Deploy 2014, Part 6: Accessories and Apps

Here's the discussion for this week: buying accessories and apps.

The TL;DL version is that we're not really keen on any accessories, but we do like a good solid core set of apps (mostly free!) that will let you go a long way.

Fraser and Bradley continue their deployment series with a discussion on accessories. They left the discussion of cases to show 67. Both Fraser and Bradley are down on screen protectors because they change the “feel” of the device, but they don’t protect it from falls.

Keyboards are the next item. Fraser talks about horror stories of hearing about classrooms of 30 with bluetooth keyboards. Bradley mentions that bluetooth operates on 2.4 ghz, so it can create WiFi interference. Fraser mentions that certain classes/exams can make good use of a keyboard and that Logitech makes a wired option. Bradley mentions that he is down on keyboard cases because there is no reason to carry it 100% of the time when it is probably used 5% of the time.

Styli are next. Fraser brings up the fact that iOS needs to begin to build in support for these products. Some of the more advanced models are using bluetooth, so it requires charging and pairing. Bradley says that if you have 2 styli, then you blew it (a reference to Steve Jobs saying if you see a stylus then they blew it). Bradley mentions that he’s heard math teachers would love a fine tipped stylus.

Fraser closes out the section with a reminder that screen wipes are essential for your deployment and it is something that most people forget about. Especially when it comes to flu season, you want to keep the devices clean.

They then move onto app selection. Fraser mentions that a lot of teachers go through the “app, app, app” craze and want to try everything. He said to think about apps not as book replacements but as tool replacements. What apps are core to just about any deployment?

  • iWork
  • iLife
  • iBooks
  • iTunes U
  • Explain Everything
  • Google Drive/Dropbox/OneDrive (a near-line file system)
  • PDF annotator (We like PDF Expert)

    Fraser mentions that specific subjects will always have unique needs, but that shouldn’t be the rule. He also mentions that it is wise for schools to decide on core app suite so students don’t end up with a different note taking app for every teacher.

    Both Bradley and Fraser have simple methods for teachers request apps (email). A lot of people think teachers will go nuts and spend a ton of money, but that isn’t what either have experienced. It also seems that as students get older, they need fewer and fewer apps.

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