iPad Pro IPP 12.9 for teachers?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by kis, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. kis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #1
    I've had a 12" MacBook for about half a year and am seriously considering replacing it with a 12.9" IPP. The MacBook has been just 'ok' for me. I don't care much about the keyboard (it's pretty loud for a classroom environment, for example, and the lack of travel makes it exhausting to type on for me) and I've had persistent WiFi issues with it - doesn't seem to play well with distributed WiFi setups.

    My main uses:

    - using Google Docs and (if I can't avoid it) MS Office. I mainly do word processing, creating classroom materials with tables, lots of graphics, writing lesson plans (elaborate tables but no graphics), minimal use of Excel. Other than that, most of our school tools are in a browser, so there it doesn't matter much what I use to work.

    - in the classroom, I mainly need to show students stuff if I need to look up something on the Internet, I need to be able to quickly see my lesson plan, take notes etc.

    My thoughts so far:

    - in terms of productivity, I should be able to get away with it. One thing that really bugs me about the MacBook is that I have to enter the password every time I have to unlock it. I need to keep autolock enabled on it because, well, it's a classroom and there's student info, tests etc on that laptop. The fingerprint reader would be a godsend.

    - I'm just worried that when I go abroad (I'm a language teacher and I spend about a month per year abroad with classes), the IPP may not be enough as a primary device. At home, I have an additional 15" rMBP, so when I need to do serious work, I'll do it on that, but it's too heavy and bulky to carry on a plane.

    This iPad will not be used in the traditional iPad manner (media consumption etc). I have an iPad Air 2 at home and basically never use it.

    I've considered a Surface Pro 4, but I'm reluctant to move to Windows 10 - from experience, it's always been a buggy, unpolished experience, although I know that the SP4 would probably be the safer choice for me in terms of being able to handle everything that may pop up.

    So what's your honest opinion on this?
     
  2. jeremiah256 macrumors 6502a

    jeremiah256

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #2
    Honest opinion, don't buy the 12.9" iPad Pro until you've tested your new workflow on your excellent iPad Air 2. With the Air 2, you can already:
    - Use with Google Docs
    - Access your lesson notes if they are saved in the cloud
    - Unlock using your fingerprint
    - Attach a Bluetooth keyboard and test it out as if you were overseas

    Once you're confident you can do what you need to do, buy the iPad Pro 12.9" which, seems to be getting more deals everyday, so no harm in waiting.
     
  3. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #3
    I agree with the above poster's suggestion to test your workflow on the Air2. Air2 does everything the 12.9 iPP does, other than Pencil support. Yes, productivity tasks are significantly easier on the 12.9 because of the larger screen, but as far as testing if you'll still need a MacBook to take with you when you travel, you can test on Air2. From your descriptions, it does sound like the iPP would be perfect for you for everyday use, with a MBP for backup, so the only concern would be if you can get by without a MacBook when you travel.
     
  4. kis thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #4
    The main reason why I don't use the iPad Air much is that the screen is way too small for serious work in my case. My eyesight isn't the best anymore and I find it extremely tiring to work on it.

    Also, I wouldn't be able to keep the Macbook if I bought an iPad Pro 12.9" for financial reasons. The iPad is really expensive, so I'd have to sell the Macbook.
     
  5. ccrgt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #5
    I am a teacher and I have used iPads in my classroom many times a day for a few years now. I bought the iPad Pro 12.9" in December along with the Apple Pencil. Best teaching purchase ever! I use my iPad to attach to the smart screen in my classroom and use it to show my students things like YouTube etc. I also use a brilliant app called Explain Everything which is very useful. I use the Apple Pencil to write my lesson plans and to fill in my day book. I have everything saved on Dropbox and I also email documents to myself to access on my iPP. I am using an app called Notes Plus.
    I have tried quite a few of the recommended notes apps like Notability, Good notes etc but have settled with NotesPlus. I have created a diary/day planner book using one of the templates, and am loving its functionality. I have made several folders/notebooks in the Notes Plus app that contain all my admin stuff like student info, records, weekly programs, student marks/results etc. I can export and access my diary on my iMac, I can email any of my diary pages to my teaching colleagues if needed. It has ability to add photos, PDFs, a record function, a lasso tool, automatic saving etc. And NotesPlus works perfectly with my Apple pencil. I am getting used to having a paperless daybook and I am trying to give it a real go in order to simplify my planning. I use my iPP and pencil many times a day in my classroom and having my diary also on my iPad tops it all off. Well worth a look.
    - [ ]
     
