Technology Integration Subscribe to RSS

Teaching and Learning: Using iPads in the Classroom

| Ben Johnson

Updated 01/2014

If I had thirty iPads in my class, what would I do with them? How would I use them to help my students learn better and help me teach better? Perhaps a better question is what would I do with them that I could not do with other tools that are available and cheaper? Certainly iPads are cheaper than computers, desktop or laptop, and they are more mobile.

Speaking of computers, they were supposed to be the transformation of teaching and learning as we know it. In some ways there has been a transformation, but the basics of teaching and learning have remained unchanged. Perhaps, the iPad will be the tool that really does transform classroom practice. With that, I'd like to share some of the unique features of the iPad and apps, some free, to take advantage of and explore.

Kinesthetic Learners

The iPad has a number of unique features that provide for interesting possibilities in teaching and learning. The motion sensor of the iPad has a number of intriguing applications to learning. Most students today would be classified as bodily-kinesthetic learners. The motion sensor allows students to use their hands in guiding the iPad to equilibrium, balance skills, or remote control of real or virtual robotics, hovercraft, or other vehicles. Students can use the Clineometer app for measuring the level of a wall, or surface, and also the precise angles of incline, or decline. With the internal accelerometers in the iPad, physics experiments of acceleration or change in force can be measured. Imagine taking the iPad with you on a roller coaster ride. Imagine calculating angles and force and then shooting odd birds from a slingshot, destroying buildings and colliding with green pig heads (ever heard of Angry Birds?) Rubberized iPads and iPods in gym class can measure levels of exertion, balance, and repetitions.

As a completely portable learning tool, the iPad camera allows documentation to be taken to a whole different level. An app called Field Notes LT not only allows students to take copious notes of their observations, it attaches the date, time, GPS location and photographs of what is observed. These notes can be instantly shared, collaborated, and published in the field.

Students can also attach videos, and voice recordings to their field notes. They can dictate to the iPad using the Dragon Dictation app and it will type their words. With the iPads in the same network but in different locations, using the Assemblee app, students can create a collaboration web to share findings and discuss conclusions about different perspectives of the same project.

In math class the GPS of the iPad establishes locale in ways that are profound. Students can use the included Map app to calculate the distances, compare routes, and actual speeds of the westbound and the eastbound trains common in word problems. The mathematics involved with trip planning and decision-making are brought to life with actual real-time photographs, maps, and weather data provided by the Google Earth app, Big Blue Marble HD, and many others. The App called TourWrist allows students 360 degree views -- "tours" of locations of interest throughout the world. With DerManDar the students can take their own 360 degree pictures of places they visit.

Connecting Beyond the Classroom

Of course, the mobility provided by the iPad's wireless telephone connection capability allows the unprecedented access to the Internet anywhere students are. This is truly information on demand. As questions arise, students can google for clues and insights to begin their studies. Even more powerfully though, through the iPad phone connection, students can have access to volumes of primary source documents and data to help in their investigations in or out of the classroom, on the bus, in a restaurant, or at the football game.

Because iPad's do not have USB ports, disk drives or CDROM/DVD capability, methods for sharing data with other computers and devices over the Internet or "cloud" have been developed. Drop box allows students set up a personal account in which they can store iPad created documents, photos, fieldnotes, etc. And they can access those documents from any other computer or Internet capable device. Evernote will help students keep track of their notes and Mendeley will organize their research documents and let them take their research done on their computers with them, wherever they are going. The Project Gutenburg allows students to download thousands of classic books to be read on any number of free book reader apps available. With the HMH Fuse app, students have at their fingertips the entire Houghton-Mifflin Algebra One book along with exercises and tools for learning algebra.

While walking around the classroom and interacting with students, teachers can control their computers from their iPad with the Remote Mouse app. With a simple cable, teachers can use their iPads to present their unique and creative Prezi presentation made on their computer by using the iPad application called Prezi Player. The teacher can control the document by simply pinching, twisting and sliding their fingers across the face of the iPad.

Aside from the gazillions of games, tutoring, and pointless apps available for free, a diligent teacher can find treasures of apps for their iPads that engage and challenge the student minds in creative ways. Some of my favorites are Lasers Free, Trainyard EX, Play Chess, Words with Friends, and Contre Jour (not free, but worth the $.99).

How do you use iPads in the classroom to help teaching and learning?

see more see less

Comments (35)

Comment RSS
4th grade STEM teacher from Richfield, Minnesota

Thanks for all the comments!

