Getting Technical – Innovative Ways to Use the iPad in the Classroom

With its sleek design, Apple scored a home run with the iPad. Now it’s common to see these handy devices on planes, trains and in automobiles, in offices… in fact, just about anywhere. This includes the classroom, where it has dawned on schools that iPad can be innovative way to teach students, and help them to get the most out of learning.

Less of the mundane “Open your books and turn to page 5” — the iPad is here. Below are some tips on how to use the iPad to engage pupils and have them looking forward to lesson time, rather than counting down the seconds until the home time bell rings.

Get kids reading

Parents will thank you for this one: downloading the classics to the iPad. Thanks to the Project Gutenberg, people can access the classic novels for free. Reading through the iPad will feel cooler to the kids, rather than the nerdish image of carrying around a pile of books. Go for a novel with some pace or adventure, such as Treasure Island, and the kids may just discover more of a passion for reading than merely watching videos on these versatile devices.

Get kids doing

Sometimes, when the teacher performs an action, the students aren’t so impressed. In fact, as the teacher, they’ll likely expect you to complete an action or task skillfully and successfully (they’re so demanding!). Put a video on YouTube of somebody doing something and it’s a whole new story, you’ll suddenly have their attention. Now that they’re engaged, why not use your iPad to demonstrate a hands-on task? If they have an iPad with them, they can go to the video (in and out of class) and repeat it as many times as they need to.

Get them forming opinions

Display a picture or series of pictures from the news headlines and generate some discussion (but don’t let it get too heated, of course!). Naturally, you can also play association games by displaying an image and asking them to name words that they relate to the image, or even make them give an improvised presentation on the subject matter.

Get them blogging

The power of digital is such that the sooner kids can become digital savvy, the better. Why not trigger their interest in websites by using apps and encouraging them to create a simple blog. They can then post pictures that they’ve made on their iPad and create their own portfolio. They’ll be so proud to showcase their little masterpieces!

Get them revising

Instead of telling them some of the usual study tricks, why not show them how to create mind maps on their iPad so that they can use it as a study aid? This will help them tremendously with revision, particular when it comes to remembering words in foreign languages or history dates, since they’ll be much easier to visually. This is also a good way to plan out a project.

Teaching is a tough task. Kids have such short attention spans, so anything that can hold it and encourage them to learn is welcome. The iPad is just be the tool that some teachers have been already using, and others are just beginning to explore.

Darren Sherwood is a high school teacher and technology enthusiast. Outside of the classroom he loves to follow his favorite team, the Denver Broncos.


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