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iPads in the Classroom: A Quick Guide for Teachers
Few innovations have as much potential for revolutionizing education as using iPads in the classrooms. Apple’s cutting-edge tablet provides a means for teachers to enhance their instructional efforts, by adding multi-sensory, highly interactive activities to their repertoire.
Of course, in order to get the best results from using the iPad, it’s important to know some basic guidelines first. Here are some tips from educators on making the device an integral part of your student’s daily schedules.
iPad Use In the Classroom
1. Start the day out with a shared iPad activity. A good way to do this is to use a feature such as Google-a-Day to get your kids in a learning frame of mind. After this, they can branch off into particular applications on their individual tablets.
2. Establish clear guides to iPad “ownership.” Have kids personalize their device with a keychain that features their name and home room printed clearly. Also have them put their names on the home screens. That will help to prevent any squabbles over specific devices later on.
3. Have a few separate wireless keyboards on hand, for those students who dislike the on-screen one. Some people type much better when they have the tactile sensation of striking actual keys, and it’s likely that some of your kids will be among them. Also, this will help keep the screens clean, by minimizing the amount of fingerprints and smears they accumulate over time.
4. Decide on a policy for downloading apps. It might be better for the school to have final say over what apps can be installed onto the tablets. Then again, many institutions permit students and parents to use their own discretion. One approach has the advantage of uniformity and content control, the other allows personalization to each student’s unique interests, needs, and learning style. Whichever way your institution goes is fine, so long as the policy is chosen thoughtfully and applied consistently.
5. Keep an eye on your bandwidth. The last thing any educator needs is a classroom full of restless students waiting for apps to load on their device. To avoid this, make sure that their daily activities fit within the available bandwidth.
6. Accept that you will eventually have a problem with missing devices, and have a plan in place to deal with the problem. Some students will leave their iPad on the bus, in a classroom, or at home. Having an “iPad lost and found” department in the administrative office is one way to mitigate the effects of such occurrences. Sending out emails and even doing school-wide announcements about lost devices are other options.
7. Have a visual cue in the classroom that will tell students whether or not they will be using their tablets that day. This will keep you from having to answer the question “are we using the iPads today?” over and over.
The iPad is a tremendous resource for both teachers and students. It can open up avenues for learning and discovery that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. To ensure the device’s proper use, however, it makes sense to lay down a few ground rules at the onset. With those in place, the benefits can be maximized and any problems kept to a minimum.< show all "Technology in Education" articles