Video: The benefits of an Apple Solution Expert for Education

Video: The benefits of an Apple Solution Expert for Education

As an Apple Solution Expert for Education, we love Apple technology, and helping customers enhance learning. Here’s more on the benefits we offer, including support and services from our expert team.

For more information on our Apple support and services, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Creative trend: The rise of interactivity and animation

Creative trend: The rise of interactivity and animation

The days of static web pages, emails and designs are behind us, and with interactivity and animation rapidly gaining momentum over the past few years, it’s safe to say immersive content is here to stay. Offering up richer experiences for customers and users, interactive designs are proving much more effective and engaging, and creative businesses have been quick to adopt the trend and make it their own. So what kind of interactive, animated content have they been creating and how could it affect business and generate better marketing results?

Due to the fundamentals of human psychology and visual perception, ensuring the effectiveness of your visual communications is key – that’s why usability and accessibility are so important to any digital or online experience. Linear, easy to use interfaces, intelligent personalisation and specialisation should be your top priorities when it comes to UX (user experience), and in 2018, interactivity and animation have an essential role in all of that.

As a form of interactive storytelling, these mediums have proved successful with customers and are now an integral part of marketing engagement. Reportedly, 88% of online customers are less likely to revisit a website if they’ve had a bad experience, while 75% of judgments about website credibility centre on a site’s aesthetics. To top that off, a massive 94% of first impressions are based on design, showing just how important it is to create engaging content that offers something unique and different, with interactivity being the key hook to keeping customers engaged with whatever your company is offering.

Interactive creativity

We can’t have a conversation about the rise of interactivity and animation without discussing the actual content that’s being created. While some websites opt to have video backgrounds, this can lead to noticeable performance issues. To overcome this problem, web designers have begun employing background animations – known as ‘particle backgrounds’ – instead of video. Created from lightweight javascript, particle backgrounds let animation form a part of a website’s natural background, reducing load times while still engaging customers in a unique, thought-provoking way. Taking this one step further, so-called integrated animations are another way that designers have taken advantage of browser technology improvements, and are particularly useful for keeping a user engaged throughout the duration of their visit to a website. They can be used to liven up a typically dull loading screen, display something fun and attention-grabbing while hovering over a link or image, or react according to a user’s scrolling and navigation patterns.

Mobile-optimised websites are another facet of interactivity that’s taken hold in recent years. In 2016, smartphones and tablets overtook desktop to become the population’s browsing device of choice. Desktop’s portion of browsing traffic dwindled to 48.7%, while mobile web browsing’s share of the action had risen consistently since 2009. That meant that developers, marketers and eCommerce giants had to respond accordingly – they started to create sites that were just as easy to navigate on mobile as they were on desktop, if not easier. Featuring stripped back, minimalist designs, mobile-friendly sites are seen as nigh-on essential these days, making it even easier for customers to interact with their favourite brands online while engaging with products and content. Likewise, responsive design has even helped revolutionise desktop browsing. These days, websites typically respond to the size of the window they’re being viewed in, and react and resize depending on how the user manipulates them. In the coming years, designers will have to accommodate newer mediums such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), which demand deeper interactivity for users.

But what do actual creatives think to these new interactivity standards and the inclusion of animation in design? We asked our resident Web Designer, Jamie, for his thoughts – “With mobile phones and tablets becoming today’s primary devices for browsing, I think responsiveness is key to giving equal experience to a user, regardless of screen size. And if you want to capture a user’s attention, animation and interactivity are great tools that draw on the curiosity and playfulness of a person’s mind.” Our Graphic Designer, Videographer and Animator, Simon, added “The presence of motion graphics on a web page or email immediately draws a user’s attention and provides an extra level of engagement. Animated GIFs or longer animated videos embedded in the page can also help get an idea across more clearly than a still illustration or icon in some situations.”

How can interactive designs and animation benefit business?

A number of industry marketing studies suggest that brands which utilise animation and interactivity (and have paid particular attention to UX design in general) will see the results. According to one study, one in three people will abandon a purchase if they can’t find the correct information, suggesting an interactive site that responds to a user’s needs and displays information more clearly would retain their custom. Similarly, visit-to-lead conversions have shown to be as much as 400% higher on websites with a better UX design, while a more user-friendly UI (user interface) has raised conversion rates by 200% in some cases. It’s also worth noting that 97% of business customers consider usability to be the most essential component of mobile apps, something that interactivity and strategically placed animation could help companies take advantage of.

