Thursday, January 23, 2014

iPad Tip: Lock the screen to a single app

Restricting an iPad to one app can be very useful in a classroom environment where you want to make sure students stay on task. With so many cool and useful apps, it can be easy for students to tap from one app to another. In addition, sometimes students accidentally quit an app by pushing the Home button with their thumb when holding the iPad in landscape mode.

Thankfully Apple has built in a very useful feature that allows you, the teacher, to lock the iPad so students cannot close out of the app that you want them to spend time in. This feature is called Guided Access, and it's very easy to setup and use.

To set it up you need to first go into Settings. In the General section select Accessiblity.
In the General settings select Accessibility.

Once in Accessibility tap on Guided Access.

Once in Guided Acces you'll need to slide the switch to turn it on. Tap Set Passcode and enter a 4 digit number. This is the passcode you'll use every time you  start Guided Access and exit out of it. Obviously you wouldn't share this Passcode with your students.
Be sure to set a passcode!
Now you're ready to use Guided Access! Open the app you want your students to use. Triple tap the Home button really fast. Controls for Guided Access will appear. Guided Access always disables the Home button, but the Volume or Sleep buttons are also disabled by default. If you want students to have access to them, then tap Hardware Button and change the slider for those options. The slider in the on position means the student can use that feature.
Select what options students can use

Tap Start in the upper right corner and you will be prompted to enter your Passcode. Students are now locked into that app. If they try to quit the app by using the Home button it simply will not work.

To exit out of Guided Access mode, triple tap the Home Button really fast. You will be prompted to enter the Passcode. You will be brought to the Guided Access controls screen where you can either tap End to exit Guided Access or Resume to go back into that app in Guided Access mode.
Passcode keeps students from exiting Guided Access

Guided Access has one draw back. If you are in an app that needs access to another app, you won't be able to use that feature. For example, Book Creator allows you to export your books to Dropbox. When it does that it launches Dropbox so you can choose what folder to export to. However, Guided Access prevents Dropbox from launching.

Even with this one drawback, Guided Access can be a very useful tool for making sure students stay on task!

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