#ETTiPad Panel Discussion: iPads in the Classroom

Ideas I shared are at https://sites.google.com/site/iosined/  and here...

Question #1 - Why iPads? What has this device brought to your students that may not otherwise have been possible?

-Very personal and intuitive experience 

-wide selection of quality apps 

-accessibility features such as dictation and speech selection are so valuable


Question #2 - How do you balance curriculum and teaching apps? Do you have any recommendations?

-Don’t teach iPads. Leverage the learners you have in the room. 

-If you are using a new app, give students 4 minutes to try and figure the app out on their own and then have students take turns sharing what they learned OR ask a few students to learn the app ahead of time and demonstrate to the rest of the class. 

-Don’t be a tech teacher. Be an information literacy teacher, but not a touch here and touch there teacher. 


Question #3 - How has your classroom or school learning environment changed as a result of giving students access to these devices?

Allows students to own their own learning if given the chance. 

Nothing changes if devices are locked up all day and students don’t get opportunities to own the learning. 


Question #4 - What do you see as some of the best strategies and approaches to using iPads in the classroom, especially with younger students?

-Classroom management and building community is critical. The culture of your learning environment impacts learning with or without technology. Procedures are very important. (Body-Based Research supports that.) Use the iPads to make procedures videos. Great for everyone and helpful when you get new students. 

-Focus on creation apps over content apps!

-everyone has unique situations. Join the conversation on Twitter to find those in similar situations 


Question #5 - How have you worked to overcome obstacles related to iPad integration?

-Planning ahead and involving all stakeholders (especially learners) in the process is key. I also see challenges as an opportunity to think differently about things. For example, those of us who have been using iPads for a while know the Workflow challenges, but I think it's best to see those as opportunities to rethink assignments and innovate. 


Question #6 - How do you explain to parents and administrators the value of using devices with younger students when there are also concerns about screentime and learning critical face-to-face communication skills?

We don’t want children doing the “Blackberry prayer” all day everyday. I encourage everyone to focus less on screen time and more on the quality of screen time. Are students passive consumers of content or creating content? 

General Management Tips:

  • Establish procedures e.g. How to put an iPad away. I have students help in the development of procedures so they have a feeling of ownership.
  • When students are working with a partner or a small group and sharing one iPad, they should take turns "driving". If appropriate, you can even assign roles to group members. 
  • Use timers so students know how long they have to use the device.
  • Headphones are a must and they are very affordable. I have students bring their own earbuds in and keep them in a bag with their name on it. Shared earbuds or headphones are not hygienic in my opinion. The rule in my classroom is "One earbud in and one earbud out". This gives students a chance to hear me when I need to get everyone's attention. 
  • Have students help you make a video demonstrating all of the above so it can be reviewed as needed.
  • If you need to demonstrate an app that will be used for self-directed learning, ask a few students to learn the app ahead of time and demonstrate to the rest of the class.This is extremely helpful when you are busy working with other students because your "experts" can help their classmates and you don't become tech support. 
  • Guided Access limits your device to a single app and lets you control which app features are available.
  • If students are using apps that requires an account (e.g. Edmodo, Google Drive), make sure they log out before they give the iPad to someone else.
  • Create a folder on the dock called "when finished" for apps students can use after they do assignments