If you’re more concerned with email design, polls have routinely ranked interactive emails as the number one email marketing trend. Interactive emails can consist of a news story feed, polls, navigation bars and tabs, feedback functionality and more. In 2015, Ticketmaster trialled an interactive email containing a poll. It let recipients vote for the best music video of the year, best female video, best male video and best rock video, all without clicking away from the email – and it paid off! On top of better than average click-through and engagement rates, the email received 182% more opens than standard email communications. Some companies have even gone so far as to include the ability to place orders within an email, and while few have perfected it, it’s led to an uptick in sales within these communications.

Want to get started?

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there to help you bring animation and interactive design in-house. A designer’s first port of call should always be Mac, which is ideal for any creative looking to immerse themselves in animation. Built with enough processing and graphical power to handle intensive animation generation, Apple hardware is perfectly suited to the requirements of modern creative workflows. If you want the best of the best, the brand new iMac Pro is fully equipped to take on 3D animation, which’ll really put you ahead of the competition!

Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes everything you could need to get started (as well as tutorials to lend a hand along the way), is essential if you want to achieve the industry-standard and remain competitive. Popular Adobe apps for animation include After Effects, Animate, Illustrator, Photoshop and new Character Animator. Simon thinks highly of Creative Cloud’s powerful tools, too – “Motion graphics are increasingly simple to produce within Adobe Creative Cloud. The timeline window in Photoshop is great for compiling short sequences, while After Effects has every tool you could ever need to produce longer, more complex animations.” You can find out more about Creative Cloud here, including features, applications, benefits for your studio, and price plans.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Our purchasing framework with the University of Nottingham

Our purchasing framework with the University of Nottingham

Now that the national Apple framework has expired, we’ve teamed up with the University of Nottingham to create a new purchasing framework for universities.

We provide centralised ordering, delivery and repair for the university’s Apple devices. We’re now the sole supplier for their national purchasing framework, which is a comprehensive and compliant alternative to the NWUPC HE Framework… and we can do this for your university too!

What we can offer

As the UK’s largest business to business Apple provider, we can provide excellent pricing on Apple kit, storage, networks and peripherals. We also have a services team and in-house support desk dedicated to delivering the best possible Apple experience – and we want to make this high standard of service available to universities across the UK.

We offer:

– Faster Apple repairs. Our typical turnaround time is no more than four business days, including nationwide collection and return. We also offer next day loans when necessary.

– Expert accredited team. We have a 97% customer satisfaction rating for Apple repairs, independently verified by Apple.

– Longer usable lifetimes for devices. We offer four year warranties instead of the usual three, and offer upgrade and refurbishment services.

– Open, honest and competitive Apple pricing. For all our desktops, notebooks, iOS devices and underlying infrastructure.

– Dedicated account management. We provide management information to allow efficient, pan- university understanding of purchases and assets.

– Purchasing portal integration. We can provide a backend ordering system integrated with SciQuest, and restrict the stock list to approved models.

– Greener IT provision. We partner with local environmental company Go4Greener to ensure we meet environmental standards, including using recycled packaging from local suppliers.

If you’re thinking of refreshing your devices or infrastructure, we can run through your requirements and see how the framework could benefit you.

If you’d like to know more about our HE framework, get in touch on 03332 409 333 or at HEframework@Jigsaw24.com, or download the PDF here.

Our top five budget products for creatives

Our top five budget products for creatives

Looking for new tech for your team but shopping on a budget? From MacBook Pro to Wacom tablets and more, here are five great value products that’ll get the job done!

1. 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro

16GB RAM, 2.7GHz quad core i7 processor, 512GB flash storage, AMD Radeon Pro 455 2GB graphics.

Perfect for both at home and in the workplace, and running all the creative applications you could need, this powerful ex-display MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is highly portable and can be easily plugged into a display when you want to get into some more serious work.

Save £670!

£1549 (£1858.80 inc VAT)

Shop now

2. Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition

Up to 8192 pressure levels, built-in Bluetooth, customisable ExpressKeys.

With this creative pen tablet from Wacom, you’ll be throwing your mouse away and never looking back. The Intuos Pro Paper Edition is great for creating, and accurately emulates the feeling of drawing on paper. It’s ideal for those who frequently work with Adobe Creative Cloud, and is a handy tool for navigating around your files and desktop.

