Tuesday, April 21, 2015

EOY Device Clean Up

Are you lucky enough to have a set of iPads (or other tablet device) for every student in your classroom?  Perhaps you have a class set that is shared between multiple students.  Or, maybe you only have a few iPads that are used within your class by individual students.  Regardless of your set up, I am willing to bet that you, like me, dread setting them up for the new school year at the end of the summer.  Why not take some of that stress off now and prepare your iPads BEFORE SUMMER BREAK….or at least get them close to ready!

Even if you are not using an iPad in the classroom for the first time, it is probable that your class set has become somewhat cluttered.  By cluttered I mean this.  You set up your iPads just exactly how you want them.  The photos are empty, the apps you are certain you will use this year are all set up in their perspective folders and the wall paper is set to one you have deemed appropriate.  And THEN….THEN…the school year happens.

I have had the luxury for the past three years of having a 1:1 iPad classroom.  The first year I was so overwhelmed that I most definitely did not set my iPads up properly to begin the year.  

You have downloaded apps throughout the year that you saw on Facebook or Pinterest or even in a workshop for technology in the classroom.  You tried it, used it for a bit, and then it fell by the wayside.  However, chances are you didn’t delete it because you might want to use it again.  So, in this process, your iPad’s screens have become cluttered with apps that are collecting dust.

Another thing to consider, the PHOTOS!  Your students have been taking photos, with or without your permission, and they are all right there for you to enjoy at the end of the year.  To be honest, this is probably one of my favorite things to discover because it gives me a glimpse into their world and, it is always interesting to put a time and date to the picture and know exactly what we were working on when my tiny humans took a picture of their nostrils.  

“Back to School” are three words that most teachers love and hate at the same time.  Add to that the stress and time that is involved in resetting all your digital devices for the new school year and it is enough to make a teacher scream.

However, if you want to make your life a little easier, here are a few tips that I have picked up along the way to help prepare your iPads for the upcoming school year.  Now is a good time to start…as the year draws to a close, and you will be a happy teacher when you get your devices back and they are ready to go.

1. Check your remaining storage.
To do this, go to Settings, General, then Usage.  Running out of storage is a headache that you will want to avoid now.  Go through the camera roll and delete pictures that are stored on the device.  Make sure to delete or back up the videos on there as well.  Now, go through the list and delete all those apps that you “tried” and didn’t really like.  Chances are you aren’t going to use them again.  Apps that you do keep, organize them in folders by subject, grade level, or however you can keep up with where they are.

2.  Clean out your iPad Backup.

This never occurred to me at the end of the first year.  All you get free from Apple is 5GB of iCloud storage.  Now for the normal single iPad user this shouldn’t ever be an issue however, if you are using multiple devices on a classroom Apple ID (thank you Apple for finally making this so simple) then you are probably hitting your limit.  Delete the things that don’t really need back up.  

iCloud back up is critical for certain things but for others it is just redundant.  Back up is very important if you ever have to restore your device or get it replaced.  However, most apps do not necessarily need all their data backed up since they are already backed up in the cloud….example:  Evernote.

3.  Saving Battery Life.

This little tip was such a life saver for me this year.  Sharing 10 iPads between 4 grades (yes hate me now since my largest class was 10 students) meant that I needed that battery to last ALL DAY!  Sure they might get 10-15 minutes of plug in time between classes but that wasn’t really doing me a lot of good.

Make sure that at the end of each session with the iPads your students have learned how to CLOSE OUT THE APPS that are running.  Double-tap the home button and swipe up.  CLOSE THEM OUT COMPLETELY each time to help save battery life.

4.  Prepare for the new iOS Update!  

That’s right folks!  If you haven’t figured out yet, Apple tends to roll out their new iOS updates in the fall….right around BACK TO SCHOOL!  This means that apps need to be updated, and most of all you need storage to install the new iOS update!  So delete what you need to insure that you have about 2GB of storage to download and install the new iOS.  

Now, following these steps are no guarantee that you won’t still have some work to do setting up your iPads at the beginning of the new year but, you will have a lot LESS work.  The best part of doing this at the end of the year…your students can help you do it.  My tiny humans (yes even my first graders) had become so iPad proficient that I could give them instructions and they could follow along and get most of these steps done with me in one little session.  

In August, when you get your devices, you will be happy that you don’t have to “clean them up” before you can “set them up”.  With the newest iOS 8 set up and automatic download of apps and setting up folders through iTunes it can be so simple to set up a master iPad and then push out the set up to the remaining iPads in your class.  Thank you to Apple for that feature!

Do you have anything to add to this list?  Do you have a special routine you follow at the end of the year to prepare your technology for the following school year?  Share your ideas in the comments below and help a fellow teacher out!  We are in this together!  

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