Friday, November 7, 2014

Using Guided Access to Keep Kids on Track

iPads can be a powerful tool for exploration and collaboration in the classroom but for some students it can be too much temptation to play with the camera, change background picture, rename the iPad "I eat dinosaurs" (true story), etc..  Although we don't want to lock students out from using technology, when you have a lesson that only requires students to use one app, eliminating temptation for students can be helpful.  A really cool trick to get this done with is called guided access.  It locks the iPad into the active app that is being used and doesn't allowing switching out of that app without a pin code.  It does take time to setup with every iPad in your class, but the time it takes can pay huge dividends in student focus.  Obviously this is not useful if you are having kids do research and type their notes in another app.

To setup guided access go to Settings, General, Accessibility, and then Guide Access.  Click on the toggle to turn it on, enter passcode settings, and finally toggle the accessibility shortcut.  This allows you to simply triple click to start and end a guided access session. This can be a minor irritation later when students accidentally triple click but it is a quick pin entry to end guided access.

To start a guided access session simply open the app you want students to use, triple click the home button and choose start.  You might want to click on the Hardware Buttons - Options button to allow use of the sleep button and volume buttons so that kids can put the iPads to sleep and control the volume if they are watching a video.  Students will not be able to leave that app without the pin entered.  Guided access does not stop students from going to different websites if they are in Safari, it only locks them into the app it is enabled with.  If you triple click with just the home screen showing nothing will happen.  You have to go into the app first and then triple click.  Hope this helps.  Happy Teaching.