Saturday, December 20, 2014

Useful tablet tech gift ideas

As the holidays bear down upon us, here are some ideas for last-minute gifts you might get your favorite tablet teacher.


My iPad came (thanks to Fresno State) with a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio which I really enjoy having. It is a case to protect the iPad that also has an integrated Bluetooth keyboard. The folio acts as a stand for the iPad as well. The key layout takes a little getting used to; the thing I miss most on this compact keyboard is a tab key that doesn't require using a modifier key as well.
The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio

I opted for the Adonit Jot Script because of its ability to perform wrist rejection in certain apps (i.e. Penultimate). Although this stylus is expensive, the built-in Bluetooth connectivity is what allows tablet apps to know whether it is the tip of the stylus contacting the touchscreen (when you want the screen to respond) or your wrist, just resting on the touchscreen. The main drawback I've found about the Jot is that its hard tip makes a very subtle *tap* sound when it contacts a touchscreen - this isn't surprising. However, any hard-tipped stylus will cause issues if you're using an app like ExplainEverything to make a recording - you'll hear in the recording all of the *tap* *tap* *tap* as you draw, write, navigate using a stylus. So, I don't use my stylus when I record movies or when I present in-class, but I still use it (and it is essential, especially given my "stout" fingers) for any sort of drawing application.


For untethered presentation (e.g. walking around a classroom with your tablet), I really like the MaxCases educator case, which clips onto the back of a tablet and has an elastic strap that fits around the hand. The case also rotates around the clip, so that it is easy to change the orientation (portrait or landscape) of the tablet as you're holding it. There is also a built-in loop for holding a stylus. I use this case every day in class. If you've tried holding onto a tablet for an entire class period and had extreme hand fatigue, or if you've accidentally pressed various parts of the touchscreen while using your tablet, you'll love this case.

When I'm not using my iPad, it lives in a Cocoon Innovations iPad Sleeve. This extremely handy padded tote has a fleece-lined pocket for cradling your tablet; it is just (barely) large enough to accommodate the iPad while it is attached to the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio. What is most unique and useful about this product is its sole other feature: a pocket for holding your tablet backup kit! With myriad elastic loops of all sizes (Cocoon's big contribution to luggage organization), everything I carry "just-in-case" always has a place to live.

Cocoon's iPad Sleeve
Some of these extra items that the iPad Sleeve holds will also make good stocking stuffers for your favorite educator!

  • iPad-VGA adapter (or iPad-HDMI adapter, depending on your classroom set-up)
  • LASER pointer (splurge and get a green one - they're much more effective than red)
  • Stylus
  • iPad charging cord
  • Keyboard Folio charging cord
  • Apple Remote
  • Spare batteries for LASER pointer
Happy shopping!

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