Apple Teacher #2: Exploring the Pages, iPad and Mac Starter Guides

Apple Teacher #2: Exploring the Pages, iPad and Mac Starter Guides

If you’re new to iPad and Mac, the Apple Teacher Starter Guides are the perfect place to start picking up new skills that you can use to plan new and engaging lessons with your iPad and Mac. The Pages for iPad and Mac guides are a great follow-on to the starter guides, introducing skills for producing new and exciting lessons. 

iPad Starter Guide

The iPad Starter Guide gives you an overview of the iPad and the key features you’ll need to know when using iPad in your day to day teaching. Chapter 3 starts with a skills list that you can use as a point of reference after finishing the book.

One of the best things you’ll learn here is how to use the AirDrop function to push out resources electronically, and make your printing bills go through the floor. The final chapter showcases the different places where you can find teaching resources, such as the App Store, iTunes U and iBooks Store. The book then finishes by giving ideas and inspiration for different teaching and learning ideas across a range of subjects.

Mac Starter Guide

The Mac Starter Guide is an excellent resource if you’re switching from a Windows-based system to Mac. It highlights all the user-friendly Mac features that you’ll love, with new ways to make your working life easier from Multi-Touch gestures through to accessibility features like the built-in narration tool that types as you speak. Again, chapter 3 starts with a skills overview, and even if you’re an experienced Mac user it’s well worth a look as you may learn something new to use in your lessons (AirDrop works on Mac too). Chapter 4 covers the learning resources available much in the same way as the iPad book, and the final chapter is full of inspiration and ideas.

Pages for iPad and Pages for Mac

The Pages for Mac and Pages for iPad Apple Teacher guides navigate you through designing a science report called Plants and Butterflies using Apple’s user-friendly word processing app. The guides start with how to navigate Pages and where to find key features. Chapter 3 begins with a list of the skills that you will develop, and the guides then go through step by step how to create your report. You’ll love how easily the picture editing tool Instant Alpha takes away the background of a photo and how effortlessly wrapping text works. You’ll also learn how to set up your project as a collaborative piece so groups of students can work together. At the end of the book, you get teaching ideas for Literacy, Maths, History and Assessment.

Additional support

If you are struggling with any of the content in the starter guides, don’t worry – there are other lines of support (in addition to Jigsaw24). Regional Training Centres or RTCs all around the country are hosting free introduction workshops based around the Apple Teacher Guides. These workshops are designed as an additional layer of support when it comes to achieving Apple Teacher Status, and are definitely worth checking out.

Next steps with Jigsaw24

Every school and every iPad and Mac project is different, and our Apple Education Trainers recognise this. All of our trainers are former teachers who have a wealth of knowledge and experience with iPad and Mac. Right at the start of your project, we can work with you to develop a bespoke training strategy that will ensure you get the best from your Apple technology. To make sure that your long term goals are achieved with iPad and Mac, we would recommend that you ask us about our Planning and Vision sessions.  Another good course that would build on the skills developed in the iPad, Mac and Pages guides would be our Reaching All Learners training session.

– Missed our first Apple Teacher article? Catch up on ‘An introduction to Apple Teacher’ 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.

How does Office for Mac 2016 measure up?

How does Office for Mac 2016 measure up?

While we have nothing but love in our hearts for iWork, we realise that some organisations are always going to want everyone to be working on Office. This makes sense – it sidesteps any compatibility issues and no one has to remember to export to the right file type before sending something to a colleague – but it’s also sent a ripple of fear through many an office. Will Outlook work on a Mac? Are you about to lose all your spreadsheets? Are the Mac versions of these things actually any good? With Office for Mac 2016 the answer, thankfully, is yes. 

Getting the ‘Mac feel’ right

The latest version of Office for Mac is notable for having been redesigned to be more in line with Office for iPad and its Windows counterpart, meaning navigating apps and using the Ribbon menu is a virtually identical experience on all platforms – perfect if you’re moving from PC to Mac and need a shallow learning curve. Word and PowerPoint also support Mac and Windows keyboard shortcuts for common actions like saving, so you can rely on muscle memory for those tasks.

However, this iteration of Office also supports gesture controls like pinch to zoom, meaning it feels much more natural to navigate through apps using your Mac’s trackpad. The unpopular Toolkit floating pane has been replaced by a fixed menu that feels much more in line with the UI of existing Apple applications and, most importantly as far as we’re concerned, replaces Word for Mac’s clunky Inspector with an intuitive Style pane. There’s also support for Retina resolution displays, so you won’t have to put up with icons seeming impossibly tiny.

Version parity: do you still have all your favourite PC tools?

