Apple's iPads are quickly becoming a popular and powerful educational tool for classrooms. Beyond the immediate benefit of engaging students, iPads can improve education efficiency and standards. However, many teachers are unsure of how to use them effectively. Coupled with concerns over the costs involved, iPad implementation in schools is seen as an unnecessary and expensive risk.
As the case studies below demonstrate, iPads are being used in education environments around the world with great success. Teachers can have paperless classrooms, take attendance, share interactive presentations and test their students—all on their iPad.
So just what are they doing? Education Dive has compiled a list:
1. SHOW MATH PROCESSES, NOT JUST ANSWERS
Presidio Middle School in San Francisco, California uses iPads to teach students algebra. While the material is the same in the textbook, the iPad helps students understand how to solve math problems because they can view videos explaining the material as many times as they need.
2. POLL STUDENTS
Julie Wilcott, a science teacher at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, uses the eClicker app to poll her students on what they know and don't know, which allows her to spend more time teaching the lessons they struggle with.
3. GO ON VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS
Most students and schools cannot afford to take a field trip to another country. However, Monica Mitchell, a fifth-grade teacher at Albert Harris Elementary in Martinsville, Virginia, took her class on virtual field trips to the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth, England and Yellowstone National Park using the Skype app for the iPad. Mitchell projected the tour of the Royal Navy Museum onto the SmartBoard in her classroom where students were able to interact with the museum guide and ask questions.
4. TAKE ATTENDANCE
Lonnie Strickland, Professor at the University of Alabama, is testing out an iPad app that tracks student's attendance and participation. While that particular app hasn't hit the market yet, Apple already has an app to take attendance for teachers called Attendance.
5. PROVIDE INTERACTION WITH MATH AND PHYSICS CONCEPTS
Chris Williams, the Mathematics Co-ordinator at Spring Cottage Primary School in Hull, England, has a list of ten interactive iPad apps that helped him teach math to his students. Red Bull Kart Fighter, a track racing game, helped teach students how to calculate averages. International Snooker was used to help students solve problems such as, how many ways are there to score a set amount of points? Angry Birds, a catapult game with high scores, was used to help teach students how to order and partition large numbers. Similarly, John Burk, a ninth-grade physics teacher at Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, used Angry Birds to teach students constant velocity and constant acceleration.
6. NURTURE CREATIVITY WITH STORYTELLING PLATFORMS
Educators at Ringwood North Primary School in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, created the Epic Citadel Challenge to foster storytelling, creative collaboration and individual initiative. Students used their experiences in the virtual landscape to tell a story in the medium of their choosing.
7. CONVERTS WORDS INTO RAPS
The Holy Family School in Ashland, Ky., is taking advantage of teacher and student-friendly apps that convert educational texts into engaging material for students. For example, AutoRap will take your words and turn them into a rap and Strip Designer enables the creation of comic strips.
8. GO PAPERLESS
Jackson Christian School in Jackson, Tenn., has virtually paperless classrooms. Students no longer carry binders and textbooks, while teachers administer tests on their iPads.
9. ENGAGE THE DISENGAGED
Educators at Manor Lakes P-12 Specialist School in Wyndham Vale, Victoria, Australia, found that the iPads were most effective in prompting their most disconnected students to interact in the classroom and have fun while learning. For example, the iBooks and Marvel Comics apps were used to engage students in reading.
10. IMPROVE PRESENTATIONS
Federico Pavano, teacher and technology director at Immaculata-La Salle High School in Miami, Fla., uses Nearpod, an iPad app that creates slide presentations. Nearpod enables Pavano to fill his presentation with text, images, videos and surveys while allowing him to control the speed and flow of the lesson as students interact with the material.
11. ENHANCE PHYSICAL EDUCATION
SPARK, a health and physical education program, has an app for PE classes. PE teachers at Eastlake Middle School in Chula Vista, California use SPARK to record student's physical activity and show them how to refine their movements.
12. GRAPH DATA
Julie Garcia, a teacher at Innovation Middle School in San Diego, California, uses the iPad to show students how to graph data and look for correlations.
13. TURN IN ASSIGNMENTS
Leslie Langham, a seventh-grade English teacher, uses Dropbox, a free file sharing app, to post homework assignments. Students turn them in using the app and she then grades and returns them all on Dropbox.
14. TAKE NOTES
Christina Weltmer, a science teacher at Garden City High School, was actually taught by one of her students on how to use Notability, the iPad app that enables the user to take notes, record lectures and annotate PDFs.
15. IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS
David Andrews, a Year 6 teacher at Spring Cottage Primary School in Hull, England, has a blog where he posts case studies of iPad implementation in his school. His fellow teacher, Mr. Williams, used Bike Baron, a motorcycling game, to improve his student's writing skills by having them write about their experiences playing the game.
16. SHARE LECTURES
Jesse Lazzuri, a science teacher at Saint Andrew's School in Savannah, Ga., used Keynote, part of iWork, to enable teachers to share lectures with students. Students could access lectures whenever they needed and were able to learn at the pace that suited them best.
17. ASSIST SPECIAL NEEDS LEARNING
Warringa Park School, a special needs institution in Hopper's Crossing, Victoria, Australia, has a list of apps which have been particularly successful in teaching students who have special learning needs. Proloquo2Go aids students who have trouble speaking. Mad Addition, Mad Subtraction and Mad Multiplication help students learn math and have fun while doing it. Red Fish 4 Kids assisted students in learning how to spell.
Similarly, First Words Animals aids with letter and word identification. Jack and the Beanstalk Children's Interactive Storybook helps keep students engaged as they learn how to read. Whizzit 123 and Toddler Counting helped students with numeracy. Likewise, the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia allows teachers to maintain a group learning environment even with students who cannot leave their hospital beds and do not have fine motor skills.
18. DECREASE EXPENSES
While iPads are often seen as a luxury, a study by Oklahoma State University reported that iPad implementation actually decreased costs for students and schools because they reduced and sometimes nullified the need for physical textbooks.
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