iPad Promotes Civic Participation

I never would have expected this, but the iPad is making it possible for me to participate in civic action. No, not one of those “e-mail your congressperson” apps. It allows me to attend and participate in community meetings because I don’t need to find a sitter for my 7-year-old. A fully charged iPad, some earbuds, and Plants vs. Zombies, and I can attend a meeting without having to say “sit still” or “shhh!” all evening. And he occasionally takes out the earbuds and listens, too.

Invisible Shield vs. 7-year-old

Why you should NOT buy this stick-on screen protector. In addition to the weird visual stuff it causes, a few rounds of Fruit Ninja leads to slash marks across the screen. Considering the price of the Invisible Shield plus the M-Edge Super Shell is about the same as the Gumdrop Case, which has a screen protector built in, this is NOT worth it. I will probably remove it soon, and hope that the screen directly will be able to take on Fruit Ninja.

Has anyone used a stick-on screen protector that you like?

Invisible Shield vs. 7-year-old

Comparison: M-Edge vs. GumDrop

We are now a two iPad household! The first one I purchased at the beginning of the summer, so I could get used to it, use it for teaching and research over the summer, and so we could have one at home eventually for my 7-year-old son. I settled on an M-Edge Super Shell, for reasons outlined in the post.  When I got my work-issued iPad 3 a few weeks ago, I was seeking something a little smaller, with a more functional screen protector. I looked at the Otterbox, and many others.

I thought it might be useful for people to compare the two to see the difference and help you decide if either would work for you. Apologies for the low quality photos.  It was a challenge to find a spot where glare was minimal.

You can see that the M-Edge Super Shell is a lot larger. It also has rounded edges that are easier to grip.  The weight is comparable–M-Edge might be slightly lighter, since it is made of foam.

Here’s the side view. M-Edge is thicker. Great for little hands or clumsy hands.

Back side.  You can kind of see the “tire tracks” on the back of the GumDrop case. They make gripping the case really easy.

Which do I like better?  I think the M-Edge Super Shell is perfect for our home iPad. It keeps it safe and visible. When we take it out into the world, it is unique and won’t be mistaken for someone else’s (I have yet to see another one of these out in public, despite the fact that they are sold at Target.) The Gumdrop is for my work iPad, and I think it will work well for use in the classroom, for taking out in the community to conduct research, and easy to carry in my purse or small briefcase if necessary. So for now, I think the problem is solved.

Which case did you choose? How do you like it?

Case Closed!

I found the perfect case, at least for now. It is a Gumdrop Drop Tech case for iPad 3. This solved the problem of having something I could hold on to while walking around the classroom, it has a cover to protect the screen, and it weighs a bit less, costs a bit less, and is a bit smaller than the Otterbox I featured earlier.

Here it is!

I picked black with red trim–makes it visible, but won’t show dirt. Don’t like black?  It comes in designer pastels as well.

Making Folders on your iPad, and Where to Find Help

So, I posted this on Facebook the other evening:

iPad users: is there a tutorial somewhere that tells you how to do basic stuff? I would like to organize my apps so Billy’s games all appear on one screen and my stuff is on another. Where do you go to figure out how to do that, or anything? Why is there no manual or even a help feature on this thing?

And the answers came pouring in!

  • Just hold on to an app until it wiggles and drag it to the edge of the screen and then you’ll get to the next page. You can also hold on the the app until it wiggles and drag it onto another app. It will create a folder.
  • Give it to Billy! He can likely figure it out…my kids did mine and the folders keep things quite organized. I checked with my Jake (11) and the advice on dragging one app on top of the other one is the way to create a folder as Jessica says in the first post. Then, you can label each folder, which is fun. Also, one thing I learned along the way that is helpful, is that the apps will continue to “run” and drain your charge even if you are not using them (my kids open lots of games). To close unused apps, double click on the ipad button (the one that’s not on the screen), this will display all running programs along the bottom and allow you to shut them off.
  • Easy! Touch an app andit wiggles. Keep holding it and slide it along to a new screen. When it is where you want it, remove your finger and press the home button and all the added apps stop shaking and are on the page you want them to be!

You might think from all that that I’m going to tell you the best place to find help is Facebook, and for some problems it might be.  But it turns out there actually is an ipad manual.  No, really.  There are directions for how to do stuff on your iPad. You don’t just have to play around with it and hope for the best. One person told me:

There is an iPad guide that came preloaded in my iBooks. Perhaps you have that, too?

I now have TWO iPads, and the manual is not preloaded on either of them.  The new one doesn’t even have iBooks. But, here’s the manual, which you can download yourself and read in adobe reader if you don’t have iBooks (future post:  How to acquire iBooks, both the app and some actual iBooks).

The good news: I downloaded the manual to my regular computer last night (my iPad was FROZEN and I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to get in my nightly session of watching Downton Abbey!) and it was very easy to follow, the directions for my problem were very clear, and it worked right away. Now, if I had only my iPad with the manual loaded on it, I couldn’t have checked it to solve my problem, but we now have four computers, two iPads and two smart phones in our family (5 of these items acquired in the last year), so some iPad manual would have been available somewhere! Whew!

Unsolved Cases

Wow. The more I look for a case for my new iPad (which I got today! It seems very slick) the more confused I get.  SO MANY CHOICES! Since I am looking for one specifically to carry in the classroom, I googled “ipad3 cases for kids” since cases designed for kids (as opposed to contractors) seem to be both tough and light.

This blog post from the hot apps website has links to a bunch of reviews of kid-friendly cases. If your needs are the same as mine–being able to carry your iPad while walking around a classroom–this should cover just about every possibility (including the Otterbox I mentioned below).

Happy Shopping!

Otterboxing

I love Otters. I remember taking my son to the zoo when he was less than two years old, and watching him watch the otters swimming and frolicking in their tank.  They looked just like he does when he’s joyously playing with others.

I don’t know if the Otterbox people have that same love of otters, but their cases look like they could withstand boxing with a raft of otters (yes! a group of otters is called a raft!). I’m thinking pretty seriously about getting one of these:

The only thing missing seems to be a place for a stylus. But then again, I haven’t even tried my new stylus, so maybe I won’t use it that much.

This accessory seems a little over the top for me, but I can see how useful it would be for a contractor or architect, or a parent of multiple children under 10:

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