Using an iPad in the Everyday Classroom: A Step-by-Step Guide

Nov 07, 2014

In the year 2010, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) in Melbourne, Australia, came up with ‘iPads for Learning – In Their Hands Trial’. The primary objective was to initiate a better learning atmosphere for the students. By 2011, the program had been successful in placing over 700 iPads in 9 primary, secondary and specialist schools and the Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute.

Here’s what happened. Adam was a Senior Learning Community student at Barwon Valley School during this trial. With the Keynote software in his iPad, he became quite proficient in creating his own books, reflecting on his learning and giving professional learning support to other students and staff.

This trial has been a living proof of the fact that iPads can be highly beneficial in education. Overwhelming heaps of success stories validate this fact, one of which would be the University of California Irvine’s iMedEd program. Medical students equipped with an iPad scored 23% higher in national exams than the previous unequipped classes.

Now the question is how to use the devices in your everyday classroom. So we have put up a few ways on how to go about it.

Step 1.

Reading is primary to anything else. And for that, you need content. Now depending upon the class you teach, you can put digital books into your iPad and share them with your students. The next time you go to class, you can segregate your students into reading groups and ask them to read the contents aloud and discuss about their difficulties with it.

Step 2.

The next time you assign a project to your class, try integrating the iPad into the plan. Apps like iPhotoiMovieGarageBandPagesKeynote could make presentations come to life with a professional touch to them. Urge your students to use these apps to make amazing projects.

Step 3.

Apps are not just for projects. Hordes of apps are available for learning. Now your objective should be handpicking the right ones from among the numerous that could benefit your students. If you are an elementary level teacher, you could pull up the Math Evolve app for an interactive and fun Math session in your class. The Drawp for School app could come in handy in kids’ art classes too.

Step 4.

With iPads, your students’ excuse of “My dog ate my homework” would not work anymore. You could directly email the homework assignments to your students and set a deadline for submission. They can then email back their homework to you. This way you save a lot of hassle that goes into assigning homework the traditional way. The Homework App helps loads in accomplishing this.

Step 5.

Ipads could be great devices for taking classroom notes as well. Apps like SimplenoteBamboo PaperEvernote and more could be employed for this purpose. Taking down notes in the iPad and saving them enables students to avoid the unnecessary worry over lost sheets. They can keep track of the notes that they have taken, view them quickly whenever required, include audio notes or a video clip of an important experiment in the laboratory and so on.

Step 6.

You can get your students to form groups and “test-drive” a few new apps for education. This would help them collaborate and learn from each other while working on their iPads. You can have your students report back to you after their “test-drive” session about the apps’ functionality and usability.

Step 7.

The next time you take your class on an out-of-the-classroom learning session, take the iPad with you. The amazing apps could make any field trip exceptional. If a real hike is not on the to-do list, then that does not mean a virtual one isn’t. Turn your classroom into an outing! Pull up the Life of Art app and explore how an artifact ended up in a museum with your students. Let your students immerse in the world of aquariums from all across the world with World Aquariums. Let your imagination do the talking.

Step 8.

The music class does not necessarily have to be chaotic. Kids fighting to have a go at strumming the piano can be avoided with the use of an iPad. The Virtuoso Piano app has a large keyboard that can be moved to access higher and lower notes. You will be overwhelmed with the music you can make with your students with the amazing iPad apps.

Step 9.

The doodle does not need to be restricted to the last few pages or the corners of your students’ exercise books. You can encourage painting, drawing, sketching or doodling in the art class with the help of iPad apps like Brushes 3ArtRageand more.

Step 10.

The classroom whiteboard does not need to be just hanging there grieving it’s abandonment while your iPad does its work. Turn it into an interactive whiteboard. Project the contents of the iPad to the board and allow your students to work live on the board for a more collaborative and dynamic experience.

Step 11.

Sprinkle some life in the classroom discussions and debates. You can encourage your students to engage in live discussion sessions on the topics of the day using the school virtual learning environment. You can mark them on the level of their participation and responses.

While iPads might be seen as a luxury, studies reveal the opposite. During the Fall semester of 2010, Oklahoma State University witnessed the implementation of the Apple iPad Pilot Program. This study came up with a few conclusion, one of which suggested a reduce in expenses with this integration. Apart from that, iPad is a great way to collaborate with students and teachers anywhere in the world. The use of iPad negates the notion of a four-walled classroom and extends it to the entire world. All you need to do as a teacher is to dig deeper and pick out the treasure of apps from among the gazillion of pointless ones and you are good to go.

Have you used the iPad for teaching? Tell us about your experience

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