Was this helpful?
0

A team from my school is going to be attending a course in using ipads in the classroom. Thanks for all of your comments on how you are using them with your students. I am anxious to take the class and see all the various applications to classroom use.

Administrator, author and educator

Door stops or Useful Ipads

Was this helpful?
+1

I would like to congratulate you on sharing some wise advice. Without good software, the Ipad is an expensive door stop, paper weight or frisbee. Fortunately, a dilligent person can find a lot of free stuff to get started. Most free stuff is the light version and if you like it, then you get the full version.

Ben Johnson
San Antonio, TX

Quote:

I've talked to schools who are setting aside lots of budget for hardware upgrades -- iPads or tablets -- and then have nothing left with which to purchase software. One school even claimed to have spent $2k/student on laptops this year, but could not afford another dime for anything to install on to them beyond what was packaged. There seems to be some notion that once you have the hardware, you can just access the "market" to get whatever "apps" you want for little or no cost. I'd like to just remind everyone that beyond books (hopefully you'll be buying fewer of these soon) and hardware there is still a lot of great *web-based* educational software (apps) that you should be shopping. In other words, a market of low-cost/free market apps is not the panacea of education that some expect it to be.

Administrator, author and educator

Apps Galore

Was this helpful?
+1

Carlton:

Here are some Apps you might be interested in: (all Free by the way)

VideoScience by ScienceHouse
Life Science (this is an interactive book edited by CSLS the University of Tokyo)
Science 360 by the National Science Foundation
Science Fun to Go (books and stuff by Seymour Simon)
Science Lab by Axion Industries
3D Cell Stain- Molecular Probes-by Life Technologies

Math Ref Free
HMH Fuse Algebra 1 and 2 and Geometry books by Holt McDougal
Easel Algebra
Pre-Algebra Challenge by Barron
Hot Potato
Free GraCalc
PocketCAS
InnerCalc
IFactor

I hope that is enough to get you started. There are a lot of apps that you can pay for if you want to too.

Ben Johnson
San Antonio, Texas

Quote:

I just started at a school where each student has access to their own iPad. I have begun using it abit for my Math and Science classes. I have also been given the freedom to put in requests for apps to be put onto the iPads. I would like to know of good apps for Biology , Earth Science, Algebra and Geometry. I am excited to browse more topics in Edutopia.

Administrator, author and educator

Voice Recorders

Was this helpful?
0

Sarah:

One of the most enjoyable recording Apps is the one that my son uses all the time called Talking Carl. All the other ones are copies of this one. Enjoy.

Ben Johnson
San Antonio, TX

Quote:

I love using ipads in my classroom and am constantly searching for ways to utilize them for my instuctional teaching time and not just enrichment games. I recently started using this Base Ten app to help teach them the concept of numbers, including addition and subtaction practice. I think it'd also work perfect starting from 1st grade up: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/base-ten-number-blocks/id474636096?mt=8I also use Voice Recorder a lot for fluency practice!

Administrator, author and educator

Learning with the IPAD

Was this helpful?
0

Serge:

That is wonderful. I downloaded an App to learn Hawaiian, Chinese and Italian with flash cards on my Ipad. I noticed that using Itunes you can tap into some universities like MIT and learn about particle physics or almost anything you want. It is the full lecture by the professor. It is all free!

Thanks for sharing.
Ben Johnson
San Antonio, Texas

Quote:

The author forgot to mention such a wonderful tool for students as podcasts. Available on Apple iTunes, students can listen to the audio lessons directly on their iPads. Large screen allows them to view PDF transcripts as well, which is much more convenient than on iPhone.

I have created a program that consist of over 200 audio lessons with accompanying PDF transcripts, worksheets, video lessons that teach writing Chinese characters etc. it's very convenient to print the necessary PDF files right from your iPad, especially when you need to work on the lesson worksheets.

Check out this podcast on iTunes:

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=1198434... Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk

www.melnyks.comLanguage Courses

140 Ratings

Regards,

Serge

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mandarin Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk

www.melnyks.comLanguage Courses Online

Administrator, author and educator

Planets and Such

Was this helpful?
0

Barb:

I found a couple of cool apps that you might be interested in. Here they are :

Our Solar System an overview of the planets, by little Workshop and John Rouda
Mars Globe
Moon Globe
another one you might be interested in is:
Video Science by ScienceHouse

Have fun!

