Make the most of your iPad and Macs with Apple Professional Development training

Make the most of your iPad and Macs with Apple Professional Development training

Don’t let your school’s brand new Apple Mac and iPad equipment just sit there gathering dust – with one of our Apple Professional Development (APD) training courses, you can unlock the real potential of your hardware, and make sure your staff are all up to speed at the same time. We offer a huge range of courses from foundation iOS and OS X training, to curriculum-based sessions and even vision and planning for your Apple deployment. Find out more in the PDF guide below…

Make the most of your Macs and iPad with APD training

Apple APD catalogue

To find out more about Apple for education, call us on 03332 409 333 or email You can also  keep up to date with all our education news by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

How iPad can help teaching SEN students

How iPad can help teaching SEN students

Whether you’re teaching students with minor autistic spectrum conditions or profound and multiple learning disabilities, you need technology that’s accessible to a wide range of learners. Because iPad is so intuitive, it’s great for teaching embedded SEN students and can be applied to more diverse types of learning than specific SEN technology. I’ve recently been looking into how iPad can really benefit teaching SEN students, and have picked out some of the reasons (and best apps) below.

It’s incredibly accessible

One important accessibility feature of iPad is dictation – as iPad has its own built-in microphone, students can input words without having to type. The Dragon Dictation app used to be the best way to do this, but now the new iPad features its own accurate Voice Dictation function, and can read any text aloud back to the student, or let them know exactly what they’re doing using the VoiceOver function. In fact, you can customise it with a number of apps, like a Braille keyboard or sensory light box, to make it more accessible to the particular students you’re teaching.

iPad’s multitouch control makes it great for students to engage with the screen with instant feedback, using simple cause and
effect apps. An app like iFish Pond (£1.49, TriggerWave) lets students immerse themselves in a virtual pond, touching the screen to interact with virtual fish in a soothing, sensory environment.

It’s completely mobile

As iPad is completely wireless, you can use it anywhere around the school for any subject or level. This is perfect for teaching students with limited mobility, as they get a chance to interact with technology in the same environment as everyone else. Their portable design also means they’re much easier to pack up and store when students have finished using them.

It’s inclusive and inspirational

iPad really is so easy for learners of all levels to pick up and start using straight away – there are no mice, keyboards or switches to get used to. This is important, as there’s no segregation or differentiation in technology, which levels the playing field for everyone. An embedded SEN student can learn using the same equipment as the rest of the school.

The apps on offer can also help inspire confidence in autistic students who might sometimes find it difficult to express their creativity, and get them joining in with others. A good example would be a simple animation or drawing app with consistent, repeatable imagery that the students can use independently without being overwhelmed.

It’s great for communication

I’ve touched on the voice accessibility features of iPad, but where it really excels is as an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device for students with language or speech impairments. Apps like Proloquo2Go, (£129.99, AssistiveWave), the iOS version of Proloquo’s control surfaces, let students form complex sentences using thousands of engaging, simple symbols. The current technology for supplementing or replacing speech usually retails at upwards of £1000 (very expensive to replace if it gets broken). The iOS ecosystem also lets you keep all your app licences to sync to any new hardware.

It’s good for evaluation

To keep track of how SEN students are getting on, it’s important to regularly assess their progress. With a built-in video camera, iPad makes this easy, as you can keep a visual record of behaviour which can tell you much more than a written report could. For example, if you record how a student reacts to a stimulus at the beginning of the year, then make regular video updates, you can evaluate their progress over the whole year. You can then take the videos and embed them directly into a Pages document directly on iPad to save as an interactive school report.

It’s tough and durable

You want students to get hands-on and engage with the iPad, but it’s important to make sure that investment is as protected as possible from enthusiastic students or those who might have less developed motor skills. There are loads of durable cases out there, but two that we regularly recommend to SEN schools are Griffin’s Survivor and AirStrap. The Survivor’s tough rubber shell helps keep your iPad safe from any classroom drops without being too intrusive to take away from any functions, while the AirStrap features a handy strap on the back which makes it easy for those with even profound learning disabilities to safely hold on to the iPad. If you have a multiple iPad suite, we’d also recommend a strong case to lock up your iPad deployment at the end of the day.

