The big music education news on social media these days is all about the apps that no longer work with iOS 11.  I’m one of the lucky ones with only about 30 apps that no longer work with the new update.  Some teachers are finding that there are even more apps that will no longer work!

What is a teacher to do?

Well, there are a few things.

We can take important lessons learnt from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” to get us through this trying time. (GIF #3 in the article above reminds me a lot of our twins when they were that age.)

The two main lessons, I think, are …

Don’t panic.  And, always carry a towel.

Note to self: add a towel to my travel teaching bag.

Thankfully, there are many, many apps added to the iTunes store each day.  We all have our favourites, but this may be the chance for us to try new apps that we may not have tried before.

Getting complacent in our teaching can extend to our apps as well if we always use the same few.

What iOS 11 Means For Music Educators

Research the app situation

Some apps will be gone forever.  (sniffle)  Whereas others are merely in a holding pattern until the developers are able to get the update completed.

Jennifer, over at Music Educator Resources, has been amazing about reaching out to as many app developers/publishers as possible to find out what is happening to our favourites.  She is keeping a list of apps that are:

  • gone for good
  • in a holding pattern for now as coding gets updated
  • have moved to a new home online

I would highly recommend that you check out both Part 1 & Part 2 of her articles.  Part 1 explains why these apps are no longer being supported & the timeline that was given to change this.  Part 2 has a list of apps in which she has heard back from the developers/publishers regarding their fate.

Plan accordingly

Today is the day my student iPad gets updated to iOS 11.  This ensured my lab assignments for September were not effected by the update.  And for October, we can switch to only apps that work with the update.

Since there is uncertainty with several apps, I will be either move those into another folder on the iPad that is off the main screen of apps or delete them (for now). This keeps the front screen easy for students to navigate & avoids the whole “Ms. Rosemarie!  This app won’t work!” during free choice time.

The new iOS has a different way of getting the purchased apps.  Hiding or deleting the apps & planning ahead ensures I don’t have to worry about figuring that out at an inopportune time … like my kids wanting to say goodnight by telling me about their day (in great detail) while sitting on my lap in my office chair.  Sorry, apps.  The kids win out.  At least until I have spent about 10 minutes listening to the latest level of a video game & then I will be attempting to discreetly figure you out.  My kids will notice.  Immediately.

Keep your lab planning easy:

  • Update AFTER your students have finished the lab assignments for this month.
  • Plan labs a month in advance & use only the apps you KNOW work
  • Get apps that don’t work out of sight.  This could be hiding them in a folder.  Or, just deleting them off the iPad until you are ready to re-install.

Give yourself time

The new iOS has a new look & several new features.  For some inexplicable reason, I thought it was a good idea to update my teaching iPad right before a FaceTime lesson.  (Something I should have known better.)  It’s similar enough of a look that I was fine.  But, the new keyboard design was driving me a bit bonkers.  Thankfully, it was an easy fix … outside of lesson time.

The other thing that I had forgotten about was just how much battery life devices go through while adjusting to a major update to the iOS.  My poor cell phone is getting plugged in multiple times a day as it tries to adjust.  I have a feeling my student iPad is going to be even worse.

Think of what happens when you move an object to a new place in your home.  When my kids began cleaning out the dishwasher, they switched the order of the cutlery drawer.  Not a big deal & certainly not worth spending the time ‘correcting’.  But, it took me months of reaching for the wrong slot to finally get the hang of getting a fork the first time I reached in the drawer.

When you install a major update on your devices, it takes time for the device to get used to the new operating system.

It also takes time for YOU to get used to the new way things have been placed.

Be kind to your devices & you with planning the update process at a time that gives you BOTH to adjust.

If you would like further ideas on how to save your battery life (at least during the adjustment period), read “Improve Battery Life on Your iPhone in iOS 11” over at Gadget Hacks.  I regularly use many of these tips to not only save on battery life, but data usage as well.  My cell phone provider can’t figure out how I am able to keep to the lowest data plan when I am travelling from home to home.  You now know my secret.  Shh!  Don’t tell them!

The bright side of this update

We get to look at new apps for our teaching.  This can add a little extra pep to our teaching & reignite the excitement in our students.

Next week, I will be sharing cool iOS 11 features specifically for music teachers.  Everything from travel teaching to practice aids to videos (& more) will be covered!

And, remember … Don’t panic!  And, always bring a towel.

Have a great weekend!

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