I’ve had a great time the last few weeks working with a whole bunch of great teachers. We’ve discussed state standards, Common Core literacy standards, iPad apps, and important stuff like where can I get the best pulled pork BBQ sandwich. And had big plans to share ideas about iBooks Author, iTunes U, and more iPad stuff between now and Friday.

The eight to 14 inches of snow predicted for today and tomorrow slowed me down a bit.

But it’s provided a nice chance to reflect a bit on my own learning since the start of February. I learned that you can order schools desks and tables with marker board material as the top – allowing kids to write, doodle, collaborate, solve problems, and leave themselves notes with dry erase markers right there where they sit. I learned that there are lots of ways to incorporate reading and writing into social studies instruction. I learned that the best pulled pork sandwich in Horry County is at Little Pigs.

And I learned about something cool called Guided Access on your iPad. Apparently it’s something that’s been around a while. Since the update to iOS 6. Yeah.

Where have I been?

You might already know all about Guided Access but if it’s new for you too, here ya go.

Use Guided Access to:

  • Temporarily restrict the iOS device to a particular app
  • Disable areas of the screen that aren’t relevant to a task, or areas where an accidental gesture might cause a distraction
  • Disable the hardware buttons

So why would you use this? Suppose you’ve got kids who jumping back and forth between apps while they should be focused on doing research. Or there are parts of an app that you want to restrict. Or you have one kid who is going to inappropriate sites but he still needs the iPad to complete an assignment. Guided Access gives you a little bit of control to help kids focus on the task without taking their iPad away completely.

Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. From there you can:

  • Turn Guided Access on or off
  • Set a passcode that controls the use of Guided Access and prevents someone from leaving an active session

Start a Guided Access session

  • Open the app you want to run.
  • Triple-click the Home button.
  • Adjust settings for the session, then click Start.

Adjusting the settings

  • Circle any part of the screen you want to disable.
  • Use the handles to adjust the area. This area will become “grayed” out and unavailable to the user.
  • Turn off Hardware Buttons. This will block clicking the Home Button and MultiFinger Gestures, limiting the user to just the app the user is in.
  • (You can also turn off the Touch feature or keep the screen from rotating but not really sure how useful that might be.)

End a Guided Access session

  • Triple-click the Home button.
  • Enter the Guided Access passcode.