Tag Archives: Tech Geek

Improving Battery Life in iOS 7

Maybe you're in the same boat I am.

I updated to iOS 7, and even bought a new iPad Air, and I'm just not seeing the battery last the way it used to.

So I've been looking for ways to improve my battery life. I thought I would share some of them here, since friends and colleages have mentioned being frustrated with battery life, too. So, here's what I'm doing to extend my battery life (these should work on most any iOS deviceusing iOS 7).

The ones I was aware I should be doing:

  • Shut off Bluetooth, cellular, or wifi when you don't need them (especially shut off cellular when traveling through rural areas where the phone may be constantly searching for a signal or a carrier and you arent likely to have a connection, or get a call anyway)
  • Only allow the apps you REALLY want using location services access to location services (things like maps, Find my iPhone, Find my Friends, or IMDB – so it can find theaters near you for movie times!)
  • Only allow the apps you REALLY want sending you notifications to send notifications

The ones that were new to me (and I was glad to learn about!):

  • Reduce 3D motion (Paralax and moving backgrounds)
  • Turn off Frequent Locations and location based ads
  • Reduce the number of places Spotlight will search
  • Turn off Background App Refresh (most apps become dormant when you aren't using them, but this feature lets them keep working in the background)
  • Turn off AirDrop when you aren't using it

The articles I found also recommended shutting off Siri and Background App Updating, but frankly, I like those features too much to shut them off!

I found these articles especially helpful (and they will tell you how to do the things I did, as well as some others):

What other strategies do you use to extend your battery life?


Confirmed: iPads Extend a Teacher’s Impact on Kindergarten Literacy

I’m excited! I’m REALLY excited!

Our “Phase I” research results are in…

iPads in Kindergarten

We (Auburn School Department) took a big risk last May when we started down the path to have the first 1to1 kindergarten learning with iPads initiative. We had confidence it would help us improve our literacy and math proficiency rates. One of our literacy specialists had used her own iPad with students to great success (one of the big reasons we moved forward). But there were also segments of the community that thought we were crazy.

Now we have pretty good evidence it works!

We did something not a lot of districts do: a randomized control trial. We randomly selected half our kindergarten classrooms to get iPads in September. The other half would use traditional methods until December, when they received their iPads. We used our regular kindergarten literacy screening tools (CPAA, Rigby, Observation Survey) for the pre-test and post-test. And across the board, the results were emerging positive for the iPad classrooms, with one area having statistical significance.

These results are a strong indication that the iPad and it’s apps extend the impact our teachers have on our students’ literacy development. We definitely need more research (and will be continuing the study through the year, including comparing this year’s results to past years), but these results should be more than enough evidence to address the community’s question, “How do we know this works?”

And I’m especially excited that we went all the way to the Gold Standard for education research: randomized control trials. That’s the level of research that can open doors to funding and to policy support.

Why do we think we got these results?

We asked our kindergarten teachers that question. Anyone walking by one of the classrooms can certainly see that student engagement and motivation is up when using the iPads. But our kindergarten teachers teased it out further. Because they are engaged, students are practicing longer. They are getting immediate feedback, so they are practicing better. Because we correlate our apps to our curriculum, they are practicing the right stuff. Because we select apps that won’t let students do things just any way, we know the students are practicing the right way. Because they are engaged, teachers are more free to work one on one with the students who need extra support at that moment.

We also believe we got the results we got because we have viewed this as an initiative with many moving parts that we are addressing systemically. A reporter asked me, how do you know how much of these results are the iPad, how much the professional development, and how much the apps. I responded that it is all those things together, on purpose. We are using a systemic approach that recognizes our success is dependent on, among other things, the technology, choosing apps wisely, training and supporting teachers in a breadth of literacy strategies (including applying the iPad), partnering with people and organizations that have expertise and resources they can share with us, and finding data where we can so we can focus on continuous improvement.

And we’re moving forward – with our research, with getting better at math and literacy development in kindergarten, with figuring out how to move this to the first grade.

So. We have what we were looking for:

Confirmation that our vision works.

It’s Your Turn:

What do you think the implications of our research are? What do our findings mean to you?

Writing Without Touching the Keys

I just posted about testifying to the Education Committee on a bill that I hope passes. But there is another part of this story…

I do a lot of public speaking and usually just work off an outline (I love having a Keynote or PowerPoint when I present because it’s my outline). I never write out what I’m going to say in it’s entirety.

But I got an email just a couple hours before I was leaving to head to Augusta. “Please bring 20 copies of your testimony,” it said.

20 copies…? It occurred to me that maybe I should write it out…

But writing can take a TON of time…

But I had this app that had sat on my iPhone and iPad forever, and some folks said it was cool, but I don’t think I’d ever used it before.

I just didn’t know how cool it was.

So, I fired up Dragon Dictation on my iPhone and started talking my testimony. And there it showed up as text!

It wasn’t perfect… And I need to to get better at using the commands that add punctuation and line breaks…


I ended up with the most amazing first draft in just a couple minutes!!!

I do a fair amount of writing and it is clear that Dragon Dictation will be a great way for me to pound out drafts! (Although I have to admit that I did write this one using the keyboard…)

And now that I have a long commute each day, I’m anxious to see how Dragon Dictation might work in my car (a little worried about the background noise of studded snow tires – but those won’t be on much longer this season – I hope!).

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad