Is it odd to imagine a classroom that does not use paper. Indeed, picture a whole class full of students using their iPads as their main tool to work. It is a little bit startling. But when you really think about it, it is a wonderful resource to use. The possibilities that are now open to you simply can’t be counted. There are dozens and dozens, all creative and useful. iPads were created by Apple, and are basically like small computers. They are easy to handle and move around, not very heavy, and kids simply love them. If parents have iPads at home, children will use them to draw, for example, and play a lot of different, fun games. However, iPads can be used for other things than playing games. They actually are an incredible tool to use in a classroom, and even improves it (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131210-ipad-learning-education-space-science/).
First, it is great for you as a teacher. By using iPads, you don’t have to worry about paper anymore. No more endless photocopies, no more losing the students’ work, since you can keep everything at the same place in your computer. It is also less confusing for the students, because they will also always have their work at hand wherever they are and will not lose it (no more ‘my dog ate my homework’ !). By using a software such as Google Drive, which I explored in an earlier blog, you can keep track of your students’ work very easily and make sure they do the assigned work.
There are a lot of apps you can use on the iPad to help you create fun, meaningful activities for your classroom (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1UJnqyK52X26az5zN5kr1ISTNPwbdUbxfG6M-9WMW4Do/present#slide=id.i133). As mentioned by Mr. Miller, you can use, for example, iMovie. This is a app that enables you to create small videos, like movie trailers. This a very fun project for your students. For example, they could write their screenplay on a Google document, then film themselves with the iPad, and finally edit the whole thing with iMovie, which suggests you a ton of fun “trailer themes” and helps you create an awesome, realistic movie trailer.
The iPad also gives you the opportunity to help your students practice their talking. This may sound odd, but it is actually a great idea (http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/iPadsintheClassroom.aspx). In high school, I remember exchanging letters with another student from Chicago to help me with my writing. Why not do the same, but with speaking ? You can ask your students to install Skype, make contact with another classroom someplace else in the world, and make your students correspond with them via Skype. It is easy, and not only does it make the students practice their oral proficiency, but it opens them to other cultures and gives them the opportunity to share and discover more about the world around them.
If you want to make your students read, but you are worried about actually being able to get the books, you can use your iPad. There is a wonderful application called iBooks, in which there are a lot of free books available to download. Jane Eyre, Dracula, there are a lot of possibilities. You won’t have to worry about the students forgetting their books at home because it will always be there, on the iPads. The students can bookmark the page at which they are so they don’t lose track. It is also much cheaper (http://www.emergingedtech.com/2013/09/the-many-benefits-of-using-ibooks-in-education/).
If you are worried that students might never listen to you in class because they are too busy playing Candy Crush on their iPads, don’t worry. There are a lot of resources that you can use to prevent this. You can always lock the iPad on just one app, the one you want your students to use (http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57605575-285/lock-the-ipad-to-just-one-app/), or you can block access to certain websites (Facebook, for example). You can also use more traditional ways, like asking them to turn their iPad screen around to keep their eyes focused on you.
iPads are a great tool to use, with a lot of possibilities. I believe it is the future of the classroom, and a great way to reach to the students.