Three Simple uses for iPads in the classroom
I've been trying to think of more ways to use the iPad in the classroom. We've had a great bank of iPads that have been useless because they can't be set up without the departmental passwords (which we haven't been able to obtain), and an additional small bank of iPads that were set up before the passwords changed. I don't really understand how that works, but decided to get started with the five that were available. I was also teaching some iPad demonstration lessons for teachers in my school, and some of these ideas were born from our discussions. I needed to use what was already available on the iPads.
1. Listening Post
This is an example of old ideas with new technology! The iPad can be plugged into a transmitter for a set of headphones so students can listen to stories without disrupting others. Obviously, students can listen to stories online, or read interactive book apps, but why not have students record their own stories or readers? I had one group record their reading of a reader for another group to follow along. The trick with this is to choose a book that the recording group should read fluently, and that the listening group will be reading at an instructional level. Our iPads didn't have an audio recording app, so we just recorded with video.
Students worked in small groups to conduct surveys, collect and represent the data, and present their findings to the class. We had Draw Free, so I based the survey questions around the stamp images available in this app. Questions included things like: What is our class's preferred way to travel - car, train or plane? Students used the stamps in Draw Free to represent the data in a pictograph. We then plugged the iPads into the interactive whiteboards to display the graphs while students discussed what they had found.
|Tasks for students|
|Students cut these roles into strips, put them in a hat and selected one to determine their role in this task|
|Example of pictograph|
3. Story Making
Prue had a great idea to make stories with felt boards, take photos and have students write their story on paper. She then printed the photos and made them into books for students to read. We took this idea and explored it with the iPads. Again, students created pictures using the felt boards. They took photos with the iPads and wrote their story on paper. We then used a story making app - Story Creator - to make the 'books'. Students inserted their photos and recorded the audio for the story. We viewed the finished products on the interactive whiteboard.
|Students working cooperatively on story making task|
|Example of felt board story page|
Why use the iPads for tasks that can be done without them?
It's true that at times it takes more effort to organise lessons around iPads (or any other ICT for that matter) but using them increases student engagement in lesson content and gives students an opportunity to develop ICT skills. Due to the limited numbers of iPads, I feel that it also leads to greater use of collaborative tasks which help students to cooperate and share both ideas and resources. Outcomes in the Australian Curriculum call for greater use of ICT as a way of demonstrating understanding and creating content.