Category Archives: Essentials

Essential iPad & tech skills

Meet, LMS, Mail, Drive without your iPad apps

Even if your iPad apps are “dark” or missing – or your iPad is broken – you can still access the LMS, use Google Meet, access Google Drive, and even check your email by using a web browser [Safari, Chrome, or Firefox, for example].

See the source image

To access Powerschool LMS, surf to this site:

See the source image

To join a Google Meet without the iPad app, surf to this site:

To check your email without an app, surf to

See the source image

The open up Google Drive, surf to

iPads and Styluses

One of the attractions of using the iPads is the ability to handwrite on the screen. This is especially useful in Notability [which can convert your handwriting into text, unless you are the MDS Tech Director with exceptionally abysmal handwriting. Your mileage may vary.]

See,to%20copy%20the%20text%20to%20your%20Mac%27s%20clipboard. for details on how to do that.

As of Fall 2020 iPads for the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades can use the Apple Pencil, Logitech Crayon, or other styluses. 12th grade iPads and Middle School iPads can use other styluses – there is a rough list below looking at some of the options.

Please note that styli are NOT provided by the school.

The Apple Pencil
Logitech Crayon

There are a few general categories of styluses available:

  • Apple Pencil – More expensive, but works VERY well.
  • Logitech Crayon – less expensive than the Apple Pencil. Has some different features that make it an intriguing choice.
  • Bluetooth attached – these require a pairing process, which usually works quite well. The quality level can vary a lot, as does the price.
  • “Capacitive” styluses – these work on all the iPads on campus, but there is a great variety in pricing and quality. Generally these have a “smushy rubbery” tip, though some have a “harder” tip.
    Some people love them, others can’t stand them.
  • There are also some with a small round disc at the end of the stylus.
  • You will see references to “active” styli – generally that means there are some electronics involved [bluetooth] and charging a battery.
A quick web search for “iPad Stylus” gives many options and prices.

Some general advice:

  • There is a wide variant on what is acceptable to the person using the stylus.
  • If you [or your student] is prone to lose things, but really wants or needs a stylus, the best advice is to use a cheaper one.
  • The Apple Pencil is arguably the superior choice, especially is using it for long stretches of time – but at $100 or more losing it is quite painful.
  • The Logitech Crayon, which is in the $60 range, is less painful if lost. It also works very well, and has some advantages over the Apple Pencil [for example, the shape means in will not roll off the desk.}

iPad Tips and Tricks

Gestures, Split View, and More make the iPad even more useful.

Most of this information covers IOS 13 – so if you have not updated, GET IT DONE tonight at home. Some of it also applies to IOS 12 and 11, which is as far as some of the older iPads on campus can go. In any case, give these features a try – they just might work!


Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, roughly an inch. The dock will appear – and then you can switch apps. You can also drag app icons to either side of the screen to split your screen and use 2 apps at a time.


Swipe down from either the Center top to quickly access your Notifications. A suggestion from MDS Tech: fewer notifications are better than having more. YOU have control over what you get – check in the Settings App.

Control Center

Swipe down from the Top right corner to see the Control Center. That’s a good way to check wifi settings [is wifi REALLY on?], change your screen brightness, change volume. pause and start playback, and the like.

By the way – you can customize Control Center to show exactly what YOU want. See settings –> Control Center and pick what settings you’d like to have, and even what order you want them in.

Today View

Swipe from the left to the right as if switching screens. When you get all the way to the left and swipe once more, you’ll see the Today View. YOu cna load several widgets into that view.

You can customize what widgets are on the today view by clicking on the Edit button at the the bottom of Today View.

Quickly get back to the desktop

When you have an app running, you can quickly get back to the desktop by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

App Switcher

The App Switcher is the equivalent of Alt-Tab on Windows or Command-Tab on Macs. On those operating systems you get a list of icons or windows showing you all of the open apps running at that moment.

On IOS, swipe up from the bottom of the screen AND THEN HOLD YOUR FINGER for a second. You might have to swipe left or right – but you’ll see windows with every running app.

You can also force-close apps by swiping up on the app window. This even works when swiping several at the same time.


There are details on

  • using Slide Over,
  • Moving and changing screensize of your apps,
  • switching between apps,
  • getting rid of a Slide Over window,
  • and using Split view

in the CNET article. It’s worth a look!