Do you need to do lots of typing?
Remember classes at the college last for around 50 minutes. In the typical class there will be several activities occurring during that 50 minutes. Typically the year 7 -10 student will be typing only part of the lesson for stints of around 10 minutes. They will need to listen to the teachers directions and explanation, read articles provided or accessed on the iPad, participate in discussions. It is extremely rare for extended periods dedicated to direct typing. Even during the drafting of essays students will access notes and other items to structure the contents. Below is an example of typing on an iPad.
The Griffin Survivor Slim Case
All student’s iPads are provided with a “Griffin Survivor Slim” protective case these are very protective cases that will help the iPad survive the daily life at the College. It is expected that students keep the iPad in this case at all times. This case provides great protection but the best protection is always to look after your property and be careful. This case allows for the iPad to be positioned in a low angle great for on screen typing and a high angle preferred for viewing texts or media.
These images are from the Griffin Product page
Adding a Keyboard
There are 3 main types of keyboard that you can use. Finding the keyboard that suits you and the way you work best, is a personal choice and may take some testing or reading reviews to find what suits you. While one keyboard may give a better feel it may not suit the style you use your iPad.
Type 1 – Bluetooth Keyboard
Bluetooth is a special type of wireless that works by pairing the two devices. Designed to be used by devices very close to each other typically for things like mice, speakers, headphones and of course keyboards. These require no special connectors you just set a trust relationship called ‘pairing’ so they will always connect together automatically. Bluetooth keyboards require battery power and may need to be recharged or require battery replacement. Typically these can go many months before recharge is needed. These keyboards can be small and light to be carried by the students in case they want to use them in class or may be a large full size keyboard that will sit in the student’s study area at home ready for these long sessions of writing essays.
Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard
This is an example of a compact style Bluetooth keyboard that receives very good reviews. It is available in Perth stores between $58 at OfficeWorks and $69 at Jb-HiFi these prices were correct at 5-12-16.
Cheaper Bluetooth Keyboards
Here, a sample of cheaper bluetooth keyboards available on eBay are shown. As with all things a cheaper price may mean the build quality is not as good and the experience of using the keyboard may not be as you like it. These may be fantastic and it could be a good way of having students assess what their needs are. As we get students using some keyboards we will be asking for reviews and opinions from them but keyboard choice can be personal.
Type 2 – Wired Keyboards
These keyboards have a cable and plug into the iPad directly, they require no pairing or battery power. The iPad has a lightning connector so you need a keyboard that has one of these type of connectors.
This method offers a full sized Keyboard that can sit on the desk at home in the students study area for those long typing session when essays or reports are due.
Another option for use at home is the USB camera connect kit. This connector is made to connect cameras and other devices such as midi(Music) devices. It also works with USB keyboards. From $8 keyboards to expensive ones, it also allows the charger to connect at the same time. It cannot be used to read USB flash drives.
Using this, the iPad can be stood up using the kick stand of the protective case, plugged into power to charge the device ready for the next day and use the keyboard for any long written tasks.
These examples are not exhaustive but just provide some ideas to start thinking. There are many websites dedicated to testing and reviewing devices and attachments and I recommend looking at a few before making a choice. At Servite we will be always trying some different choices and can make these available on request to students for testing purposes as short term loans from the library.
Type 3 – Keyboard Cases
These are the most common type of keyboard used by iPad users, however they are also the most removed and discarded by people. Often students and other users find they make the iPad too cumbersome to use and do not offer the level of protection needed. These tend to be expensive and often people find they are not used that often. If buying one of these ask a few questions. 1. How often in the day does the user sit and do longer than 10 minutes of continuous typing? 2. Is there enough protection in the case if the iPad gets dropped? 3. is the cost too high for the few times a week it may be used?
This image show 3 examples that all rate as very good keyboard cases. The Clamcase+ Power for iPad Air 2 middle right this is being tested by the College now. It offers good protection (not as good as the supplied survivor case), is a very nice keyboard to use, however makes the iPad hard to use as a tablet in the hand, but works very nice on the desk or users lap. The other three, Logitech Type+ Protective Case (top right), BrydgeAir Bluetooth Keyboard iPad Air (top Left) and also the Zagg Rugged Book have received good reviews but not tested by anyone at Servite College.
The video below is from an iPad Keyboard Review article on theverge.com