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Congratulations! You just received your first iPad. Imagine the possibilities! I know what you’re thinking. This new piece of technology can help me…where do I start? This is often a common reaction the first time a tablet is placed into an educator’s hands. The possibilities are so great and the apps are so numerous, it can be tough to know where to start. Since a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, here are some suggestions to help educators begin using their iPads in the classroom. As the basics become mastered, feel free to try new ways to use this tool in your classroom. Make sure to let us know how you are using iPads to enhance your teaching in the comments section below.
One of the quickest (and easiest) ways to begin using the iPad in the classroom is to utilize it as a way to record and track attendance. The ability to store records electronically and have a program handle tracking proves to be a huge time saver. Try this app to get started:
TeacherPal allows teachers to easily create classes and add students to them. Once names are input, simply tap on the appropriate student’s icon to record them as present, absent, or tardy (or whatever groupings you decide to create).The app can also be used to record grades and track behavior, although these features require a steeper learning curve. Faces can also be added for each student profile using the iPad camera. For tutorials on how to use this app to its fullest capabilities, click here.
Edit Written Assignments
Tired of carrying large stacks of essays home to grade? Not only is it tough to balance that overstuffed folder while opening a car door, marking papers with red ink for long periods of time can make even the seasoned educator fall slip into a daze. Assuming you have a class that can submit their written assignments online, editing papers electronically can save time and printer ink. Students often enjoy receiving their graded assignments electronically as well, as it is stored safely for reference at any time and allows for changes to be made right in the word processing program based on the educator’s comments and markings. If you’d like to cut down on the paper and grade essays from the iPad, try this app:
GoodReader allows iPad users to view virtually any document on the iPad, including PDFs, Microsoft office files (.doc) and other text files (.doc and .rtf). It is important to note that in order to mark a paper with annotations, it must be a PDF file. If students can be instructed on how to email their work as PDF files, you will have the ability to insert comments, highlight text, and create lines, arrows, rectangles, ovals, cloudy shapes, text underlines, strikeouts and text insertion marks.Once papers have been graded a simple click of the mouse allows for edited docs to be emailed, printed (to a wireless printer) or saved to a cloud storage system. No more paper trail!
Use Your Computer on the iPad
Yes, you read that correctly. It is possible to have full control of your laptop or desktop from the iPad, whether the computer is in the room or not. This may seem pointless at first, but not all things that can be accomplished on a computer can be accomplished on the iPad (yet). To bridge this gap, try this app:
Splashtop Remote Desktop
Splashtop has managed to create an app that takes the often-complicated process of setting up a remote desktop and turns it into a dead-simple process. Simply install this app on the iPad and create a user name and password. From there, go to the Splashtop website and download the streamer for your desktop/laptop (free). Input that same user name and password and voilà! Your computer screen shows up on your iPad. Use this app when you need to get to a file on your computer, when you need to show a flash-based video to your class or just need to run a Windows-only program when your regular computer isn’t available.
Call On Students in Class
When review time or sharing sessions come along, teachers can often struggle to find ways to get every student involved in the conversation. The delicate balance of checking for understanding and encouraging whole-class participation can be accomplished by using this neat iPad app:
The Popsicle stick method of calling on students randomly is as old as the apple for the teacher. Now this procedure can be digitized. Simply input student names (which can be organized into classes) and give your device a shake to mix up the student sticks. From there, students’ answers are tracked based on the quality of the response. Teachers can assign a rating to each student’s answer by selecting on a scale of 0-5 on a critical thinking rubric (Bloom’s Taxonomy) or an elaboration rubric (ESL). Student progress is recorded automatically and can be e-mailed to parents with the tap of a finger. No more soup cans cluttering up that desk!