Is your district deciding what extras to buy for its iPads? Here are few nifty gadgets that can enhance the use of the iPad and keep it safe and user-friendly.
The Gripstand is a great item for protecting your iPad as it sits in a protective shell with a shock-absorbing inner rubber liner. The circular handle can be used to hold your iPad. Best of all, the Gripstand allows you to stand your iPad up, providing an eye level gaze when working on your iPad. If you have a Bluetooth keyboard such as the Apple Wireless Keyboard $69.99, you can create a great workstation. This is particularly important for students who are hypotonic (lacking normal tone or tension). It would also be helpful for students with visual impairments and cerebral palsy. The Gripbase enhances the Gripstand as it allows you to move the iPad adjustable viewing angles in landscape or portrait modes, along with 360° rotation. The wide, weighted design ensures the GripBase will remain stationary on a desk even in high traffic. This is especially nice if you are in a class with limited iPads. It would allow students to work in a group, adjusting the view as needed. It also aligns with Anchor Standard CCR Speaking and Listening K-5.
Kidzgear wired headphones $29.99- These headphones, designed for kids to use with all OS devices, offer volume control and adjustment based on the size of the student’s head. Headphones are a must in an iPad class as they reduce distractibility. They are lightweight, which makes them a good addition for students who have sensory integration disorder.
iKeyboard $35 (education discounts offered for orders of 60 or more) - This is an extremely clever keyboard. No batteries, no wires, no charging, no Bluetooth! This plastic black plastic keyboard fits onto your virtual keyboard. The letters are slightly raised to give you the feel of a keyboard. When you're not using it, leave it anywhere on the screen. No recharging- powered by trilithium crystals. This is a great addition to students with special needs who have difficulty with the touch screen, since the separation of the keys prevents the students from making typos. This is half the price of a Bluetooth keyboard and does not need to charge. A great addition to back to school hardware! The company offers education discounts for orders of 60 or more.
iBallz Original - $24.95- Imagine this: four shock absorbing balls and a toggle string. Now take each ball, slide the end of your iPad into the slit of the ball and pull your toggle string tight -- voila, you have a shock absorbing “case” that does not touch the table in case you spill a drink. One ball can be moved to give you a slant position, making it easier to type. Now you can easily reach your sound button, your headphone jack and use your camera. If you need to travel, iBallz has developed The Lid-$29.95 -it has cushioned sleeves that wrap around your iPad and stays attached while in use. You can even fold it back and hold it like a glove- great for teachers who want to walk around the room and show students the iPad with fear of dropping it. The front cover of the lid has a storage pocket and a business card (or student ID card) holder. Great overall concept, with the protection teachers are looking for.
Vicki Windman is a special education teacher at Clarkstown High School South