Imaging iPod touch devices using iTunes restore

The following is from Canby’s support team.

For initial deployment of more than a few iPod touch devices, using the “restore from backup” technique in iTunes is currently the most efficient way to deploy. First off, much of the backup and restore information referenced here is explained in very good detail at Apple’s support site in these two articles:

Phone and iPod touch: About backups:

Backing up, updating, and restoring your iPhone and iPod touch software:

We suggest that if you want fine-grain detail about the backup and restore processes in iTunes, that you check out those two articles first. If you are simply looking for a bird’s-eye view of the backup and restore process, and then a detailed view of how to use those processes to deploy iPod touch or iPhone devices in the classroom, please continue reading.

Our cloning workflow is as follows:

1. Make a “master iPod touch device” with everything as you would like the others to have and to look like

2. Make a backup of that iPod touch device in iTunes

3. Use iTunes to clone that backup image from the master iPod on to the other iPod touch devices using the “restore” functionality.

The “imaging” process of iPod touch and iPhone devices is similar to imaging MacBooks or other computer hardware in that you are going to create a “master” iPod with the settings as you like them, the networks chosen, the playlists selected (in Music/TV Shows/Podcasts/iTunes U/Photos) the applications you have selected to sync (we suggest “automatically” syncing all applications for most deployments), and the screens with the apps in the places you’d like on the device as well. At the time of this writing, there is no way to “lock” the applications onto the screens where you initially deploy them… students or staff will be able to move them as they wish. You can, however, restore the iPod at a later date to bring it back to the way you want if you choose to do so.

Remember that iTunes only keeps a few backup files of each device, so you should create a new one of the master device when you are ready to start the copying process. More info is located here: With the device connected and listed in your iTunes “devices” area, right-click or control-click on the device and choose “Back Up” from the list. When the process finishes, your iTunes library will now have a current backup of the device you wish to use as your master. iTunes will keep track of all the different devices that you sync and keep their backups organized. You can see them by going to iTunes > Preferences > Devices:


In this window, you can see the multiple devices that have been registered in my iTunes library and the list of their backup files. The older backups are also time/date stamped so you can go back in time to an older one if you need to.

If you are preparing a major deployment, you may want to delete the old backups from your sync machine to make it clearer which one to use in the cloning process.

Now you have a backup of the device you want to “clone” or “image” on to the other iPod touch devices in your cart (or on your desk). Plug in the iPod touch device that you want to put the copy of your master iPod on, when it appears in iTunes, right-click (control-click) on the device in iTunes, and choose “Restore from Backup” button.

There is no need to create a settings backup from this device, so choose “Don’t Back Up” if iTunes prompts you in the next dialog. After the iPod touch device has been restored to the new “master” settings.

When this part of the restore finishes, your settings will have been copied over, but not your media.

The next steps are to rename this iPod with your naming scheme, and then “sync” to copy over the

media and the apps that the settings restore process set up this device.

When your sync is complete, you will have successfully cloned your master iPod touch device’s settings, including which apps and media to sync, on to your “new” iPod. You can continue this process on as many iPod touch devices as you like, continuing to use the original backup from the master.

Some people have asked us whether this is a good way to manage the iPods on a regular basis. Although it may seem so at the beginning, you will notice that this process takes over your iTunes during the restore process, and takes quite a bit of time (although much less time than setting them up each individually, for sure). It is, however, a good way to fix a “misbehaving” iPod touch, or to redeploy a set of iPod touch devices into a completely different classroom or school scenario.

One of the next articles we post will highlight some suggested ways to set up how media and applications are selected for syncing on a master iPod device, so that you can keep them imaged they way you set them up, but manipulate the media within iTunes using smart playlists or even better, using nested playlists.



Sample Uses:

– Vocabulary (see below)

– Biome Books (description  of biome + plant/animal adaptations examples)

– Grammar (description of noun + examples)

– Math (description of angles + examples)

Teacher Examples:


This project allows students to use new vocabulary multiple times and also makes learning new vocabulary fun, as they get to use the Storyrobe, Photo Wall, and Doodle Buddy apps.


To prepare for this apptivity have the students create a story board that goes along with vocabulary words they are learning.  This story board should be detailed enough that the students can read what they wrote.  The teacher, in turn, should review what students have prepared, so that when they write in Photo Wall there are not any mistakes.  Having a story board also maximizes students’ time when they are using the iPods.


1. The students write an original story using “robust” vocabulary from the text that they are reading.  Note:  Robust vocabulary is defined as everyday words that we believe students should know but do not because of language issues or lack of reading ability.  For example, one of our Houghton Mifflin stories has the word “mast” in it, and the students did not know what the word meant.
2. This is done with the help of the teacher so that students get the meaning of the words they do not understand.
3. Students draw pictures that illustrate the meaning of their story.
4. Students break the story down into smaller parts (story board) to make it easier to read into Storyrobe.
5. Students write sentences that emphasize the vocabulary words.


