Five BIG Themes for 2016 iPad Learning

Five BIG Themes for 2016 iPad Learning

I had the pleasure once again to work together with Richard Wells from New Zealand. He recently reworked his website from to Give it a look if you haven't checked it out lately!

2016 has arrived and iPad pedagogy has moved a long way in 6 years. Having iPads in your classroom is no longer about which exciting apps you can all use but more about empowering your students to discover and share their own iPad solutions for every situation. This requires collaboration between peers and a flexible mindset held by all in the room, including the teacher. It’s about building on new habits held by young people to connect, create and share their learning. It’s also about keeping in-touch with new developments to ensure our young people are ready for a rapidly changing world. Think less about teaching delivery or a “one-app-fits-all” model, and more about 21st century habits, and the development of an innovative mindset. (See this book for more details on this)

We hope these help!

Richard & Steve

1. Personalized Workflow & Control

Richard: Challenge your students to find their own workflows. They are great at discovering and sharing their own solutions within the class. Set class expectations to what any of these workflows should achieve, but make sure the learning requires an app and it’s not the app that forms the learning.

Steve: Be very familiar with how to share your student work. Know what is and what isn’t appropriate to share. Be an expert on cloud solutions like Google Drive and Dropbox. Know how to run a class blog or a class Edmodo account.

Learn how to use the many different share options within iOS 9

2. Chat and Safety

Richard: Ensure you have a class sharing / chat system. This is what most device handling students are used to. Make the opportunities and positive side of comment and discussion part of the learning journey as a class. At the moment, I’m trialling Classting.

Steve: Be sure your students know common online etiquette. Teachers should always have access to everything that is being posted and shared. Students should display respect towards both their peers and teachers.

Richard: Young people need to learn from mistakes whilst in the safer confines of the school, before the enter the workplace. This can not be done if online activities are banned at school.

3. Global connections

Richard: Talk a lot about creating and publishing creations, either to the class through the like of Edmodo or Classting, or to the world for comment.

Richard: Quadblogging offers a safe way to ensure feedback from peers around the globe. It’s this feedback that will spur students to produce more and better work.

Steve: Find two or three networks online that you can continually learn and share knowledge. You'll find some of your best educator friends will be people who you've never met in person (but wish to one day)!

Steve: Showcase both great work and positive connections with a class Twitter account, run from the teacher’s iPad. Great for widely recognising all achievements in the class.



4. Creativity

Richard: Utilise the creative advantage that iPads have over other devices. Given the importance of video in the world today, the fact that you can use the iPad like a movie camera means it still holds the edge over laptops and Chromebooks. Just make look into film craft (camera work & editing) to make sure the videos have real impact. Sketchnoting is great fun and is proven to improve the retention of information. Check out this LINK for info

Steve: Avoid just looking for apps that will aide you for a small portion of a lesson. Instead, find ways to use multiple apps to share what both you and your students create.

Read: Why Appsmash?

5. New iOS opportunities

  • New devices now benefit from the camera’s built-in ‘Slo-Mo’ ability. This can show incredible reactions and science moments in great detail.
  • The Notes app is part of iOS and finally now allows for drawing, markup and pics. This makes it a contender to be a key app for students’ note taking etc. Improvements to this once basic app now include the ability to embed maps, photos and websites into your notes. Add more sophisticated formatting and even sketch drawings directly into your notes. What used to be just a simple app for jotting down bits of information has become a worthy Evernote competitor, with its rich media additions.If you are an Apple fan, iOS now has iCloud Drive to replace any need for Google Drive, if you really want to make the most from your Apple device. All files types are ok and the Apple Docs can be edited by non-Apple people through a browser. On your iPad, there is now an iCloud Drive app where app your files can be viewed and accessed.

  • ‘Split View’ (new devices only) has made the iPad even more productive than it was. Simultaneously seeing 2 apps at once solves many problems that keep many people using their laptops etc.

  • Siri is getting really clever. If you’re not using Siri, I highly recommend giving it a go. E.g. If wanting to show the class last week’s pics: “Hey Siri, show me photos from last week”

  • The new back button makes working on the iPad that much easier and more convenient. Toggle between two apps with a tap of a button.

  • In the upcoming iOS 9.3 (out likely this Spring), educators will rejoice with the many new educational features, including teachers being able to control student iPads, and (finally) multi-user support. Read more here.


Although not as exciting as it may have been 3-4 years ago, opportunities with teaching with iPads are plentiful. As long as educators have the correct mindset, a positive attitude, and a continued willingness to learn and do better, iPads will maintain a strong tool in the classroom for many years to come.

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