iPad in every TEACHER’S hand


cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by Tsubaki Kaworu
I recently got an iPad 2. Well, I should say my wife recently got one that I have claimed as my own. Being an Apple guy myself, I was prepared for most of what it had to offer, but was pleasantly surprised by many features I didn’t expect. As I played I found that the iPad, in combination with Google Apps, the iOS5 software upgrade, Dropbox, and Diigo, served MANY purposes for me as a classroom teacher, and it got me thinking…

I have been in on conversations about the validity and affordability of setting up every student with an iPad or other tablets. I always have advocated for devices like these in the classroom, the ones our students will be using in their near futures (or for many, right now!). What I noticed the more I played with it was that it really could serve teachers in a large number of ways.

1) Digital Camera/Video Camera

In most schools I have worked in, the school makes a large financial commitment to ensure the school has a number of cameras, for documenting school events, for classroom activities etc. Along with the cost of the cameras comes the cost of memory cards, batteries and cases. There is also a hassle with making sure the batteries are charged, the disc has enough room and that the camera works. I have done more video recording in the past two weeks with my iPad then I have in the previous 10 years I have taught. It is so easy to use, the camera works quickly, and the files are easily transferable and archived using cloud resources.

2) Mobile Assessment

I have always found it difficult to circulate around my classroom and accurately record assessment of my students at work. Whether I scribbled stuff down in a duo tang, or on a prepared form, I never felt like it worked very well. The other day, as I was working in my Robotics/Technology option, I whipped up a quick Google Form with check boxes and specific criteria I was looking for. That, in addition to video of the students at work, made for easy assessment of their collaborative use of the technology provided to create a robot that could complete the assigned task.

3) Supporting Resources

So I am big on finding a video, an online article, a picture or simply a concept explained in another fashion. If I am teaching integers I want to relate the lesson to as many different real world examples as I can, and in as many types of media as possible. If in my class I saw students having trouble with negative integers, I would try and find some footage relating to bank accounts, temperature or maybe a sport like golf or football to express this in another way. It would probably require me to find a good video, hook up my projector, and stop the ENTIRE class to show my video clip, to help those 3 or 4 students who need the concept reframed. Well with my iPad, I can sit right beside a student and we can search for a video clip or article right at the desk, and watch it on the screen.

4) Planbook & Calendar

With some purchased app software I have been able to make my iPad work as a Teacher Planner, an efficient classroom calendar, and a nice place for reminders and to-do lists. Using cloud computing, I obviously can access these from multiple machines and can be sure that I always know what I need to prep, mark or plan for. You can of course have this on a laptop or a desktop computer, but I find the portability of the iPad means that I can easily take this to meet with my colleagues or administration and not have to worry about hauling a laptop and cords around with me.

I have only been using my iPad in class for a couple of weeks, so I know with more research and play time, I will find even more uses for it. The idea of dropping $600 on an iPad for each student quickly becomes a deal breaker for most administration, but $600 on every teacher is a different story, especially when it can take the place of other technology you may be purchasing.

One day, the idea of having an iPad in every students’ hands may be affordable and realistic for most schools, but for now I don’t believe that having an iPad in every teachers’ hands is that far fetched. What do you think? What am I missing?

41 thoughts on “iPad in every TEACHER’S hand

  1. Excellent post, you mirror most of the uses that I also use my Ipad for on a daily use. It’s a great tool and I think in the teachers hands it can totally change their interaction with the students and enhance learning in ways not before imagined. I totally 2nd the support of the use a document camera and video recorder.

  2. I carry around my Galaxy Tab all over the school. I use Evernote for all my notes for school, student council meetings and PD’s. I also use Google docs to help me with assessment as I wander the room too. I’ve also let students use my tablet as an eReader if they’ve forgotten their novel. Shhh, don’t tell my principal, but as a bit of reward for being on task and done, I let a couple students play Glow Hockey 2 on my tablet.
    I couldn’t imagine teaching without it now that I have it.

  3. Thank you for your post. I have since forwarded it to my principal and my husband. (HA) I have always felt my work needed streamlining, to be more efficient, as our time is precious, no? The tablet concept has always intrigued me, and being an Apple fanatic your post speaks to me loud and clear. Thank you!

  4. Yes! There is an app called Confer which I use to take notes on students, mostly during Reader’s and Writer’s workshops. I also can whip out a quick youtube video, for example today, when I was trying to show a student how plates have moved over the years to assist with his comprehension of a book on earthquakes.
    Unfortunately, my principal does not seem interested. I use my own and feel bad for others who do not have one!

  5. Jesse, I love this post. We have been talking a lot about getting technology into our buildings and I think this might be one of the best ways. It is reasonably affordable and more importantly getting them into teachers hands allows them to utilize them and understand how to apply them and use them with students.

  6. Great post, Jesse! I think you present very valid points and I agree completely! Thanks for explaining HOW you use it on a very regular basis, as this can often be the issue. Having the tools and technology is one thing, but using it effectively and to a great capacity is yet another. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  8. The ability to carry professional development with you every day and being able to access at any time. Downloading great content from iTunes U and having the ability watch or listen without internet is such an advantage with this device. Also, teachers have the ability to not only absorb content, but create content for each other and for their students with apps like iMovie, ScreenChomp, or ShowMe. Just so many possibilities…

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  12. One of my students brougt their own in to class while we worked on short skits. They recorded themselves and edited their work in a short period of time, and were all able to see how they needed to change or add things right away, making adjustments on the fly without sitting down at a computer and playing with downloading files and editing software. It was awesome. I think your wife should get me one too.

  13. Never think the Ipad or laptop for each student is far fetched. Think of what you do with it and then multiple that by 100 and that is what a student can do with it. They will amaze you.

  14. I use mine for everthing described. I love Evernote. If I’m having a difficulty with a student and need to bounce ideas off another teacher, I can photograph their work or record what they are explaining to me. Then when I have a chance to get with the other teacher I have my information right there. I have 9 ipads in my room 4 Ipad 1’s for students, 4 Ipad 2’s for students, one Ipad 2 I use for notes.

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  28. Use your iPad as a wireless whiteboard / presentation tool with SyncPad. This app lets you create a virtual room on the internet, where others can connect and see what you write on your iPad. A computer connected to a projector just needs to go to your virtual SyncPad room and project what you are writing or presenting from your ipad.

  29. Thanks for a great post. The multi-faceted features of these devices offer some awesome classroom applications and the apps keep coming. I work in distance learning and see a huge advantage in portability for students on the move. New distance learning apps like Moodle Apps, Khan Academy apps and others written for portable devices are beginning to appear.

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  32. True, iPad is a very good instrument in educating the students. I believe that it would be helpful if students would also have iPads for note-taking. For me, I use the Ghostwriter Notes app whenever my teachers are discussing the lessons. It helps me on scanning my notes quickly.

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