How to make your Ipad more kid friendly for Learning Spanish

By Ricardo Cuevas on January 14, 2012 in Learn Spanish for Kids with No Comments

As a big time techie and an even bigger early learning advocate, I often find myself in a bit of a “situation” (not the Jersey Shore kind and why do my entries keep referring back to that garbage show?). I love for my boy to play with the Ipad. He loves to watch the Kid Start Spanish videos on there and play with the Words App. He also loves the Magic School Bus (Oceans) app. However, there are times when he’d like to go poking around in areas he doesn’t have any business in. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but certain times (like in the car) you want to be able to keep them in a particular application and make sure they don’t exit out of it.

As you may have heard mentioned a time or two, “There’s an app for that”. The app will effectively allow you to turn off the home button. So once you’re in the desired app you can configure a button combination like “volume up AND down at the same time” which will turn off functions such as the home button, that way the kids can navigate around in the desired app but not exit out of it. There’s also functionality that allows you to turn off the touch features of the screen so that if the child is watching a video they won’t pause it, fast-forward, re-wind, mess with the volume, etc.

The developer of the app developed it specifically for use by his daughter Hanna. Apparently, he had the same problem that most of us parents have with the Ipad. The fact that it’s so easy to navigate is both a good thing a bad thing and this app can help limit some of the bad. I am in no way associated to the developer, I am simply a parent that is also an Iphone/Ipad nut who found something that has been very valuable to me and I want to pass that on.

Unfortunately this particular app requires “Jailbreaking” your device. I don’t intend to encourage anyone to void their warranty by jailbreaking their Ipad. However, more information is good, right? This app is only available through the Cydia App store. In other words, Apple doesn’t technically allow this type of application into the App store because they don’t want programmers being able to control core functions of the device such as whether your HOME button works. I get it, it makes sense, but in this case it’s really annoying to me and a lot of other parents that the child exits the app every 15 seconds, whether intentionally or not. So in this case, the bending of the rules (it is NOT illegal) is for the greater good.The app is free and so is the jailbreak software. If you’re worried about having to bring the Ipad in for service at some point in the future and being told that your warranty is no-good, keep in mind that you can always restore you software back to factory software by simply plugging into ITunes and selecting “restore”, that way you can bring it in to the store. I can say that I’ve had multiple Jailbroken Ipad’s and Iphone’s for years with absolutely 0 problems.I don’t intend to give you a full write-up on how to jailbreak your Ipad since I feel that would be going a bit too far. Besides, how you jailbreak varies based on your device and the software that you’re running. As far as I know, the Ipad 2 is not jailbreakable and neither is the Iphone 5. If you have an older device (the ones that are jailbreakable) then it’s probably out of warranty anyway, so the warranty concern would likely not be an issue. To re-iterate, I do not condone or support such activity and you are at your own risk in doing this.

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