iPad Classroom Term?- 10 Things to consider
If the iPad is making a ‘move’ on your classroom this year then these ten points are worth considering:
- Check your wireless network for everything from capacity to ‘dead-zones’. Leave no stone unturned as a failing wireless network will severely hamper iPad use in school.
- Be hands on with apps/methods you might ask students to use and see what it is like to produce ‘work’. The iPad is just a device and without an informed educator it will be ineffective as a learning tool.
- Set out clear behaviour guidelines and link them to school policy. Consistent expectations when using the iPads can help prevent the device from being a disruption.
- Don’t expect an app to ‘teach’ a lesson. Many educators ask if there is an app that will specifically deliver a part of a course/syllabus. Apps should be seen as another way to enhance learning and if they don’t work you can still use existing methods to deliver the lesson.
- Start slow. Use one or two apps/function and allow the students to get used to the device and its nuances.
- Decide on a workflow solution and stick to it. If you are going to use Edmodo, Dropbox, Evernote etc to set assigments or collect work, you should make a decision as to which is the best option(s). Changing the workflow pattern can be disruptive for students and difficult to maintain above the usual collection of paper.
- Consider how you are going to display work in class. The simplest method would be to link Apple TV to a projector but there are different programmes out there to link a desktop to the iPad. With Apple TV any iPad can be mirrored to the projector as long as the user knows the password. When students are aware their work could be displayed, at any time, it has a dramatic impact on their focus and productivity.
- Be prepared for lessons to change as students progress and have fun doing it. There are so many opportunities to personalise a lesson for the student(s) when they have a device in front of them. As long as the objective is kept in mind the students can find themselves all doing something different to get to the same result!
- Ask for feedback from everybody. Peers, observers and students are integral to the development of iPad use in the classroom. Students are always honest and are happy to say what went well and/or badly.
- Share your experiences – on Twitter, on a blog or in the staffroom. So many people are willing to help or discuss iPad use it makes sense to make use of the free professional development.
After a year of iPad use, it is clear to me that it can be a very effective tool for learning. Students and educators can all learn together with the device and it complements existing methodology. It does take sustained effort and an acceptance there will be challenges to overcome, however, it is definitely worth it.
Please add any other pointers in the comments section. Contributions are much appreciated.