Part 5: Start Simple
Teachers often share their apprehension about using iPads instructionally. The App Store is a daunting collection of content apps, utilities, and games. But instead of starting your search in the App Store, consider the things you do each day in class. My biggest recommendation to any teacher is to start the school year and use iPads as a tool in your normal routines. For instance, in my classroom we do a bell ringer activity daily. Instead of having students write their responses in a notebook, they use a Google Form and submit their answers online. They know to put their screens down after they are done, which is a part of our classroom management procedures to keep students from getting off task. I then use an iPad app called Class Dojo to call on students randomly. I also use frequent formative assessments. There are so many great tools for formative assessment that work great on iPads and most smart phones. Take a look at the list below and pick one or two to try.
Socrative - Create formative quizzes that auto-grade and give great data
Infuse Learning - similar to Socrative but has a great Draw Response feature
Google Forms - Powerful surveys that can be emailed, embedded in sites, auto-graded
Kahoot - A really fun review game that allows video/image questions
Nearpod - iPad app, allows PPT import, guides students through each slide, formative activities built in
Using your iPads as a part of these routines is definitely a time saver. It removes some clutter from the classroom and makes it easier for you to dive into formative data. It also is comfortable for you and easy for students. Slowly, you and your students will become more comfortable over time with using their devices for educational purposes.
Another method of starting simple involves rethinking the typical products students create to demonstrate their knowledge. Most of the time, we rely on notes, essays, and presentations to hear from students. With iPads and their lovely build in mic and camera, students can demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of creative ways. Instead of an essay, perhaps students prepare a photo essay and then record a voiceover walking you through the theme of a book using Shadow Puppet EDU. These are just a few simple examples to get you started. If you are looking for support in class or during the planning process, request a DLC!