£316 (£379.20 inc VAT)

Shop now

3. EIZO 24.1″ FlexScan EV2455 display

1920 x 1200 native resolution, supports USB 3.0, VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI-D, ultra-slim 1mm bezel, LED-backlit IPS LCD panel with 178-degree viewing angle.

Ideal for viewing at different angles as part of a multi-monitor setup, the EIZO FlexScan EV2455 is a display that’s easy on the eyes and budget, and delivers optimal performance, quality and reliability for creatives.

£299.79 (£359.75 inc VAT)

Shop now

4. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is the industry-standard creative solution, letting you create amazing content, collaborate across desktop and mobile with powerful apps and syncing tools, and make sure you’re always one step ahead of the creative curve. With immediate access to new products, the latest features and exclusive updates as soon as they’re released, you can make sure you’re always up to date too.

Single app plans start from £303 ex VAT.

Shop now

5. Canon EOS 750D DSLR with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

The Canon 750D is one of the best DSLR cameras available for beginners, and is perfect if you want to avoid the cost of buying a separate camera and camcorder. Packing advanced features, it’s capable of great quality video and capturing a high level of detail in a variety of scenarios.

£599 (£718.80 inc VAT)

Shop now

For more information, get in touch with the team by calling 03332 400 888 or emailing sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Video: Why do you need Apple School Manager?

Video: Why do you need Apple School Manager?

In this tutorial, Regional Education Manager Rob Williams runs us through why you need to manage your school’s devices and how to implement these effectively in your school with Apple School Manager.

For more information on device management, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Is the new iMac Pro right for your creative team?

Is the new iMac Pro right for your creative team?

Apple’s long-awaited iMac Pro has finally arrived, and it’s an absolute juggernaut. Packed full of staggeringly powerful tech, Apple designed this beast with the most demanding creative workflows in mind. But with such impressive specs, iMac Pro comes at an unsurprisingly high price point – so can you justify making the purchase, and how could it improve your day-to-day creative processes?

While it looks almost identical to the mid-2017 5K iMac (minus the dashing Space Grey paint job), iMac Pro is a completely different machine. Lets take a look under the hood…

Display

– 27″ Retina 5K display.

– 5120×2880 resolution.

– 500 nits brightness.

– P3 wide colour gamut.

Processor

– Base model: 8-Core Xeon.

– Upgradable to: 10-Core Xeon.

– Upgradable to: 18-Core Xeon.

Memory

– Base model: 32GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory.

– Upgradable to: 64GB.

– Upgradable to: 128GB.

Storage

– Base model: 1TB SSD.

– Upgradable to: 2TB SSD.

– Upgradable to: 4TB SSD.

Graphics

– Base model: Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB of HBM2 memory.

– Upgradable to: Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB of HBM2 memory.

I/O

– Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports.

– Four USB 3.0 ports.

– SDXC card slot with support for UHS‑II.

– 10Gb Ethernet using RJ‑45 connector (supports Nbase-T 1Gb, 2.5Gb, and 5Gb).

So, what’s it good for?

If you’ve been using iMac before now, you’ll know just how good the platform is for creative work. But iMac Pro takes things to the next level. It’s perfectly suited for everything from video editing and music production to 3D animation and software development and much more. Compatible with up to 18 cores and packing up to 128GB DDR4 RAM, most of the work creative professionals do will benefit greatly from iMac Pro’s extra computing and graphics power. Subsequently, tasks like video encoding and editing in particular will enjoy noticeable performance boosts from the additional processing cores, while even 3D rendering will become that bit easier thanks to ample memory.

If your team are preparing for the future and want to adopt new technology trends, iMac Pro will to be a great addition to your creative workflow. As demanding new formats and technologies like 4K, 6K, 8K, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality become increasingly popular, it’s imperative that you have access to a machine that can keep pace while you’re hard at work. Thankfully, early benchmark tests of the hardware found inside iMac Pro suggest it’ll outperform previous generation iMacs on all fronts – that means you’ll see a definite improvement over your last iMac and you won’t have to think about upgrading your hardware for the foreseeable future.

With two GPU variants available – Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB HBM2 memory and the more impressive Pro Vega 64 with 16GB HBM2 memory – iMac Pro is the ultimate bit of kit for graphics work. Creative teams will find VR applications working much faster than on an older iMac, enabling you to embrace and experiment with the new medium like never before. Likewise, iMac Pro’s powerful GPU will be a big plus for any games development projects you might be working on, and rendering in video editing programs like Premier Pro and Final Cut Pro X will also benefit.

