Teachers can utilize iPads in the classroom to greatly enhance the learning experience of their students by keeping them engaged and by teaching material in new ways. iPads have several useful features as well as a plethora of educational apps and uses, one of which is airdrop. Using airdrop, teachers can project wirelessly from their iPad what is showing on their screen. Teachers could open a note-taking app (like the free one Notability) and write notes or math problems on their iPad screen for students to see. What they write is projected in real time onto their projector screen. Thus, they can teach and write things “on the board” while walking around the classroom, checking on everyone and gauging their understanding. Also, when students are using the iPads in the classroom, the teacher can require them to turn on airdrop so that all their screens appears on the projector screen, deterring students from surfing the internet or going on apps that they are not supposed to.
Students could also load a powerpoint presentation onto the Google Drive app on an iPad (also free) and more readily present, changing the slides when they want to. The teacher is free to grade and enjoy their presentation, as are all other students (who no longer have to sit and change the screens).
Furthermore, students can use iPads or even their own phones to play games like Kahoot or participate in e-classrooms like through the Socrative app. Kahoot enables the teacher to make a fun, competitive game online, which students can then access through any mobile device and play together. This provides a fast-paced, engaging way for students to review material and for teachers to gauge their understanding. Socrative is similar in that you can see the realtime student responses and engage the entire class. However, Socrative is probably better for topics that require more thinking; as the upbeat game-showy atmosphere of Kahoot, while exhilarating at first, could quickly become stressful if you are trying to solve math problems.
With the easy video-making apps available (mostly for free) on iPads, students can make videos in under 30 minutes and send them to the teacher so that the teacher can play them for the class. Our iPads have iMovie and Animoto, which can both be used for entertaining yet educational review or case study. For instance, a teacher could assign small groups topics to explain to the class in short, often memorable videos. No doubt this alternative method of introducing material would stick in students’ brains very readily.
Teachers could also use an automatically graded survey platform such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey to assess or probe pupils, who could use either their phones or iPads to answer the surveys. Since these grade and report their responses automatically, it saves teachers time and is a personal way for students and teachers to explore their understanding.
Another way teachers have used iPads in the classroom is by using them to talk about sensitive subjects like sexting that students might not feel comfortable speaking out about for fear of being judged by their classmates. One teacher used an app like Notability to conduct a class discussion. While she asked questions to direct the conversation, students wrote their responses on the app and held it up for her to see, and even the shyer students could contribute.
With two iPad carts in AHS and so many interesting and engaging ways to use them in the classroom, the variety of methods which teachers can use to edify their students is expanded vastly. The only thing left to do is to explore all of the tantalizingly easy-to-use approaches to using them in the classroom.
Burns, Monica. “Resources for Using IPads in Grades 9-12.” Edutopia. Edutopia, 13 May
2014. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.