Doodle Buddy

1. Students will take shots of their physical drawings with the camera tool on the iPod Touch or will use Doodle Buddy to draw and save the drawing.

Both of these actions will save the picture in the device’s photo library for later use.
2. After the students have the photos they need, they will then launch the app Photo Wall Lite.

Photo Wall Lite

3. In Photo Wall Lite they will choose the photos (drawings) and place them in a frame of their choosing. In the frame they will write over or beside the picture a sentence that emphasizes the vocabulary.
4. When students finish a frame they will use the screen shot capability for each frame (drawing) they make.

5. Next, the students will have all the screen shots they need in their photo library and they can use them in within the Storyrobe app.


6. In Storyrobe, the students simply place the screen shots in order and record the narration using an external or built-in microphone.
7. Teachers can then upload the student projects to iPhoto, where these files can be dragged to the desktop for additional posting or use.

** Saving and continuing to work on a project.

If students are not able complete their projects in on session, there is a way to save the project for another time.
1. The student MUST record at least a couple of seconds and then tap Create Video.
2. They can then go back to the project by tapping on Open Story.
3. They can then select the story and tap Edit Story. * The photos will still be in the project, but the audio gets erased.
4. Students can add more photos and then re-record the entire story.
5. They MUST tap Create Video when they are finished recording.

How to Create a Storyrobe Project

How to Export a Storyrobe Project to a Computer

How to Export a Storyrobe Project through Email

1. Tap on Share Story
2. Tap on the name of the project you want to share.
3. Tap on the Email Story button
4. Address your email to the person you want to send to.
5. The recipient will get an email to a web address where the project has been sent.
6. The recipient can download the project by right-clicking (control-clicking on the link).

Also, Storyrobe saves the project to the camera roll – then you can import it into iPhoto.

Attachments (2)
  • storyboard.pages – on Jan 11, 2011 3:20 PM by Tom Borer (version 1)
    62k Download
  • storyboard.pdf – on Jan 11, 2011 3:20 PM by Tom Borer (version 1)
    15k View Download

Photo Wall Lite

Photo Wall Lite

Photo Wall is about creating amazing photo collages! Use in conjunction with SonicPics or Storyrobe to link pages together and add audio.

Sample Uses:
– Photo collage of main characters in story
– Story Map (pics of illustrations of main events)
– Categorizing/Classifying Animals
Teacher Examples:
  • We did all our photo work first in the app “Photo Wall Lite“.  With that, kids can put two or more pictures into a photo collage, change the background color, and add titles or captions.  They took a screen shot of each one to save it in their camera roll.  Then, when their script and storyboarding were finished, they pulled them into Storyrobe and recorded their narration. This really made things go smoothly!
Saving and continuing to work on a project.
If students are not able complete their projects in on session, there is a way to save the project for another time.
1. The student MUST record at least a couple of seconds and then tap Create Video.
2. They can then go back to the project by tapping on Open Story.
3. They can then select the story and tap Edit Story. * The photos will still be in the project, but the audio gets erased.
4. Students can add more photos and then re-record the entire story.
5. They MUST tap Create Video when they are finished recording.

iPhone Screenshots

iPhone Screenshot 1
iPhone Screenshot 2
iPhone Screenshot 3
iPhone Screenshot 4
iPhone Screenshot 5


Snap, Talk and Share! SonicPics is the easiest way to turn your images into custom slideshow movies to share with your family and friends!

1. Add images from your photo library or snap new ones with your camera.
2. Arrange your photos however you would like.
3. Record a voiceover narrating your images as you swipe through them.

Sample Uses:
– Digital story telling
– Class field trip 
– Podcast recording
– Video blogging
– Lecture recording 
– Creating Mini-presentations 
– “Virtual Travel” Logs
– Virtual Museum tours 
– Create Audio books

Teacher Examples:

Mad Libs and Freesaurus

Freesaurus: The Free Thesaurus


Sample Uses:
– Practice with parts of speech (individually filling out mad lib and then checking partner’s work)
– Fluency practice (reading story aloud)
– Practice with word choice (refilling out blanks with better vocabulary, using freesaurus)

Teacher Example:

Apptivity by dschmit:

Mad Libs have been around for a long time and offer teachers a sneaky way to get kids to think about word choice and parts of speech.  It’s sneaky because most kids are so focused on how hard they are laughing that they hardly notice themselves digging into the thesaurus and playing with sentence construction. In this apptivity, we’ll be using a mobile thesaurus app, a madlib generator and the voice recording capabilities on the iPod Touch or iPad to construct and record Mad Lib stories.

1.  Review with students their definitions of the various parts of speech.

2.  Prompt them to reflect and discuss what makes one word a better choice than another.

3.  Have them practice using the Thesaurus App to generate more interesting words from common words.  This will help ensure that everyone knows how to use the thesaurus and will build fluency when creating their story.