So do the Mac versions of Office apps have all the functionality of their PC counterparts? The honest answer is “almost”. Outlook in particular has come on in leaps and bounds in recent updates, and now includes flourishes such as being able to propose a new time when declining a meeting, smarter email threading and the ability to add different signatures to different kinds of new message (this was previously only possible when replying to an existing thread). It still doesn’t have Outlook for PC’s Ignore feature for muting threads you’d rather be copied out of, but we find throwing things across the office once we lose patience with an unrepentant cc’er works just as well.

Perhaps most interesting is Excel for Mac, which assumes that a casual spreadsheetist will be happy in Apple’s more basic Numbers application, so has focused on providing high-end tools for power users. These include: support for Analysis ToolPak and Solver add-ons; an improved formula builder and equation editor (online consensus is that it’s actually easier to find the components you’re looking for in Excel for Mac than it is Numbers); and support for features that were missing from the 2011 version, like PivotTable Slicers.

There’s also a handy feature that recommends the best kind of chart or PivotTable to display the data you’re currently working on, and autocomplete has gotten far cleverer.

PowerPoint is also greatly improved, having finally worked out how to handle media smoothly. It offers a 3D View that shows you an exploded diagram of each slide’s elements, so you can reorder them more easily. It’s also got 23 new (and less crushingly clinical) design templates.

By far everyone’s favourite feature, though, is the addition of a great honking ‘Switch Displays button’ that means you’re not going to accidentally show everyone your desktop while presenting.

Collaborative tools

One downside, especially given how good the Office for iPad app suite is, is that iCloud and Handoff aren’t supported. However, these are replaced by Microsoft’s own OneDrive cloud storage service, which supports online collaboration between users too, so cross-platform collaborators won’t miss out entirely.

Threaded comments in Word and PowerPoint mean that you can easily track who made which changes, and if you save a document to OneDrive, you can invite other Mac, PC or iOS users to edit, annotate and contribute. Changes are only displayed once everyone contributing has saved the document, so you don’t have to watch someone type sentences, change their minds and try again in realtime. However, be sure to turn on Track Changes, as otherwise none of the changes will be associated with a particular user’s name.

OneNote

This new addition to the Office for Mac suite is a highly regarded standalone note-taking app. The key thing to note in Office for Mac 2016 is that it has inherited the record-audio-while-you-take-notes feature that used to reside in Word. Fortunately, it’s made the move intact, and you can still click on text to hear what you were recording when you typed it, which is excellent if you want to settle an argument about your meeting notes.

Want to know more about Office for Mac? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

How to distribute Apple’s free iLife and iWork apps via VPP

How to distribute Apple’s free iLife and iWork apps via VPP

As you may have seen last year, Apple have now made their full range of iLife and iWork apps available for free, meaning you can now get the likes of Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie and iPhoto for nothing! But how do you download and distribute those apps through Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme (VPP)? 

The free apps are available for free on the App Store to all VPP customers with qualifying iOS 7 compatible devices activated or purchased on or after September (that is, more recent iPad, iPhone or iPod touch devices). All you need to do to request content codes for your qualifying devices is fill in the form at the VPP Contact Support page, and they’ll sort you out. Then you can distribute your free apps using Apple Configurator or your mobile device management (MDM) solution.

Just follow these few steps from Apple:

(UPDATE 10/03/14: We just wanted to point out that sending the form by email is just the first step. It raises a support ticket (Apple quote up to five days for a response, but it’s usually quicker). The email dialogue (with serial numbers etc) would then take place via the support ticket/email.)

“1. [Email] a copy of your original sales receipt with the number of eligible devices clearly marked. If the serial numbers are not listed, please include them as well.

2. In five to seven business days, after we verify your information, we’ll send you a password protected file containing your content codes. We’ll send you a separate email shortly after with your password to open the codes file.

3. You can use the iPhoto, iMovie, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers codes using Apple Configurator or another third party Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. Users can also redeem the codes individually using their Apple IDs.”

If you need any more information on redeeming codes, take a look at our article VPP explained: Educational discounts on iPad apps, or get in touch on the details below.

Want to know more about Apple’s iWork, iLife, and Macs and iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email learning@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.


The iOS apps you (and we) can’t live without

The iOS apps you (and we) can’t live without

From accountants to architects, here are some of the top apps that we have been recommending to customers.

One of the biggest benefits of Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod touch is versatility. Apps allow you to transform an iOS device into just about anything you can imagine on a touch screen, and the Apple App Store already has a library of more than 520,000 approved apps – many of which are free. You can develop your own bespoke content that’s tailored specifically to your business’s needs but, apart from spirit levels and Angry Birds, what does the App Store have to offer?