Ben Johnson
San Antonio, TX

Quote:

I use the NASA app for our after school NASA Explorers School Program. For the 2nd and 3rd graders, studying the planets gives them such a visual placement of the planets with the info as well. THEY ARE WOW-ed by it! I just found the Hubblesite app -- so wonderful. It opens their world -- that means alot for the low income Title 1 population that I have as students. I have already heard that many of them will become astronauts and be in the space program. That's what STEM is all about!!!

Administrator, author and educator

Discussion of Ipads

Was this helpful?
0

Nathan:

You hit the nail on the head. Just like all of the latest gizmos and do dads in technology that sit on teacher shelves or hang on the walls, the ipad does no good if we are not willing to adjust our teaching to maximize the benefits.

I received several lessons from my son on how to utilize my ipad. He has had an Ipod for several years already. In fact, he has shown me several "apps" that are quite ingenious. How he learned about them, I can only guess that some teachers are using them at school, but more likely, his network of friends are the source. Ipads are student learning tools, like a pencil or a pen-- a tool to help them think better.

Ipads take the idea of mobility to a much higher level than lap tops. Passing one around the class is a wonderful idea of maximizing the use of the tool, as long as the others who are waiting to use the Ipad are doing productive things.

Good post!

Ben Johnson
San Antonio, Texas

Quote:

The one thing I have noticed about students is that they always seem to know more about their phone than their laptop or desktop. The iPAD seems to take the know they already have of how their phone works and reduces the amount of time it takes to teach how an application works and leads to more time to teach the material. I have had a few folks tell me their is not an app that will do what I want to do. My usual response is if you take this app, this other app, and finish up with this last app, you can achieve the same results. It's called application fluency. Teaching students that not everything is located in one app will help facilitate creativity. Students lack of creativity is for another discussion.

With iOS 5 and wireless projection, it adds a layer that laptops can not match. For schools that can afford only a few iPADs, a teacher could have one and pass it around the classroom. There are several apps that can create local networks without have to access a website through a firewall. Shareboard allows 4 ipads to share a whiteboard space to collaborate. There are several other apps that can do the similar tasks.

The iPAD also requires less admin resources than a laptop or desktop. This was an interesting article and one that should be discussed.

Why iPADs

Was this helpful?
+1

The one thing I have noticed about students is that they always seem to know more about their phone than their laptop or desktop. The iPAD seems to take the know they already have of how their phone works and reduces the amount of time it takes to teach how an application works and leads to more time to teach the material. I have had a few folks tell me their is not an app that will do what I want to do. My usual response is if you take this app, this other app, and finish up with this last app, you can achieve the same results. It's called application fluency. Teaching students that not everything is located in one app will help facilitate creativity. Students lack of creativity is for another discussion.
With iOS 5 and wireless projection, it adds a layer that laptops can not match. For schools that can afford only a few iPADs, a teacher could have one and pass it around the classroom. There are several apps that can create local networks without have to access a website through a firewall. Shareboard allows 4 ipads to share a whiteboard space to collaborate. There are several other apps that can do the similar tasks.

The iPAD also requires less admin resources than a laptop or desktop. This was an interesting article and one that should be discuss.

special ed. resource teacher K-6, STEM teacher

iPads in NASA Explorers School program

Was this helpful?
0

I use the NASA app for our after school NASA Explorers School Program. For the 2nd and 3rd graders, studying the planets gives them such a visual placement of the planets with the info as well. THEY ARE WOW-ed by it! I just found the Hubblesite app -- so wonderful. It opens their world -- that means alot for the low income Title 1 population that I have as students. I have already heard that many of them will become astronauts and be in the space program. That's what STEM is all about!!!

Mandarin Teacher

My students learn Mandarin by listening to podcasts on iPads

Was this helpful?
+2

The author forgot to mention such a wonderful tool for students as podcasts. Available on Apple iTunes, students can listen to the audio lessons directly on their iPads. Large screen allows them to view PDF transcripts as well, which is much more convenient than on iPhone.
I have created a program that consist of over 200 audio lessons with accompanying PDF transcripts, worksheets, video lessons that teach writing Chinese characters etc. it's very convenient to print the necessary PDF files right from your iPad, especially when you need to work on the lesson worksheets.

Check out this podcast on iTunes:
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=119843495

Mandarin Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk
www.melnyks.com
Language Courses
140 Ratings

Regards,

Serge
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mandarin Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk
www.melnyks.com
Language Courses Online

see more see less