Category Archives: Student

iPads and Styluses

One of the attractions of using the iPads is the ability to handwrite on the screen. This is especially useful in Notability [which can convert your handwriting into text, unless you are the MDS Tech Director with exceptionally abysmal handwriting. Your mileage may vary.]

See,to%20copy%20the%20text%20to%20your%20Mac%27s%20clipboard. for details on how to do that.

As of Fall 2020 iPads for the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades can use the Apple Pencil, Logitech Crayon, or other styluses. 12th grade iPads and Middle School iPads can use other styluses – there is a rough list below looking at some of the options.

Please note that styli are NOT provided by the school.

The Apple Pencil
Logitech Crayon

There are a few general categories of styluses available:

  • Apple Pencil – More expensive, but works VERY well.
  • Logitech Crayon – less expensive than the Apple Pencil. Has some different features that make it an intriguing choice.
  • Bluetooth attached – these require a pairing process, which usually works quite well. The quality level can vary a lot, as does the price.
  • “Capacitive” styluses – these work on all the iPads on campus, but there is a great variety in pricing and quality. Generally these have a “smushy rubbery” tip, though some have a “harder” tip.
    Some people love them, others can’t stand them.
  • There are also some with a small round disc at the end of the stylus.
  • You will see references to “active” styli – generally that means there are some electronics involved [bluetooth] and charging a battery.
A quick web search for “iPad Stylus” gives many options and prices.

Some general advice:

  • There is a wide variant on what is acceptable to the person using the stylus.
  • If you [or your student] is prone to lose things, but really wants or needs a stylus, the best advice is to use a cheaper one.
  • The Apple Pencil is arguably the superior choice, especially is using it for long stretches of time – but at $100 or more losing it is quite painful.
  • The Logitech Crayon, which is in the $60 range, is less painful if lost. It also works very well, and has some advantages over the Apple Pencil [for example, the shape means in will not roll off the desk.}

Making sure you can connect: Google Meet

With Google Meet there is an option to use a Shortcut. This stays the same from session to session and makes it easy for everyone to get into the class.

HOWEVER: the shortcuts only work if you are CURRENTLY logged into your MDS Google account on that device. If you are not, the session can’t be found.

How to make sure you are logged in correctly:


On a web browser pointed to, loot at the top right corner of the window.

If you see an icon with your initial [or something similar], then you are logged in. Click the icon to see what account you are logged into.

Top right corner of the screen. Click the icon to see which account you are logged into.

If you are NOT logged in, then you should see a “signin” link at the top right.

Click the “Signin” link and …….. signin.

iPad or other device

On the iPad app, click the “hamburger menu” [three horizontal lines] at the top left. At the top there should be something which indicates which account is logged in, if any.

Clicking there will allow you to log into a different google account.

[You can have multiple google accounts to switch between.]


Do not use a slight difficulty getting into the class as an excuse. You have multiple ways to get into the class. Use them all, and as always, stay in touch with your teacher.

AP Students: LockDown Browser

Dr. Franklin will be coordinating the details on taking your AP exam. This article will discuss the software you will need to take the exam.

Note that if ANYTHING stated below conflicts with what Dr, Franklin tells you – go with what he says.

You can take the exam using a Windows or Mac computer, OR YOUR IPAD [as long as you are using IOS 12 or later]

  • How to check: Settings –> General –> About –>Software Version.
  • If you are still on IOS 11 or earlier – SHAME on you! You’ve been ignoring all the reminders to update for a good while now!
  • Pick a time when you won’t be needing the iPad for a while. Open Settings –> General –> Software Update and make it happen!

AP requires LockDown Browser from Respondus.

LockDown Browser
from Respondus,
available in the App Portal
  • For your computer, CLICK HERE to download the correct browser and install it.
  • For your iPad, open up the App Portal and search for LockDown Browser. Install it.

Once you’ve installed the browser, AND WELL BEFORE YOU NEED TO TAKE THE EXAM, you need to run a security check. Below are excerpts from the instructions on the AP site. [CLICK HERE for the originals.]

Once the LockDown Browser has been installed on the devices that will be used to take secure assessments, each student needs to complete a Secure Assignment Readiness Check.

Log in to the platform using the device that will be used for the final exam.

  • Students using Windows or Mac computers should use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari 10 or higher.
  • Students using iPads (iOS 12 or higher) should use Safari.
  • Students using Chromebooks should select “College Board” from the Apps link and log in to the platform.

On the Assessments tab, you should see a yellow banner as shown below.

Click the “please complete this readiness check” link. You should see a pop-up to open
LockDown Browser. Click “Open LockDown Browser” and the readiness check will launch.

The LockDown Browser requires certain applications to close. If the pop-up shown below appears, click “Kill these applications.” Feel free to make appropriate bomb-dropping noises as you do.

AFter the check has launched, you should see 6 sample questions. Answer them, click “Submit“, and then exit the LockDown Browser. You have now successfully completed your readiness check.

  • If the exam didn’t launch successfully, check to see if the LockDown browser is installed
  • Send an email to tech or ipad and ask for assistance.
  • If technical issues persist, contact AP using the “Help” option at the top of the screen