iPads in the classroom is a big project. It can be (it freaken is) very intimidating, and we’re not always sure where to start at, what to really think of it, and even if we really want to think about it at all. There are so many do’s and dont’s in the classroom, in the technology world too, we’re not always sure we want to change the perfect, stable environment we created… what if the balance explodes and we lose all the control and certainty we had?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is just fear talking. This is just as any other project can/could/will be. You just need to rationally think it through and see the advantages and the possibilities. I must admit I was freaking out when I was asked to think about this type of project. It’s so big and costly! This is a life and death decision! What if it ends up like most smart boards in classes, just being used as fancy, expensive projectors instead of used to their true potential?
Hold up. Read this. Come back after.
Feeling better? Me too.
This amazing article comes from this website where you can find everything you could possibly want regarding the possibilities for iPad in the classroom. I won’t go through everything that is possible to do with the iPad, as I’d need a whole website dedicated to just that, but I will highlight the things I find most useful about the iPad in the classroom.
One of the things I like best about the iPad is the fact that you have everything on hand instead of having to break your back every single time you go to class. Don’t forget your book or your dictionary, either, you won’t be able to follow in class and you’ll even get some kind of punishment for it!
Now, it’s a thing of the past.
What are all those little icons going in the iPad, you may be asking yourself. Well, those are applications.
See for yourself
This is a screenshot I took of the English as a Second Language section of the iTunes store. As you can see, there are sections such as “reading”, “vocabulary & grammar”, “speaking & listening” and, a category which isn’t showing up on my screenshot, “dictionaries”. This serves to show that you can really use an application for anything you might need.
Did you notice? Many applications are free, too!
Too many applications to choose from? Many blogs review, list and talk about different applications that can be used in the classroom; Simply google search it! If you’re a visual person like I am, you can also go to iPadagogy youtube channel for a ton of application reviews. Or, you can simply try out the “light” and “free” versions of the applications before actually buying one, to make sure it fits with your teaching style and your grade level.
Sure, I talked about making management easier on my TeacherKit blog post, but you also have a lot of interactive content to work with. Let’s say you want to do a group project on endangered species; instead of having to go to the computer lab, wait 2 years (a bit of exaggeration) for the old dinosaurs (umm computers) to turn on, have half of them shut down after 10 minutes of half working, a quarter not being able to connect to the internet, having to put 4 students on the same computer, then give your instructions and have the bell ring … you can simply let them have an iPad. They know how it works. If they don’t, after having them for a day, they’ll have it pretty much figured out. Plus, it is so user friendly, they’ll get the idea after a few minutes of fiddling around.
So, endangered species project with iPad. You can use this free application to get the students to learn a bit more about what is an endangered specie and to learn more about particular species. Then, you could have them work on their iPad to create a short and sweet, engaging presentation together and have them present it to their classmates. They will be very proud of their work, everyone will learn about many different things at the same time and they will all have access to the presentation on their iPad! (no more I-can’t-read-what’s-written-in-diagonal-characters-8 presentations on a cardboard). This can easily be done in a period with the use of the iPad. If you didn’t have the iPad, it would probably be a month’s do at home project, right?
There are a thousand things to do with an iPad in the classroom, all you need is a bit of knowledge, creativity and time. It will make your normal, time-consuming projects (think acetates created from a to z) much faster, user-friendlier and clearer. Plus, it’s eco!
There are many many more very creative and exciting ideas for iPad in the classroom here if you need a bit of inspiration.
Give me some feedback when you implement the iPad in your classroom, alright?
PS Just an idea to blow your mind a bit more… If the students don’t have to haul around big books and pencils and etc. (which well add up to an iPad’s price after a couple of years), maybe you won’t need desks anymore… What would you do with all that space? (that thought is so revolutionary that I can’t even seem to find a picture of a classroom without desks or tables in google, so here’s another thought:)