Is it worth the upgrade?

Firstly, you should ask yourself if your team’s existing iMacs are meeting your workflow requirements. If your work doesn’t need need masses of computing power behind it, you probably don’t need an iMac Pro which, as mentioned above, has been built specifically for the most demanding creative projects. Of course, iMac Pro’s A10 Fusion coprocessor and SSD will undoubtably save you time when booting the machine and loading apps, but if you don’t mind waiting a few extra seconds it’s probably not worth forking out for.

With that being said, anyone looking to embrace new technology trends or push the boundaries of their existing video, software, audio, animation or development work will benefit from having an iMac Pro in their office. Complete with hardware never before seen in an iMac, iMac Pro delivers an experience you can’t get with any previous model and will provide an unmatched productivity boost that’ll more than make up for its top-end price.

You can purchase iMac Pro from our store here, starting from £4079 (£4894.80 inc VAT).

For more information about iMac Pro, get in touch with the team by calling 03332 400 888 or emailing sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How did the creative industry perform in 2017?

How did the creative industry perform in 2017?

2017 has come and gone, and what a year it’s been. Creative agencies have produced impressive content and campaigns during the last 12 months, and we’ve really enjoyed seeing everything they’ve created. But how did the creative sector fare economically, which campaigns have been the most engaging and successful, and what economic factors should you be thinking about as we head into 2018? 

To get a real picture of the creative industry’s economic impact in 2017, it’s worth examining its performance over the last few years. Looking back, the sector’s GDP contribution has grown year on year – from £63.4 billion in 2010 to a whopping £91.8 billion in 2016. 2016’s figure even grew by an impressive £6 billion on 2015’s number, and there’s no sign of 2017 bucking the trend. But why is that? For a start, 2017 has been home to lots of effective creative campaigns – lets take a look at some of them…

Lucozade: Contactless bottles

As part of an awareness campaign, Lucozade treated London commuters to a free trip on the underground back in May. During rush hour, the company handed out bottles of the energy drink that had contactless pins on the bottom, allowing commuters to simply scan the item at the gates and board their train without spending a penny.

Airbnb: Don’t Go There. Live There. 

After market research suggested that 86% of Airbnb users wanted to experience a new place like someone who actually lives there, Airbnb were inspired to launch their ‘Live There’ campaign. Hosted entirely through social media, it focused on Airbnb’s unique service – offering tourists the chance to live in an actual home rather than hotels while travelling, and encouraged deeper integration into local communities during a stay away.

Addict Aide: Like My Addiction

Addict Aide launched a campaign on Instagram to help shed light on alcoholism and how social media can be used to promote and encourage it.  Having caught the attention of the right audience – teenagers and young adults – the campaign ultimately generated 5 times as much web traffic for Addict Aide’s homepage.

Heineken: Worlds Apart

Heineken set out to prove that having a simple conversation over a beer can bring even the most diametrically opposed people together. Having been given three tasks to complete, participants would only discover how different they really were towards the end of the beer maker’s social experiment.

Tesco: Discover app

Having teamed up with Engine Creative, Tesco built an AR app to enhance the shopping experience for their customers. Tesco Discover allows shoppers to scan pages from their brochures, where they can access an array of related information, images, video, competitions and more. The app also builds on Tesco’s successful partnership with Disney, letting users scan Frozen-themed books and stickers to bring a 3D scene from the movie to life within the Discover app. Customers can even take virtual selfies with various Frozen characters within the AR app.

Embracing new mediums

Right now, the creative industry accounts for around one in 11 jobs in the UK, and that number is rising – unlike other industries, the creative sector is one of the least likely to lose jobs to automation. Combine that with industry-wide collaboration, entrepreneurialism and a raft of new trends, and you’ve got a recipe for continued growth. And creatives have been quick to incorporate fresh mediums into their work this year.

From augmented reality (AR) to artificial intelligence (AI) to social media live streaming to virtual reality (VR), agencies throughout the country have jumped on these tools and used them to create engaging content for their audiences. Inside the creative industry, the best example of this is the rapid growth of a field known as ‘createch’ (which grew 11.4% in 2016). Createch is an area in which technology is used to enable and enrich creativity (particularly for things like audio, video and storytelling), allowing content producers to deliver new services, products and experiences to consumers. As a result, new, immersive technology mediums like the ones mentioned above have encouraged continued innovation in this field and are sure to deliver further growth and development in 2017, particularly as the technology becomes more advanced and readily-available.

