5 Simple Ways to Improve your Digital Skills

  1. Classroom Photography – Switch the camera grid on. Do this by going to Settings > Camera > Grid. This will enable you and your students to take better photographs.Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 17.45.36Within the camera app, the grid splits (with very fine lines) the screen into nine spaces enabling learners to think about composition, the rule of thirds, positive and negative space and hot spots. 

    Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 17.44.18
    Apple’s mark up tools help here to emphasise 

  2. Classroom Video – plan a narrative structure even for a short 20 secs piece, an introduction, the core activity and the recap/resolution and vary the shot type appropriately.  Use Keynote to storyboard. Often, taking still photographs of the sequence will help get a sense of how the final project will look.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 14.11.52
    Creating and sharing a storyboard template can save time and Keynote picture holders enable the quick import of the photos

    You can download a copy here!

    3. Classroom Audio – is one of the most difficult things to manage. Using headphones will reduce the amount of noise in the room, cheap headphone  splitters enable children to work in pairs. 

    Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 14.12.59
    These things are as cheap as chips but not as tasty.

    Working with one headphone in place and the other not in/on the ear enables the class to collaborate and hear your instructions whilst still hearing their own recordings.  For really polished and professional sound recordings in Garageband, you can use automation to fade up and down the levels.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 14.14.18
    Here the music volume level ducks down slightly when the presenter speaks.

  3. Use Split screen to be more productive. If you are lucky enough to have a newish 2017/18 iPad, you can have two apps open side by side and drag and drop content from one to the other.

    Here’s how to open two apps. In this instance we are using Safari and we want to open Keynote at the same time. So we swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the Dock. Rather tapping on the app, we hold it and drag to the right or left of the screen. This keeps both apps open and active on screen.

    split screen.GIFHaving two apps open and dragging and dropping content, eg. Text and images from Safari to a Pages or Keynote document is a how we used to work on computers!


If you really want to show off, you can add a third app in slide over mode, although personally I find this a bit clunky!

4. Manage text like a Pro.  One of the biggest frustrations for teachers on iPads is handling text. Learning a couple of basic functions sets you up.

  • A long hold on a word brings up the loupe (magnifier) for fixing typos
  • double tap a word to highlight it (you can use the pins to highlight more words)
  • double tap the word with two fingers and this will highlight the whole sentence
  • triple tap the sentence with two fingers will highlight the whole paragraph
  • use a two finger long hold on the keyboard to switch to “trackpad mode” (see below). 


Enable Trackpad mode by holding the keyboard with two fingers.

The iPad keyboard can be used like a track pad to navigate through sustained pieces of text that you are working on. Apply two fingers to the keyboard and it swap to trackpad mode. Now you can navigate the cursor through your text with both fingers a mouse through sustained  pieces of text. 

5. Use the Notes app as a scanner – we all need to use less paper especially when the children are all using digital devices. In your Notes app you can now scan documents and save them as PDF’s. You can Airdrop them to the class, where they can hand them into Showbie or Seesaw.


I hope some of these tips and ways of working help you at the beginning of a new academic year.

About Digital Roadtrip

Apple ADE 2007 and Apple Trainer/Mentor

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