful work and “My iPad isn’t working!”

When optimizing your iPad apps and settings, be sure to make use of the new search function in Settings. The app itself has become so big and unruly that searching can save a lot of time. You can find the search function at the top of the Settings app main screen. Once you’re there, check out these five new settings that are definitely worth a look for educators:

Reduce Motion

Want to save some battery life? Turn on the Reduce Motion setting. Found under Accessibility functions, the setting eliminates the animations that make it look like you’re flying through your folders and apps. They might be pretty, but they also eat up a lot of your devices’ resources and power.

Low Power Mode

Speaking of power consumption, Low Power Mode is another new setting that has been added with iOS 9. It shuts off mail fetching, background app refreshing, and the animations from Reduce Motion, among other things. When a device reaches 20% battery remaining, it will ask if you want to turn on this feature. It can also be enabled manually under the Battery settings.

Improved Passcode

With iOS 9, iPad passcodes are now six characters long instead of four. The only setting that governs this functionality is Turn Passcode On. It’s a simple tip, but if you don’t have it enabled class wide, get ready for a lot of possible security issues and “hacking” reports from students.

Content Blockers

iOS 9 also added the ability to install content blockers that block ads, malware, and whatever else might come through the native Safari web browser. These content blockers come in the form of apps from the App Store (of course, check with your IT department before installing anything). As such, some are better than others. A good content blocker will make Safari run faster and streamline the experience for students. That setting is found under the Safari settings page.

Apple Music

Apple’s streaming, subscription-based music service is about six months old now. Although students need a valid Apple ID to sign up, we all know that they can be very resourceful when gaining access to things they want. If you want to make sure students won’t be accessing anything distracting (or inappropriate) the setting that shuts the whole feature off is found under Music.

It’s only natural that as the iOS platform grows more robust and complex it will become more complicated to manage. However, that added functionality will also continue to make iPad tablets more and more helpful and flexible in the classroom. With some forethought and time, you can configure the settings on your classroom devices in a manner that makes them most effective for you and your students.

Looking for some additional ideas to get the most out of your classroom technology? Check out these 10 Free Digital Resources for Educators