What to look out for in 2018

It’s estimated that by 2018, the value of the creative industry in the UK will grow by almost £9 billion to a total of £100 billion. And with the continued success of UK exports in games, design, film and TV, music and more, it’s essential for creative businesses to be ahead of the curve and prepared to experiment with new technology and creative mediums next year.

To help with this, the UK government are investing £500 million in AI, full fibre broadband and 5G (the fifth generation of telecommunications standards). And with over 2 million people employed in the creative sector in the UK, this money is expected to bolster the country’s position as a creative market leader on the world stage.

As the UK moves closer to severing its ties with the EU next year, it’s also worth considering the affect Brexit could have on the industry’s talent pool. While creatives are currently free to travel throughout Europe for business, this could soon change and agencies will have to rely on the UK’s workforce to provide the talent and skills they need. That means businesses will likely have to refocus and invest in the training and development of UK-based workers in 2018 in order to avoid falling behind in the years to come.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email designsolutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Our thoughts on iPhone X

Our thoughts on iPhone X

iPhone X is an important step for Apple. Back in 2007 when the very first iPhone was released, it changed the smartphone market. Buttons largely became a thing of the past and the screens were suddenly an impressive 3.5 inches of pure 163 ppi glory. The design became the standard for the next generation of smartphones and, since then, other manufacturers have tried to find a way to imitate the iPhone visuals for familiarity while still adding their own design touches.

Since then, we have come a long way! iPhone has gotten bigger and better – that 3.5 inches has become 5.8 inches, and that 163 ppi has become a whopping 458 ppi. Storage has rocketed from a maximum of 16GB in 2007 to 256GB in 2017, and processor speeds are more powerful than many laptops. But fundamentally, gone is that button on the front, and instead we have an all-new design that turns the traditional iPhone look on its head. iPhone X, represents a step away from that well-known façade – but how does this latest iteration compare with its predecessors, and can we expect great things from Apple’s new model?

First thing’s first: The specs

Much has been made of the iPhone’s power, and while there are inevitably similarities between iPhone X and Apple’s other 2017 release, iPhone 8. The iPhone X does lead the way.

Display: 5.8” Super Retina HD display, 2436×1125 pixels at 458 ppi

Camera: 12MP wide-angle (ƒ/1.8 aperture) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4 aperture) cameras

Authentication: Face ID

Processor: A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture

Charging: Wireless charging

Capacity: 64GB or 256GB

The bits we love

It wouldn’t be a review of iPhone X if we didn’t comment on Face ID. Touch ID (using a fingerprint to unlock the device) has been part of the iPhone architecture since iPhone 5S back in 2013. The method of unlocking the phone worked largely seamlessly (except with the dreaded ice-cold fingers) from day one, and provided the device with authentication that meant there was a 1 in 50,000 chance of someone being able to access the device. Face ID (unlocking the device with a visual of your face) ramps that figure up to 1 in 1,000,000 by reading up to 30,000 dots on the face to check your identity. But how good is it?

While initial reports seemed to try anything to find the limitations of Face ID, our experience has been very good. Admittedly there have been times when a tired face first thing in the morning, in a dimly lit room and the cat half in view have left us resorting to putting in the passcode manually, but those instances have been few and far between. In fact, if anything there have been plenty of times when using Face ID has had its advantages over Touch ID. The cold finger issue is a thing of the past, and in cold weather we’ve been able to pull the phone out of our pocket then start using it easily.

It’s all made possible by that built in front-facing camera on the device that’s one of the big differentiators of the X over the 8. The camera, although slightly limited in its scope at the moment, undoubtedly has huge potential in the future. And as for that notch at the top of the display (created to house the camera) that has been much talked-about, after a couple of hours of usage, we barely noticed it was there.

Dog shot on iPhone X

It’s not just the front-facing camera that’s big news though. The rear camera on both iPhone X and iPhone 8 feels like a leap in terms of image quality. Apple have always been forward-thinking in terms of their approach to photography – Live Photos and Portrait Mode have both been great additions. During our tests, the camera performed incredibly well in various different lighting levels, including in Portrait Mode as well as with both still photography and video. Here are just a couple of examples of the photos we were able to get with the device.

