6 Helpful Tips For The 1 iPad Classroom

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by Ben Lovegrove, inkids.com.au

While most educators and teachers are aware of the benefits that can arise in the classroom through the use of iPads and tablets, budgetary constraints can often limit the way that technology can be used to augment learning activities in smaller schools (or school districts).

In many cases, schools find that the money required to buy iPads for an entire class would be better spent on other equipment or products but this doesn’t mean that the classroom should be an iPad free zone. There are countless benefits to be gained from having one or two iPads in the classroom a single device can still be a useful asset for your classroom for lesson planning and supporting curriculum.

There are several ways that teachers can make effective use of a small number of iPads in a classroom here are some ideas to get you started.

6 Helpful Tips For The 1 iPad Classroom

1. Work With Small Groups

A good approach is to break a class down into smaller groups, have each group work on different projects (or on separate components of a lesson plan). For example, a group of 46 pupils could be working together using an iPad while the rest of the class works on a different task before rotating places.

Apps for 1st grade like Recession App’s Coin Math or Instant Interactive’s Math Drills Lite are extremely affordable and can be used in small groups to engage children with subject matter they might not normally be interested in students can work in teams to quiz one another to help reinforce basic skills. Friendly competition in groups is an excellent way to make use of apps that aren’t necessarily designed for group activities. Futaba Classroom Games is an app which has been designed especially with the 1 iPad Classroom in mind up to 4 player can compete at the same time which means an entire classroom can be occupied with only a few devices on hand. Futaba can be used to deliver a range of quiz content and teachers can even build their own quiz games to support any type of subject matter.

Group play like this will not only ensure that pupils get to learn in a fun manner, they will also benefit from sharing and working collaboratively with other students.

2. Make Use Of Interactive Whiteboards Or Apple TV

A simple converter cable will allow the iPad to be displayed on an existing VGA projector (meaning any monitor or interactive whiteboard can be used). An Apple TV device / with a TV can also be used to mirror content using Airplay (Apple TV is a great device for allowing students to show work they have completed on display viewable to everyone in the classroom).

Using a larger display means that If you only have a single device, a game can be displayed on a larger screen, and if you are using an app like Futaba Classroom Games, the rest of the class can be involved in the quiz while single group plays (with this app each game fits into 35 minutes so it’s possible to have new set of challengers for each new quiz).

3. Use The Built-in Camera & iMovie 

Small groups of students can use the iMovie app to create exciting multimedia projects with their own media you can insert all type of resources, from photos (to make slideshows) to videos that they’ve shot in the classroom or school playground to text. With the onboard video editing software (which is a breeze to use), you can easily annotate or create a voiceover for any  type of media project. The rest of the class will be equally excited to watch each group’s creations before having their own turn at becoming film producers.

Other apps like “Aurasma” can be used in a similar way to created augmented reality layers using movies or images that can be layered onto the real world. This is a fascinating process that will also engage groups of children working across all types of subject matter.

4. Think about BYOD
BYOD or Bring Your Own Device is a mobility trend which allows students to bring their own smartphones, tablet computers and other electronic devices to school. With limited budgets making it difficult for schools to purchase iOS devices, a BYOD policy can be a viable and effective option. Over the last year, Georgia, Texas, Minnesota and Ohio have all implemented pilot projects whereby students use their own mobile devices in the classroom.

Combing BYOD with a free app like Math Champ (suitable for grades 4 to 7), a teacher can serve a classroom math quiz to the entire class. If they have their own iPods or iPhones and they are allowed to use them, they use their devices as “eclickers” to compete against their other classmates in real time. This app also supports the use of leaderboard display on an external screen to make group play more compelling (refer to items 2 above).

Again, only 1 iPad is required.

5. Just for Fun
We know what all kids love using the iPad so why not make it a reward for the best students towards the end of each lesson? Marble Mixer is modern twist on a classic schoolyard game that also involves elements of strategy it’s also one of the best multiplayer games on the iPad.

There’s no need to replace stickers and stamps completely (game time can even be a part of an existing reward system you might have in place).

6. The iPad As The Teacher’s Pet
Teachers can also use the iPad as a standalone support tool (in fact, this might be its most valuable use in a 1 iPad classroom). Access to so many resources in one place means that the iPad can be used as a control pad for video content, as a way find online courses, free books and more.

Aside from providing additional content and support to students, having the iPad handy also allows a teacher to take notes, create reminders or even record behaviors. The iPad is not only an engaging device for group activities, but can be a valuable all-in-one pocketknife for teachers.

This is a contributed post from Ben Lovegrove from inkids.com.au

  • Nicole Naditz

    Having had one iPad for two years, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and determine my own best ways to maximize the benefit of using it in the classroom.

    Although I don’t use it at stations as you suggest, I do use it as a portable, recordable, exportable white board when I am circulating and helping individuals or groups. There are several apps available to do this. I personally use educreations. Students really appreciate getting one-on-one help and being able to have our entire conversations–including the things I wrote or drew to help them, the questions they asked, and the answers in(or other students) gave–as something they can not only use right then, but that I can email to them when we finish or post on my Web site for future reference, including for other students with the same questions.

    • INKids

      Hey Nicole,
      Thank you for your suggestions. They were well received and everyone in the office agrees with your choice of using educreations. It’s a great app.

      - Ben

  • http://melissawantz.com Melissa Wantz

    No need to buy an expensive Apple TV device or a TV. Just mirror your iPad from the classroom PC and projector with a $12 software download called AirServer. http://www.airserver.com/