Mr. Kamrowski

"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children." –Sitting Bull

Coffee & iPads 11-14-17

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Coffee and iPads

November 14th, 2017


Good Tuesday morning! Situational Awareness: Starbuck’s Holiday Cups were revealed Wednesday November 1st. I apologize for not alerting you earlier.

I also apologize for not informing you about today’s topic earlier in the Coffee and iPads newsletters. The number one complaint I heard from staff and students about the iPads in years past was the lack of a keyboard. Today, I want to talk all about keyboards: real and virtual.

Alt text

Real Keyboards

It’s a shame that our students all received actual keyboards with their iPads and teachers did not. There is so much to learn from having the same technology experiences as our students. Specifically, students should know about keyboard shortcuts. Please share the following with your students. They will love the fact that they can navigate through the iPad with these quick shortcuts:

  • Command + Tab allows you to switch through apps quickly. Every time you press tab you can switch to the next app. By the way, the same shortcuts work on your MacBook. Give it a try.
  • Command + Space bar allows you to do a system wide search on the iPad/MacBook.
  • Command + Shift + H brings you to the home screen on your iPad/MacBook
  • Hold the Command key down on any apple app and a list of keyboard shortcuts specific to that app will appear on your screen. This works for a lot of apps besides Apple ones too. It does not, however, seem to work on your MacBook.
  • Here is a very extensive list of keyboard shortcuts
  • One more thing for the real keyboards. When students are working on a document in Pages or Google Docs or any writing app, they can hold down shift and use the right or left arrow to highlight text rather than trying to do it with your finger. This has been such a game changer for those with stumpy uncoordinated fingers.

Virtual Keyboards

There are times I prefer the virtual keyboard. Specifically for the functionality it can offer when using trackpad mode.

  • When the virtual keyboard pops up, take two fingers and slide them around on the keyboard. It turns into a very effective trackpad.
  • The keyboard in iOS 11 allows you to flick keys down to enter numbers and symbols rather than switching out the keyboard. See Pic.
  • You can go to Settings—>General—>Keyboard and add keyboards for new languages and emojis.
  • The virtual keyboard can place useful functions on the keyboard in specific apps. Numbers, for example, has a very specific keyboard for entering data.
  • Text replacement. You can customize shorthand to be replaced with phrases/statements. For example, if I am giving writing feedback on my students’ writing and keep writing what an appropriate thesis statement includes. To save time, I may want to go to Settings—>General—>Keyboard——>Text Replacement tap on the plus symbol and type in the specific feedback in the Phrase section and create a Shortcut of xthesis. This too can be done on your MacBook.

Teacher Thought Bubble


  • Share keyboard shortcuts with your students. They will love the new effectiveness and they will view you as a tech rockstar.
  • Try the same keyboard shortcuts on your MacBook. You will love the new effectiveness and view me as a tech rockstar.
  • Install the emoji keyboard and use it as virtual stickers.👏
  • Use text replacement to create a feedback comment bank. It will save a ton of time.
  • Try out the trackpad feature on your iPad and remind your students the next time they struggle to get their cursor in the perfect spot on their iPad.

If you have your own thoughts on this topic and these suggestions, feel free to send them to me.

Upcoming Topics


  • Helping Parents Parent with the iPad
  • Tools You Don’t Know You Have

Your Feedback


This newsletter is an experiment. It is also flexible to your needs. Please feel free to provide your feedback on the usefulness of the information I have been sending you by replying to any of the newsletter emails. Are there other topics you would like me to cover? Is something not clear and needs further explaining? I value your feedback and will use it to make this newsletter better for you. Thank you!

Author: Rob Kamrowski

My name is Rob Kamrowski and I have been a high school social study teacher of some years. Recently, I have accepted a position as an 8th grade American History teacher. I have taught a range of subjects from American History to Personal Finance to AP European History. I earned my Bachelor Degree in 2003, my Masters Degree in 2008, and strive to earn the respect of my students, colleagues and family every day of every year

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