4.  Launch the Mad Libs App and go to one of the preformatted mad lib exercises.   Begin by filling in words from their own vocabulary.

5.  Go to the thesaurus app and find alternatives to each of their common words.

6.  Practice reading the new story.  Use the voice recorder app to record your story.   Be sure to have the students state their names, the date, and the title of their story at the beginning.

7.  When you sync the iPods, label each recording’s Name and Artist Name fields in iTunes and place it in a playlist for the students.  (Tip:  use Smart Playlists to automatically place the labeled recordings into individual playlists by setting up parameters with the Artist names.)

Using Voice Memos and Smart Playlists for Reading Fluency and Assessment

Here is a very specific example of using the voice recording application for fluency practice and assessment together with the concept of Smart Playlists to create an on-going digital portfolio for student reflection and assessment. (Canby ipod user group)

Step 1

Use the Voice Memo application to have students record reading fluency practice and/or assessments. The application is incredibly easy to use. (Note: There are also other third-party voice recording applications for the iPod touch, such as iTalk and SpeakEasy, but the syncing process for the files is different)

After at least one voice memo has been recorded on an iPod touch, you can then connect the iPod to your syncing machine, and the voice memos will transfer automatically to iTunes. The first time an iPod with recorded voice memos is synced, iTunes will automatically create a playlist called Voice Memos and deposit the recordings into that playlist. The voice memos transfer to iTunes with a date and time stamp as the title.

Step 2

Highlight a student’s voice memo recording by clicking on the recording once. (NOTE: You will need to train students to say their name first prior to recording, so that you know immediately which student’s recording you are working with for ease of renaming the file.)

Play the recording for a couple of seconds to determine whose file it is, and then rename it. If you are using this file as part of a portfolio collection, we recommend adding the student’s name to the file name, keeping the date, and deleting the time the file was recorded, as that is unnecessary.

Step 3

The next thing you will do is add to the metadata in the student’s file to make the file a “container” of information that can be used in conjunction with a Smart Playlist, as well as for portfolio purposes.

Again, click once on the file to highlight it, and then go to File > Get Info (or ⌘-I as the shortcut). This will bring up the metadata tabs. The first tab, Summary, simply gives you general information about the file.

Step 4

The next tab, Info, is the one we always utilize when adding this file as part of a Smart Playlist (digital portfolio). First of all, you can rename the file this way as an alternate method. In this example, you can see that we have added the student’s name in front of the date and deleted the time of the recording. We have also added the student’s name as the Artist in the file, we have added the year of recording, and we have made a comment about the purpose of the file. All of the information in this section can be used to create the rules, or filters, for a Smart Playlist, but you only really need to add data to one of the fields to actually create a Smart Playlist. The best one to use is probably the Artist field.

Step 5

One really great feature of this tab is that you can use the “built-in” genres to tag the file, or you can create a custom genre. In this example, you could create an “Assessment” genre and tag all of your students’ assessment recordings with this for ease of sorting or creating Smart Playlists at a later date. To create a custom genre, click on the Genre pull-down menu and select Custom.

Type the name of the genre you wish to create in the field; it will now be available as part of the standard pull-down Genre menu once it’s created

Step 6

We do not use the Video, Sorting, or Options tabs that often, so we will skip those. The next important tab is the Lyrics tab. In this example, you could copy the text of the actual fluency passage and paste it into this area. We’ve used an excerpt of a story from the Lit2Go project, The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat. By copying and pasting the text into the Lyrics metadata field, this would give you as a teacher the ability to have access to the text the student was reading to compare with the actual recording. If this file were synced back to an iPod or iPod touch, you could be listening to the file and reading along with the text at the same time.

Step 7

The next tab, Artwork, can be used if you wish to put a graphical representation of the text being read (since the text was from The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat, this is some artwork from the story). Some teachers have also used this tab to drop in a photo of the student who is reading the passage. When synced back to the iPod, a graphic in this tab shows up on the iPod screen when the file is played, like album artwork does with a song file.

Step 8

Now that you have metadata in the tabs, you can use that data in countless ways in conjunction with Smart Playlists to sort and organize student recordings or other curriculum files you have in your iTunes library. To create a Smart Playlist, go to File > New Smart Playlist.

Step 9

A window will pop up in which you choose the rules for your Smart Playlist. In this example, since we put the student’s name in the Artist field under the Info tab (refer to Step 4), we are going to create a Smart Playlist where the rule is that the Artist contains the student name — in this instance, Mirna Garcia. Since live updating is checked, every time you add Mirna Garcia’s name as the Artist in any kind of file in iTunes, that file will automatically be placed in the Smart Playlist. You will then see in your list of Smart Playlists in the iTunes Source Pane one called “Mirna Garcia.” Inside of that playlist is the voice recording file where we added her name as the artist.
Once the Smart Playlist is created, it becomes a very simple way for a teacher to create an on-going digital portfolio of student recordings.

Click HERE to get to Creating an iTunes account without a credit card.