– The best iPad tools for speech and motor development

  • Reactickles Magic – A suite of applications that uses touch, gesture and audio input to encourage interactive communication – FREE (Cariad Interactive) PCS Apps
  • Articulation/Memory/Language – A great selection of separate apps covering different areas of SEN, which all use PCS sign symbols – FREE (Mayer-Johnson)
  • Somantics – Touch-led applications to use with pupils who have autism and associated conditions – FREE (Cariad Interactive) Dexteria
  • Fine Motor Skill Development – A set of therapeutic hand exercises that improve fine motor skills and handwriting readiness – £2.99 (BinaryLabs)
  • Articulation Station Pro – Over 1000 target words and 1300 unique sentences teach how to pronounce all the sounds in the English language with engaging articulation activities – £34.99 (Little Bee Speech)

To find out more about how iPad can help teaching with SEN students, give us a call on 03332 400 333 or email For all the latest news, follow@Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter.

Build mobile courses with iTunes U

Build mobile courses with iTunes U

Everyone’s heard of iTunes – the online music store that keeps your iPod stocked. Less well known is its education-focused sister app, iTunes U. As well as a massive online repository of educational content provided by everyone from the British Library to Harvard University and beyond, iTunes U lets you manage videos, iBooks, presentations and other resources, packaging them into ‘courses’ that students can follow in class or at home, with everything they need accessible right from their iPad.

Before you get started

Paul’s top tips for making sure everything runs smoothly…

  • Get in touch with Apple. They want to keep the quality of courses as high as possible, so you’ll need to contact them to set up an account.
  • Get in touch with parents. It’s probably a good idea to let parents know what content you’ll be letting students access, and to find out if they have their own Apple devices. If so, they can use them to monitor their child’s progress and provide at-home support.
  • Get in touch with IT. An iTunes U account is free to host, content can be private or public and staff can use multiple logins on the same account, so all resources are in one place – all of which means its a great alternative to a VLE.

Step 1) Setting up shop

While students need to download the iTunes U app to complete courses, you can actually build everything online. Head over to the iTunes U Course Manager and log in using your Apple ID. The first thing you’ll be asked to do is create an Instructor Profile. This will let people know who you are, where you work and what courses you’ve created – think of it as iTunes U’s own version of LinkedIn.

Step 2) In-session or self-paced?

When your profile’s saved, your Course Manager dashboard will be revealed! Once you get over the excitement, click ‘Create New Course’. You’ll be asked to add some basic info: what level the course is aimed at, what language it’s in, and a general description of what it covers. You’ll need to decide whether your course is self-paced (students can dip in and out of it as they fancy) or in-session (it has to be completed to certain deadlines). As the name suggests, Apple assume you’ll be using in-session courses as teaching aids during classes, but as the scheduling tools in this option are so much better, I’d recommend it for organising homework assignments and revision schemes, too. You can create duplicate copies of a course, then tweak the content in them for different ability streams, or swap them from in-session to self-paced.

Step 3) Building your course

Click on the Outline tab and you’ll be given a blank box to add your course outline into – you can type directly into this or copy and paste an existing outline. At the bottom left of the outline tab, you’ll see the ‘Add Page’ button. This is where you can create custom pages for anything that doesn’t fit in your outline, such as a list of learning objectives. Next, click on the Posts tab and select a topic from the outline. You can then enter all information students need for that part of the course, then add an Assignment such as reading a chapter of an iBook or taking notes on a video clip (hit the Attach Material button to assign a resource to a post).

Alternatively, if you have any questions or think you’d benefit from some training, give us a call on 03332 409 333 or drop us an email at