  6. jeremiah256 macrumors 6502a

    jeremiah256

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #6
    For vision issues, the iPad Pro 12.9" (4:3 aspect, 12.9 inches, 2732x2048 Retina display at 264ppi) has both a bigger and better screen than a MacBook (16:10 aspect, 12 inches, 2304x1440 Retina display at 226ppi). But, I'd still recommend at least trying a workflow with the iPad Air 2. Reason being, as @Night Spring points out, you want to find out if the apps you want to use to replace your MacBook exist for iOS. At a minimum I'd recommend trying to use your iPad Air 2 as if you were overseas for a few days. If you run into any issues, you can always ask for advice on potential apps that may assist with your requirements. In addition, if you plan on using Google Docs in split screen mode, be advised it hasn't been optimized for the iPad experience yet: http://www.imore.com/ipad-pro-google-has-made-itself-second-class-citizen

    As for selling your MacBook, if you decide you're going the iPad Pro 12.9" route, you may need to do this sooner than later to maximize your return on investment. Rumors are, the latest the MacBook is being upgraded is June, with many rumors of it happening this week.
     
  7. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #7
    In that case, I recommend trying the zoom mode on the 12.9 iPad Pro. It blows up the 9.7 screen layout to fill up the 12.9 space. I've found this mode to help incredibly in making things easier to read on the iPad.

    That said, as jeremiah suggests, you should use the Air2 to check that apps are available to do what you want, and that they perform satisfactorily. You don't want to sell your MacBook only to find there is this one thing you need to do that just can't be done on an iPad. You could, of course, buy an iPP from Apple or another retailer with a good return policy and try it out. But either way, in your situation, it's important to make a list of all the tasks you need to do on the iPad, and confirm that you can do them.
     
  8. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #8
    I am a teacher using my ipad in the classroom. Usually, my worksheets and other material are PDFs stored in Notability. I have dropbox synced to Documents. I also have other apps such as Showme (whiteboard replacement), Scanner Pro, Google Drive, Office suite etc, but the majority of my teaching is done with me annotating on PDF documents in Notability or PDF expert using the Apple Pencil.

    My personal advice is to continue using the Macbook for your administrative tasks like typing lesson plans and preparing teaching material. The ipad would be there for you to use in the classroom to deliver your lesson, but you will likely still need / want your laptop to prepare the resources to load onto your ipad.

    I feel Google Docs is still best run in a desktop browser (AKA your laptop), all the more if you want to use it in tandem with services such as Google Classroom.

    The ipad is a bad choice if you want to quickly refer to notes without also showing them to the students, since there is no option to use the class IWB as a secondary display instead of just mirroring whatever is on your laptop screen.

    It sounds that you might want to try out the Surface Pro 4 instead. I have actually heard plenty of nice things about it, and assuming you are using mostly browser stuff and Office, it should be quite a decent laptop / tablet hybrid experience.
     
  9. kis thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #9
    Thank you for that reply, that helps me a lot. I never intended to have the IPP as my only computer. I have a 15" Macbook Pro at home, on which I do the brunt of my work. On the go, I need to be able to do some preparation, though, which also involves the creation of classroom materials. I've pretty much ruled out the SP4 - played with it in a shop this morning and find the OS to be completely uninspiring
     
  10. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #10
    What sort of classroom resources are we looking at? Worksheets? PowerPoint / keynote slides? Screencasts?

    Simple keynote presentations are still doable. Screencasts should be easier now with the Apple Pencil. Post your needs here and let's see if we can work something out.
     
  11. Cptnodegard macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    #11
    I'm an EFL teacher and I use the 12.9" Pro as my primary work tool. Kinda.

    My setup is basically this:
    Home: Windows desktop PC w/24"+27" monitors
    Office: Work laptop with Windows 10 Enterprise
    Bag that I carry around: iPad Pro, Apple pencil, Apple keyboard, Swiftpoint GT mouse, VGA and HDMI adapters, media/presenter remote, Apple TV set up for direct WiFi Airplay mirroring, and lightning+USB flash drive.

    I make most teaching material on my home computer. I tend to make it in Word, save as PDF, and shove that in Dropbox for syncing to iPad. Students get PDFs or printouts (their PCs are so bad that paper is sometimes necessary), I annotate PDFs, I convert hand-ins to PDF and correct them digitally, etc. PDF is life.

    I also use a lot of iOS apps. Browser for things like Kahoot or Quizlet, dictionaries as apps, Explain Everything, Powerpoint, Sketchparty, Google Maps, video player, YouTube, etc. Fingerprint reader is indeed amazing, and so is guided access - allowing me to lock the device into e.g. video player and leave classroom for a talk with a student without worrying.

    BUT I also spend a lot of time in Jump Desktop, remote controlling either my work PC or home computer. Work PC can print to our network printers and generally Windows 10 over RDP works better than Windows 8 over Fluid (which is what my home computer is), but my home computer is also faster. Much faster. Swiftpoint GT mouse works on either, so I basically use the iPad Pro as a gateway into either computer and with mouse and keyboard whenever I need to. I rarely do creation that way, but things that require desktop software for other reasons - even if it's just having the UI of a website look identical to the students' when I show them how something works.

