Apple iOS 11 impact on e-learning

Apple iOS 11 is the successor to iOS 10, launched on Tuesday 19th September, how will it affect us?

As with each new release of iOS there are interface changes, but I am more interested in anything that might impact on Moodle use, or the way we use Moodle as Teachers and course designers.

I use an iPad Pro quite a lot these days, but often limited to using Notes, Mail, and of course browsing and using the Moodle Mobile App.  The new persistent Dock and App Switcher for the iPad certainly makes it easier to multitask between applications – if you are like me you are constantly switching between Moodle, other websites, email, Notes, Facebook, and other apps – so anything that makes this feel like working on my more powerful laptop is good !

Perhaps the biggest changes are the ability to drag and drop more easily, and the files manager.  Although facilitating a course on Moodle with mobile devices is OK (I often respond to forum posts using my iPhone) actually creating content has always felt difficult using an iPad (forget the smartphone for this!), and I do 99% of course creation using a laptop or desktop.

But iOS 11 brings some extremely good new keyboard features, like a one-handed keyboard on the iPhone – excellent for when I’m also entertaining my two or four year old daughters at the same time as posting a forum reply!  And the ‘Flick’ option for typing numbers and symbols more quickly on the iPad feels handy too.

Drag and Drop means I can now drag content like images and links from one app and drop it in another – so this makes building course in Moodle easier, or even just adding items to from responses.

The new Finder-style Files app is for managing files. Files lists all files stored locally, in iCloud Drive, in apps, and in third-party cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive. I know many teachers use Google Drive for their documents and fees, I tend to use Dropbox.  But whatever you use, being able to get to these files so quickly is going to make ‘Moodle life’ so much easier on the iPad 🙂

My only slight disappointment in Notes. I switched from using Evernote to Apple Notes last year.  There were a couple of features I missed, but decided I could live without (just) in exchange for the benefits of having my Apple Notes available of my desktop (MacMini), Laptops (MacBook Pro and Air), tablet (iPad Pro), and phone (iPhone).  The Notes app now includes searchable handwriting (one of the tings I really missed from Evernote) and document scanning.  But I still miss the ability to link between Notes (can’t be that difficult surely Apple?) and I had hoped that handwritten content could be converted to text – that would make writing content for Moodle courses great – then I could just drag-and-drop my handwritten text to Moodle resources.

If Apple are able to make the text in a handwritten Note searchable, then it must be converted to actual text somewhere right ?  So why not copy and paste ?

We’re never happy eh ?  😉

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Stuart Mealor

Stuart is interested in all things e-learning, with specific interests in Moodle, e-learning strategy, and business development. His experience in education over 30 years, MBA in International Business, and knowledge of e-learning systems implementation, together with graphic design background, give him a unique skill set for e-learning projects.

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