“What can I do with only 1 iPad in my classroom?” Actually, you can do quite a bit!
Two years ago, I received an iPad. Immediately I was excited to incorporate this new technology into my lesson plans. I was determined that this piece of technology would not be hidden in a cupboard where the students would never see it in action. Fortunately, in the two years that I’ve had the iPad, its role in my classroom has changed dramatically. As I became more familiar with its capabilities, the iPad has moved from a stationary location at the front of the class to a more mobile unit used at each student’s desk.
At first, the iPad was primarily used as a video downloader. A great documentary on World War II? Downloaded. A quirky but effective video on the elements of a short story? Downloaded. An inspiring TED talk? Downloaded. No need to worry about that dodgy Wi-Fi connection as I could simply download the applicable clip and have it ready to go for the day’s lesson. Many headaches were averted due to this.
On top of the ability to by-pass weak Wi-Fi, I soon started testing out the myriad of educational apps offered. At the beginning of each semester, I would use the iPad to model the Evernote app and encourage my students to use it to organize their work. For my History 12 class, exploring Dan Snow’s amazing World War 2 app became a daily event as we ventured through the various battles. Instead of simply reading about Romeo scaling over the Capulet walls, Google Earth allowed us all to climb over with him. While playing a game of review Jeopardy, PickMeBuzzer eliminated the question of who buzzed in first. Apps like Skitch and Educreations allowed me record lessons, annotate maps or texts, save the documents, and share with the classes on Edmodo. At provincial exam time, students challenged each other to Quizlet playoffs by seeing who could match the Social Studies terms in the fastest time.
In the foreseeable future, our school will be rolling out a class set of iPads. Moving from a single iPad classroom to a 1:1 experience brings with it great excitement and anticipation. My DL co-coach and I plan on providing teachers in the school an in-service on how to effectively use the iPads in their classes. With the addition of these new iPads, apps such as the NFB Pixstop or PuppetPals that have been primarily dormant on my iPad will have new life breathed into them. And I can’t wait.