Fireworks shot on iPhone X

The other big change compared to previous iPhones is the addition of wireless charging. It’s a feature that’s been tried on a number of mobile phones from other manufacturers in the past, and Apple have been using it on the Apple Watch for a couple of years. Now, iPhone users will be able to take over charging pads in Starbucks up and down the country.

But the real benefit is that by using wireless charging pads (expect Apple’s own AirPower in the new year) you’re able to charge multiple devices through a single cable – far more convenient and far fewer lightning cables lying around the house!

And what about Animojis?

Animojis were a headline feature during the Apple keynote – suddenly, moving poo emojis gave us the chance to step into our own Pixar movies and send abusive text messages in animated form – and there’s little denying that they were good fun initially. They work as expected and the emotion almost precisely mirrors the face you are making. However, admittedly, the novelty factor went quite quickly – mainly because for all the Animojis we were sending, we weren’t getting any back, so we’re sure if you have an arsenal of iPhone X-wielding friends you’ll get along just fine.

As mentioned above, it’s the potential of this technology which really stands out, and there are a number of games putting it to good (or rather quirky) use. Our favourite so far is Rainbrow which lets you control the app’s character using a combination of eyebrow raises and frowns. We look forward to slightly more productive uses of the tech, but for now we’re happy working on building rather impressive brow muscles.

The verdict

Let’s get one thing straight – we love the iPhone X. It’s refreshing to see iPhone stripped right back, with a new look, new functionality, and plenty of new software features not available on other phones. The device’s size does feel unusual at first, and one-handed use can be a bit of a push (mainly when reaching for the Control Centre), but as with the Plus size when that first launched, it’s a learning curve that’s soon overcome. The rear camera is a stand-out feature that shows Apple’s dedication to photography, while the front camera has huge potential.

As for the inner workings – well, we’ve said little about them, but that’s largely because they work perfectly. The device works as smooth as ever, with the latest processor perfectly prepped to handle the complex functionality that has been built into iOS 11. Apple have played a good hand by creating a device that breaks the mould while still feeling familiar to earlier models. It remains to be seen if this becomes the standard for the next ten years – we firmly believe it will.

To find out more about the specs of iPhone X or to buy now, take a look at the Jigsaw24 store, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com.

Apple Teacher #5: Productivity, creativity and coding with Swift Playgrounds

Apple Teacher #5: Productivity, creativity and coding with Swift Playgrounds

In our final look at the Apple Teacher Starter Guides and how they can be used to upskill staff to help them plan engaging lessons with iPad and Mac, we’re focusing on productivity, creativity and coding with Swift Playgrounds.

Enhancing Productivity Apple Teacher Guide

The Enhancing Productivity with iPad and Enhancing Productivity with Mac guides and badges could be completed either before or after the App guides. The book focuses on student productivity, and is broken down into four sections: Productivity fundamentals, Getting organised, Planning and sharing, and Documenting and reflecting.

We really like the ‘Organising a research paper’ activity and the vocabulary flashcards. It’s a great way to introduce the skill of referencing, which students will need to get used to if they go on to study the Extended Project Qualification or go to university after sixth form. The flashcards are a great and effective revision tool for students of all ages, as the content can be fully customised for the ability of the student, and personalised to them. There are links to other iBooks at the back of the guide that will give staff and students further information on how Apple technologies can make you more productive.

Fostering Creativity Apple Teacher Guide

The Fostering Creativity with iPad guide is all about initiating those creative juices, and is the perfect one to leave until last. You’ll know how to use all of the Apple apps on your iPad and Mac by this stage in your Apple Teacher journey, and will be one badge away from becoming an Apple Teacher. Fostering Creativity starts with the fundamentals of the creative process in learning, taking in brainstorming, gathering inspirational resources and, finally, telling compelling stories.

The ‘Reflect on family history’ activity, which uses Pages, Photo Booth (Mac)/Camera (iPad) and iMovie, is great for a simple app smash (combining apps together in one final piece of work). Not only does this develop local history knowledge, it can bring the whole family and school community into a student’s learning. By the end of the guide, you’ll be thinking of new possibilities to use iPad in your classroom.

Swift Playgrounds Teacher Guide

The Everyone Can Code series developed by Apple is a comprehensive, high quality and free set of resources that covers the entire curriculum from year 1 through to year 13. If students follow this programming language all of the way through to the end of sixth form, they will be working with industry standard development tools and be coding in a language that has been used to create apps such as Airbnb, LinkedIn and Eventbrite.