    During lessons I normally use the Apple TV as a connection to the projector and then use the freeze option on the projector remote to control what students see. With the iPad being wireless I sometimes walk around class, show things from the middle of the room, or even do something like hand a student the iPad with Google Maps to show where location X is (or similar). You'd be surprised what wireless projection does to your classroom management and interaction abilities.

    Carrying around a laptop or using the iPad without remote computers both sound hellish to me. Neither is perfect, but the iPad can control powerful desktop PC hardware remotely over 4G with such efficiency that I essentially have two Windows PCs as apps on my iPad.
     
  12. kis thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #12
    I also teach English as a foreign language - nice to meet you!

    I work for a large public school in Switzerland. As such, my influence on the actual classroom environment is very limited. I have to work with what the school offers me. We don't have our own workplaces but have to use whatever computer is free at the time. We can't install anything on our work computers, either. We have Windows 8 computers both in the classrooms and in our prep rooms. Unfortunately, there's no real way to centrally store our files, so most teachers use their own laptops and / or iPads in order to stay as productive as possible. I briefly tried taking my USB stick from classroom to classroom (no assigned classrooms, either - I sometimes have 7 different classrooms in as many lessons). The IPP is becoming more and more appealing to me. I did try out some apps that I regularly need on the Air 2 and everything is there, including MS Remote Desktop. The only thing that doesn't seem to work is entering grades in our electronic qualification management tool - I can't seem to scroll in Safari (or any other browser on iOS, they all use the same rendering engine). That said, this doesn't work in Safari for Mac OS, either - but there I can just Firefox. It's a minor issue, though, I can use the stationary desktop in the classroom to do that.
     
  13. spriter macrumors 65816

    spriter

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    #13
    Plenty of good advice about what you'll benefit from as well as the drawbacks. Here's my take...

    My setup is a laptop (Spectre 360) for admin and creation and a 12.9 iPP AirPlaying to the IWB and the Pencil is for marking up PDFs, annotating the screen as you go, etc for delivery.

    Apps like Explain Everything, Showme, Kahoot, Class Dojo and more give lots of variety. Students can model their answer to the class. Use the camera to live view book work or snap a pic and show/annotate it. Lots of possibilities for delivery.

    However, whilst I've planned on it fine for the odd lesson (or parts of a lesson - worksheets, quizzes, etc), I'm not sure I'd want to use it exclusively all the time. Some things are just easier on a laptop and vice versa. I think I'm at the point where both have significant advantages so wouldn't want to be without either. Remote desktop is an option if you're on reliable connections.

    Have you considered the iPP and a more budget laptop as a combination?
     
  14. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #14
    Nice to have such a similar group here! I'm a high school French teacher. I've used an iPad for classroom things for years, and just bought myself the 9.7 iPP. The 12 is just too big to carry around, and I use it for almost everything so I carry it with me everywhere I go.

    I can't get away with an iPad as my only device though. There are too many things we do online these days that are not made to handle tablets - starting with the program our school system uses for grades/attendance/etc. Our school system is the largest in the state, so it's not like I can just ask for a change and get it. I've been promised for two years now that we will be able to enter grades on tablets/phones, but so far we can only do attendance.

    I'm also the tech, Title I, and test coordinator at my school. I can't do any of these things without an actual computer.
     
  15. kis thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #15
    Just been released! I literally sold my Macbook 10 minutes before the annoucement. Put it up for auction a few hours ago and it sold very quickly. Now it's decision time - IPP or SP4. Strongly leaning towards the IPP, but I'll have a close look at both devices again this weekend
     
  16. joeblow7777 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    #16
    I'm a high school chemistry teacher and while I always have my iPad Mini 4 on me during the work day I find that there's not much that I use it for in terms of creating or delivering material. My laptop is compact and light and connects to projectors and wireless printers easily, so it's my productivity device.

    What I do use my iPad for in the classroom is quickly accessing and uploading documents, as all of my teaching resources are on my various cloud storage accounts, and I have pdf versions of various textbooks. It's also useful for checking/grading electronically submitted work, taking down quick notes, looking things up on the fly, or capturing pictures or video if I want to document or show off something that my students are doing.

    I'm not sure how or if the larger screen or Pen support of the Pro would encourage me to use it more in the classroom, but I do like to hear about what others are doing.
     
  17. kis thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #17
    Been spending the afternoon checking out a variety of things on the Air 2. Unfortunately, I've already encountered a few road blocks:

    - Uploading stuff to webmail doesn't work (this is an issue as I mostly access my work e-mail account via webmail) as I don't seem to be able to add attachments through Safari

    - The lack of a file system is a mess. It's hard to keep an overview, and, especially, attachment handling seems to be a nightmare. How do you guys keep your files organized? There are some apps that support iCloud Drive, but MS Word, for example, doesn't seem to be one of them. Office supports Dropbox, which, in turn, isn't supported by Google. Google Drive seems to be supported by pretty much nothing.

