10 ways to use iPads in classrooms
Across the education sector, tablets in schools are becoming a common phenomenon, allowing teachers to harness the power of technology to improve the learning journey in a host of different ways.
From research to education apps and interactive experiences, here are 10 ways to use tablets in the classroom…
Whether it’s researching a history assignment or looking up the foreign translation of a word, iPads and mobile tablets are akin to having a library at the student’s fingertips.
They can quickly source information and news, collect it, copy it and cite it, then use it to further their own learning journey.
Importantly students can research wherever there is an internet connection and without leaving their desks.
Alternately classrooms or school libraries can have a dedicated tablet area, where a bank of iPads or tablets is available for use.
Utilizing fixed iPad holders or tablet holders and devices, this area can serve as a research or learning zone, allowing a group of students to remain occupied as the teacher spends time one-on-one with students who are in need of additional guidance.
From math’s apps, to early literacy games, there are a wealth of apps designed specifically for the education sector.
Often this tablet-based software also caters to different styles of learning, with visual cues like words, pictures and diagrams, audio cues like spoken words and music, and then virtual rewards when the student achieves success.
In many cases, these apps make learning a game, tapping into the student’s imagination and engaging them in a whole new way.
Because tablets are akin to tiny computers, in high schools and higher learning they’re an ideal tool for tasks like notetaking.
Rather than writing reams and reams of notes in class, then later converting them into assignments or study aids, students can type notes directly to their tablet.
They can then better organize this information, store it where they need it, study when they wish to and employ it when they should.
Reading and audio books
Courtesy of audio books and e-books, the digital world is a vast virtual library and tablets are the ideal device to engage with it.
It’s no longer the case that a school library or a student is dependent on the physical availability of a book at a specific moment in time, and now schools can save significant costs on textbooks by enabling students to read them in electronic form.
Gone are the days of cardboard and cutouts when it comes to projects and presentations. Now students can compile presentations quickly and easily on a mobile device using readily available software like PowerPoint or Keynote.
The information can then be relayed to a larger screen in the classroom, allowing the student to walk through their findings in a presentation that can feature images, dot points, video, and sound.
Photography and video
Tablets and iPads allow students to capture information in ways that previously required expensive extra equipment. For example, they can video a science experiment to re-examine the results, photograph their artworks for a portfolio or assignment, or record a performance.
The sheer convenience and accessibility of tablets is making them a natural choice when it comes to school assessments and national testing.
Rather than handing out reams of paper, students simply log in, access the test paper and complete the assessment online.
In instances like national testing, this allows for faster collation and marking of the test papers, while also saving on a mountain of paper and postage.
And it’s set to become a more common practice over the coming years. In Australia, for example the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is currently moving online, with all students expected to complete it digitally by 2021.
Teaching and Administration
In the hands of the teacher, a tablet or iPad is a device that can streamline much of their daily administration while also offering a teaching aid. They can access student results quickly, take notes about their progress, mark their work, or even mark the role from one simple device.
In Canada, high-school teacher Nadine Korte explains she uses iPads as a visual aid when teaching in a bid to keep her “students interested and involved”.
Korte projects mathematical problems from her iPad to the classroom screen, marks work on the go and showcases the student’s correct answers.
“I have noticed that attendance has improved in my classes and that students are learning more since they have begun participating in active learning activities,” she reflects.
Tablets allow students to explore the world from the comfort of their own environment and increasingly that exploration is becoming more and more immersive.
Video, along with augmented reality and virtual reality enables them to experience a different environment as if they were really there, walking through the pages of history, touring foreign cities or looking at cultural icons.
In 2018, Apple took this to a whole new level, making a play for iPads in schools to utilise augmented reality.
Unveiling their affordable, education focussed iPad, they noted art history could spring to life by virtually hanging world-renowned artworks on a classroom wall or biology students could virtually explore the inner workings of animals like frogs and even dissect them without making a single cut.
With apps like Skype and Zoom, experts can be brought into the classroom virtually to assist with specialist areas of learning. Due to the two-way nature of this video conferencing communication, not only can the guest speak to students, but the students can ask questions of them.
How to employ tablets in the classroom
There are a host of ways educators can incorporate mobile devices like tablets into the learning environment - from individual devices that are allocated to a student to a bank of devices which are set up as kiosks using a tablet holder or iPad holder.
In addition, tablets can often be wirelessly connected to the classroom smart board, courtesy of features like Apple TV or Chromecast, allowing one simple device to cater to interactive learning in a wealth of different ways.
You can learn more about the benefits of using tablets in education here, while Bosstab provides tablet stands and iPad stands for classrooms that can easily be installed with freestanding base options for mobility or a fixed screw mount option.