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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Innovating with iPods - How to Lose a Day of Your Life - Part 2

April 2010

Continued from Part 1

We now needed to begin setting up the iTunes accounts on the MacBooks so that we could start to download content to the iPods.

Setting up iTunes

If you are using a Windows PC and do not have iTunes installed then your first step is to install it! The current UK version can be found here in the form of a free download: iTunes UK

It takes a fair few minutes to install but it will become a very important piece of software. At the time of writing, the current version of iTunes (on Mac OS anyway) is 9.2.1, but at the time of our setup it was the previous version that we installed.

Once iTunes installs you will need to create an account to download apps and other content to use on the iPods.

Top Tip: If you already have an iTunes account which you use personally or with another set of devices, do not use this account to setup a class set of iPods. Make sure you set up a totally separate account for this purpose to avoid issues with syncing content later.

Top Trick for using GMail

We have created separate iTunes accounts for each of the three classes taking part in the project so that different content can be added to each class setup if required. Each account needs to be registered with a different email address. However, as I am managing our school's project, I wanted all of the emails to come to me without having to set up three different email accounts. I already had a GMail account that I use for work things and was taught a superb trick by Tim Bleazard of Challenge CLC that works with all Google Mail accounts. This is how it works:

You can actually have an unlimited (I think) number of email addresses with GMail, all linked to the same account by simply adding the plus sign and some additional text at the end of an email address, before the '@' sign. These addresses are all 'unique' in that they can be used to sign up for the same service using multiple identities (such as iTunes). All emails sent to these addresses will then automatically appear in your regular GMail inbox. For instance, to sign up three class iTunes accounts to link to your GMail account: is the original email address, as an example.

So set up one iTunes account with the email address:

Set up the second account with the email address:

And the third class account with the email address:

If you receive any emails to the +text addresses, it will appear in your regular GMail inbox as normal. A really cool and useful trick! Test it out - it really works!

**Super Top Tip** - Purchasing Content

One of the big issues we faced was exactly HOW we would purchase content through iTunes. I knew that you could register credit or debit cards but this still did not solve the problem. As you can imagine, the school Business Manager would be very reluctant for me to sign up to iTunes with the school credit card as I would effectively have open access to purchase as much content as I wanted, totally unregulated! Quite rightly, access to the school credit card should remain for a very small group of the staff.

The other way I could get round the issue was to set iTunes up using one of my own debit cards. This would mean that I would have to continuously claim money back from school (which we all know can be a time consuming process) and would mean that if other teachers were to have access to the iTunes account, they would effectively have free reign to spend money in the iTunes Store, straight from my bank account.


And then I found the answer! iTunes vouchers! It seemed so obvious. We bought three £25 iTunes gift cards from WHSmith with the intention of loading them onto our accounts. Brilliant!

So I went back to set up my new iTunes accounts and load the vouchers. And then I found out that you HAVE TO sign up using a credit or debit card. Except, you don't...

They don't necessarily make this information obvious, but it is possible to sign up for iTunes accounts without a credit or debit card. Rather than reinventing the wheel, I'll just point you in the direction of the Apple support page you need:

Create an iTunes App Store account without a credit card - Cool!

It is a really useful way of keeping everybody happy and keeping the setup as uncomplicated as possible.

Once you have created the accounts by following the steps above, downloading your first free app, you will need to load the iTunes gift vouchers in order to buy content. You can download as much free content as you like (but remember not to exceed the storage space of the device - ours is 8GB, for example).


Adding iTunes Gift Vouchers

  • Once you have signed up for an account and purchased your gift card, scratch off the panel on the reverse of the gift card to reveal a 16-digit alphanumeric code
  • Make sure you are signed in (to do this, click on the 'iTunes Store' link on the left hand menu, then click 'Sign In' in top right corner of iTunes) and then choose the option in the top right menu which says 'Redeem'
  • Enter the code on the card and hit 'Redeem' - and you're done!
You can now download content to your heart's content. The cost of apps, music, etc. will be automatically debited from the money in your account (which is always displayed next to your username when you're signed into iTunes).

Usefully, you will receive an email receipt for everything you purchase via iTunes. This can be helpful to keep tabs on what you've spent your money on, although frustratingly you can wait several days before receiving these receipts, although some are delivered immediately.

The next step is to create a 'baseline' setup of educational apps in iTunes. My next post will focus on the final part of the setup process that we undertook during the Easter Holidays.

1 comment:

  1. This is very Informative. I have had several difficulties purchasing through iTunes. It's over now.