    I don't feel bad about having sold the Macbook in some sort of helter-skelter action this afternoon - I wasn't happy with the device and I don't see much improvement in the update that was released today. But I need some sort of solution. Has anyone been using Surface Pro devices? I'm aware this is an Apple-centric forum and people might be unhappy talking about this.

    I'd also be interested in examples of workflows on iPads, and ways to keep organized despite the shortcomings in terms of file handling.
     
  18. Cptnodegard macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    #18
    Do you have any apps with file manager functionality installed, like Dropbox, iCloud drive? It should be able to pick up any of those when clicking to look for files to upload.

    If your school uses Office 365, Outlook (the app) should work. It works quite well and I use it on both iPhone and iPad.

    Using Dropbox to generate links is also an emergency way of sending files.

    I sync Dropbox to a document handling app for most things. Office does Dropbox natively, and Open in... helps you to move files into and out from anywhere, more or less. Never have issues with files on iOS, frankly spend more time browsing 11 million subfolders deep on Windows.

    Google is just pointless. Everything about it is pointless. Trying to get rid of Google services one at a time.

    Tried Surface devices (several gens), own two Windows tablets, and RDP to Windows 10 from iPad pretty much turns it into one. In a nutshell - they're ****. There's something to be said for having the best of both world - and the Surface/wintabs in general are the exact opposite; the worst of both worlds. Crappy battery life, bad hardware, and neither good as computers nor tablets. I can accept certain behavior from my cheap 7" Windows tablet or my iPad remote controlling a Windows computer, but the scary thing is that a Surface is basically the same experience as that.
     
  19. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #19
    Uploading to webmail through Safari should be doable. The files need to be in iCloud, Dropbox, or other supported file sharing apps/services first. What files were you trying to upload, and where were they located?

    I do think emailing files is a weak point of iOS, especially when trying to attach multiple files at once. It can be done, but it's cumbersome, as files have to be attached one by one.

    Why weren't you happy with the MacBook? What problems are you hoping that the iPad Pro or Surface will solve? Hopefully this thread doesn't attract the people who attack anything not Apple, but perhaps you'll find people who are more familiar with the Surface hanging out over here:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/forums/alternatives-to-ios-and-ios-devices.157/
     
  20. kis thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
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    Switzerland
    #20
    Thanks, I'll try the webmail thing again - the file (an Excel file exported from Sharepoint) was on Google Drive.

    I had a few issues with the MacBook - it was pretty slow, even scrolling through a larger Word file was somewhat cumbersome. Then I had WiFi issues I could never really fix. Every time I was connected to a distributed WiFi network (we have a managed Cisco network at work and a few Unifi APs at home), I had to disable and re-enable WiFi whenever the MacBook woke up from sleep in order to restore the network connection. I got the MB exchanged because of it, but it was the same for both. Apart from that, I never really got used to the keyboard and battery life wasn't great for me either, having to worry that it wouldn't make it through a long workday. The latter was probably because of the fact that I worked in MS Office and Excel a lot and that seemed to keep the processor busy all the time. On an MBP this would almost be considered idling, but for an Intel-M processor it's hard work. None of this should be an issue for a IPP or a Surface Pro 4.

    I really don't want to turn this into some sort of religious battle. I have a clear preference for Apple hardware and software, but in the end, I just want a solution that works for me
     
  21. jeremiah256 macrumors 6502a

    jeremiah256

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #21
    I have to agree with @Night Spring. Plus, going from Mac OS X to a Surface device can be a shocking experience if you haven't experienced Windows 10 before. If you are determined to go for a tablet form factor, and iOS is not something that can meet your needs, also look at Android solutions. But, if you are flexible on form factor, the best overall computer out there, in my humble opinion, is still the 13" MBA. It has the power most people require, a slim profile for portability, yet also has a large enough screen to work on for hours. And it can be had at a great price, especially if you go for a refurbished 2015 model.
     
  22. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #22
    You need to have the google drive app installed. Then in Safari, tap the upload file button, tap "more..." and turn on Google drive.
     
  23. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #23
    If you have a file in Sharepoint, you can easily access it from the MS apps right on your iPad.
     
  24. kis thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Aug 10, 2007
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    Switzerland
    #24
    Thanks, I had it installed but not enabled as a data source. Now it works
     
  25. kis thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
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    Switzerland
    #25
    Only if you add the company Office 365 account, which, so far, I've managed to avoid. Our school seems to think that you're available 24-7 as soon as you've joined the 365 / Borg collective
     

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