5 Quick Things that every Classroom with iPads should do...
There are hundreds of thousands of things that iPad can bring to a school. The use of apps can range in complexity and longevity. You can dip your foot in the pool for a moment or bath in the wealth of applications associated with the technology. Neither way is the right way to approach iPad use or the wrong way. It all comes down to it’s effectiveness and relevance to the learning. That aside, there are plenty of quick little wins that teachers can embed into an iPad filled classroom. Quick things that can make a big difference. Here are just five suggestions that might be of interest…
1) The News App
With the latest couple of iOS updates, the ‘News’ app has appeared. This handy little feature enables children to hand pick publications and receive articles from them everyday. The news pieces are even filtered through each child’s interests. One pupil might want to know more about sport and another might have a keen interest in science. What better way to start the school day? The children can pick up their iPad and read some articles of interest to them.
2) The Clock App
Using the clock app as a classroom timer is still something that tends to pass some teachers by. The timer on the iPad is easily accessible through the home screen and the control panel and it’s easy to set. However, displaying the timer on the board to keep the children on track is only one quick way of using the app. If you regularly send groups of pupils out of the room to do some work in a quiet space, why not send them with a timer from the clock app. Simply ask them to set the timer before they leave the room and make it clear that when the alarm sounds, they need to come back.
3) The Messenger App
Another simplistic element of iPad use, that is often over looked by teachers, is the messenger app. Internal messaging between staff members has never been easier. The app itself uses the wifi to send text, audio or picture/video messages. We all use this kind of tech in our private lives but why not explore using it in school. Send a picture of a nice piece of work to the Headteacher. Message a colleague about the use of some resources. Video some good behaviour to send on to the SENCO. The possibilities are endless.
4) Reminders App
The Reminders App might be something that we use outside of the classroom. However, it’s a great tool for children to start using as well. We constantly look at ways of scaffolding learning. Breaking the objectives down into bitesize pieces. Some teachers ask the children to write down the ‘Good, Better, Best, X Factor’ goals. Which ever way you do it, the reminders app is great place to store the steps of a lesson. It’s designed specifically for list making. Type the steps in and tap on them to tick them off! Easy.
5) Music App
It seems so simple, but it really is an area of iPad use that is massively neglected by schools. The Music app is completely underused in my opinion. From a teaching point of view, you could have all sorts of pieces of music sat on your iPad ready to play. Soft music for long writing tasks. Frantic music for cleaning up the classroom. Fun music for the arrival of the children in the morning. What’s more, in a 1:1 situation, why shouldn’t you encourage your class to download music on their own device. with headphones and some good classroom management, there is no reason why each individual child couldn’t listen to their own music during ‘quiet reading’. The iPad sprang from the iPod. It’s strange to think that music is very much on the back burner when it comes to iPad use.
You might have noticed… None of the suggestions above involve downloading any extra apps on to your iPads. If you have devices in your classroom, these ideas are available to you right now. You might be doing all sorts of interesting work with your iPads that weave in and out of curriculum topics, enhancing the learning as it goes. That’s great! These ideas can be latched on to all of that. Whats more, they can be ‘latched on’ in a quick and simple way. With all the amazing things that can be achieved on these devices its easy to forget about all of the clever day-to-day elements of iPads that can make a real difference. Let the technology make your day easier. Use the apps to your advantage. Make the little things do big things.