iPads in the Elementary Music Classroom: Guided Access

There are times when it would be beneficial to turn off features in certain apps, or to block advertisements, or to be able to keep the app you wanted your students to use exclusively open because it will assist in keeping your students focused on the goal of the lesson. This can happen when you set up the iPad using the Guided Access features.

What is Guided Access?

Guided Access allows you to keep one app open so that students cannot leave the app and open other apps. To do this, you perform the following steps:

To set up Guided Access: Tap Settings>General>Accessibility>Guided Access

From there you can:

    • Turn Guided Access on or off (You will want to turn it on to use it) 
    • Set a passcode that controls the use of Guided Access and prevents someone from leaving an active session (Set a code that you will remember)
    • Accessibility Shortcut (turn this on so that you can see your settings when you triple-click the home button)
    • Start a Guided Access session
      • Open the app you want to run.
      • Triple-click the Home button.
      • Adjust settings for the session, then click Start in the upper right-hand corner.
    • Disable app controls and areas of the app screen (like those with advertisements)
      • Circle any part of the screen you want to disable.
      • Use the handles to adjust the area.
    • Ignore all screen touches
      • Turn off Touch.
    • Keep iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from switching from portrait to landscape Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.57.13 PM
      • Turn off Motion.
    • End a Guided Access session
      • Triple-click the Home button.
      • Enter the Guided Access passcode.
      • Click “End” in the upper left-hand corner.

    In the picture, you can see how I used Guided Access to block out certain xylophone bars so that my PreK could improvise using a pentatonic scale by playing the app with their fingers. This worked very well.

    These features and more (including videos of apps and guided access in use) are in my free iBook that is coming out soon: Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! 



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    Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com