Swift Playgrounds is a block-based coding app (simply drag and drop a short piece of code or instructions) that has a full set of lessons and resources that can be downloaded, used and customised by teachers. For some activities, they also have possible answers which can be revealed (don’t tell the students!). You access them all from the teacher guide in the iBooks Store, and all of the lessons and challenges are mapped against the UK National Curriculum.

Additional support

Regional Training Centres hold a big event every year that are designed to support and inspire your iPad and Mac journeys. If you want additional support for Swift Playgrounds, then you might want to look at iTunes U. Apple Education have created an iTunes U course that is perfect for teachers learning how to code. It follows the Learn to Code 1 and 2 guides and is an excellent course to follow if you want that bit of extra support from home.

Next steps with Jigsaw24

Fostering Creativity introduces the concept of ‘app smashing’ (combining apps for learning), and to ensure this high quality learning is tracked and the progress is highly visible, we would recommend using Showbie. Our course The Paperless Classroom: Showbie upskills your staff to make sure app smashing and progress work seamlessly together.

The Swift Playgrounds app is an amazing introduction to computer science for Key Stage 2 and 3 students. What makes it perfect for the whole coding curriculum is that it allows third party apps such as Sphero and Parrot’s drones to be used by students for the control unit. If you’re interested in integrating these into your coding curriculum, contact your Jigsaw24 Education Manager for more information.

– Missed our last Apple Teacher article? Catch up on ‘Unexpected ways to use GarageBand and Numbers’ here.

Want to know more about Apple Teacher and iPad in the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Apple Teacher #4: Unexpected ways to use GarageBand and Numbers

Apple Teacher #4: Unexpected ways to use GarageBand and Numbers

In our latest look at the Apple Teacher Starter Guides, and how they can be used to upskill staff to help plan engaging lessons with iPad and Mac, we get to GarageBand and Numbers. Here I explain how you can use them in ways you may not have expected…

GarageBand Starter Guide

Those of you who are already familiar with the Apple environment will know that GarageBand is an amazing app for easily creating great quality music in the classroom. But who would have thought that it can also be used in a way that helps literacy? The GarageBand for iPad and GarageBand for Mac Starter Guides focus on creating a lesson that brings a poem to life by learning how to use the Live Loops feature of GarageBand to add layered loops of music. This approach gets teachers and students to stray away from traditional learning and start to think differently.

Even if students cannot play an instrument, they can join in with a jamming session by choosing and playing a live loop. There’s plenty of inspiration to give food for thought and promote out of the box thinking for iPad and Mac in lessons, including ideas around creating soundscapes and radio shows, and a times table song.

Numbers Starter Guide

Numbers is Apple’s spreadsheet app, but it’s not all just about formulae and graphs. In the Numbers for iPad and Numbers for Mac Starter Guides, as with the Pages guide we looked at before, you build a full science report looking at butterflies. The guide touches on Challenge Based-Learning with iPad and Mac, and goes step by step into how students can build a real life science report, covering the project overview, formulae and budgeting for creating a garden to attract butterflies.

You’ll learn how to create tables, formulae and interactive graphs (not as scary as they sound!) that change with a tap of the screen or trackpad. Not only do they look great, they also aid students when they are analysing data, and comparing data sets becomes more visual. In the ‘Going further’ section, there are some great ideas in and around how you can use Numbers for assessment.

Regional Training Centres (RTC)

Most Regional Training Centres have a social media presence and tweet about upcoming Apple Teacher Workshops, so it’s a good idea to get on Twitter and follow your local RTCs (and @Jigsaw24Edu) who will quite often advertise their upcoming courses that are free to attend.  Having that extra bit of help can come in handy when learning how to use new apps.

Next steps with Jigsaw24

By now, your staff will know their way around iPad and be familiar with seven different Apple apps. So it could be time to think about taking training to the next level. Ask us about our mastery training courses where we look at ways of integrating iPad and Mac into your day to day teaching.

A good one to think about would be iPad in the Curriculum. In this course, our Apple Education Trainers use their expertise to work with staff to effectively plan iPad and Mac into schemes of work.  This can be delivered as a whole staff training session or with smaller groups of teachers. Another course you could think about is Making Music with Mac, where our trainers will go in-depth with GarageBand to help create amazing music lessons.

– Missed our last Apple Teacher article? Catch up on ‘Producing exciting lessons with Keynote and iMovie’ here.

Want to know more about Apple Teacher and iPad in the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.