For word processing: Pages

Pages (£6.99) from Apple is just one of a number of apps out there available for the iPad and iPhone that deal with word processing. Where this has the edge, though, is in its compatibility with Microsoft Word – it can import and export both iWork and Office for Mac files, as well as PDFs. It’s also far more flexible than its competitors, allowing you to import photos into text with minimal lag.

Download Pages from the App Store here.

For spreadsheets: Numbers

Download Numbers from the App Store here.Numbers (£6.99) from Apple is a spreadsheet tool that includes over 250 different functions. It’s completely compatible with Excel files (you can import and export the .xls file type), but bear in mind it doesn’t include pivot tables, sparklines and Macros – you’ll need to run Microsoft Office via VPN and remote desktop protocol for those.

For presentations: Keynote

Keynote (£6.99) from Apple is hands-down the best for creating and editing presentations, and you can work with both Mac Keynote and PowerPoint files. Bear in mind though, that if you just want an app for presenting that retains PowerPoint formatting, you’re better off going for GoodReader.Download Keynote from the App Store here.
For accessing and sharing files: mobilEcho, Dropbox and activEcho

mobilEcho (Get in touch for pricing) from GroupLogic has been a game changer in that IT can now give iPad users secure and managed access (via AD authentication) to files that are stored on corporate file servers. Basically, it lets iPad users access files in the same way as they would on their laptop.

Download free trial of mobilEcho here.

Dropbox (Free) by Dropbox is free but includes a storage limit, and lets you store any file type in cloud storage so you can access it on another device – you can save a document on an iPad and then carry on working on it on your desktop when you’re back in the office, without having to transfer over the latest version.

Download Dropbox from the App Store.

activEcho (Get in touch for pricing) from GroupLogic is the corporate equivalent of Dropbox, and works in the same way by giving you anytime, anywhere access to files stored in the cloud (either public or private). The one big difference: this improves security and helps you meet compliance requirements. Again, the client app is free but the infrastructure behind that isn’t.

Download activEcho free trial here.

For sketching and editing CAD files: AutoCAD WS

AutoCAD WS (Free) is purely aimed at anyone who works with 2D and 3D DWG, DWF and DXF files. It lets you view, edit and share drawings, and you can even work on designs offline or use the built-in design collaboration tools to review and approve colleagues’ work.

Download AutoCAD WS from the App Store here.

For retail and sales reports: Roambi Analytics Visualizer and Roambi Flow Viewer

Roambi Analytics Visualizer and Roambi Flow Viewer are both business intelligence apps that bring together complex data and engaging design. Roambi Analytics transforms existing business reports into stunning visual displays, while the Flow Viewer lets you turn business information (including Salesforce data) and multimedia content into a report for presenting to clients and colleagues. While both apps are free to download, for more comprehensive reporting in Analytics Visualizer, a subscription is required.

Download Roambi Flow Viewer from the App Store here.

Download Roambi Analytics Visualizer from the App Store here.

For monitoring and communicating leads: ForcePad and Salesforce Chatter

ForcePad (Free) by Salesforce Labs was formerly known as Salesforce for iPad, and gives you access to every Salesforce feature on the move. You can create, edit, clone and delete records in an Salesforce environment, view all your apps and visualforce/web/custom tabs, and post links to Chatter. This is great if you want to check leads or opportunities you’ve been assigned to.

Download ForcePad from the App Store here.

Salesforce Chatter (Free) by salesforce.com is a great way to turn your business into a social enterprise, giving employees the chance to communicate what they are working on and post photos.

Download Chatter from the App Store here.

For document management: GoodReader for iPad

GoodReader for iPad (£2.99) by Good.i.Ware is perfect for viewing lots of file formats, including PDFs and Microsoft Office files. Where this excels is in its flexibility and speed; you can load up PDFs of 100MB or more incredibly fast or even choose to load them without images, then use the annotation tools to look at other people’s comments GoodReader also uses a familiar file storage interface, and can sync with the likes of Dropbox and other remote servers.

Download GoodReader for iPad from the App Store here.

For notetaking: Evernote

Evernote (Free) by Evernote is more than just notetaking, if I’m being honest; you can take notes, capture photos, important PDFs, make voice recordings and more. Then save them all in the cloud in project folders. It’s the search function that really stands out, though, because Evernote will scan your saved images and PDFs as well as text documents for instances of your word or phrase.

Download Evernote from the App Store here.

For more of our must-have apps, keep en eye on our blog for our app of the week! Or to find out about creating and distributing apps within your business, call us on 03332 409 219 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com.