iPads in the Classroom:  A Summary of Tips

    These came from the list of 5 resources at the bottom of these pages.  It is more of a laundry list, with more information on those links. 

    I tried not to duplicate tips, but there may be a few similar thoughts, since this came from 5 different articles.


    1.     START CLASS WITH GOOD HABITS. Start out the day with a learning challenge like Google a Day to get students using and searching the iPad in a productive manner, instead of coming in to homeroom, advisory, or classroom and going into their own applications or searches.


    2.     IDENTIFY DEVICES. Use laminated name tags and have kids personalize their cases with a key chain. You can also ask each homeroom have a different key chain for easy identification.


    3.     PROVIDE A FEW WIRELESS KEYBOARDS. Though most kids will opt to use the iPad keyboard, the wireless keyboards will come in handy now and then.


    4.     DECIDE iTUNES POLICY (Josh/Greg have specific ideas on this)


    5.     FIGURE OUT WORKFLOW APPS. There are many different options, like Boxe-BackpackEvernote or DropBox to name just a few. Whichever system you decide upon, have everyone use the same system to ensure consistency and to minimize the need to troubleshoot different systems.


    6.     INDICATE YEA OR NAY. If you’re not using the iPad everyday, post a visual in the classroom for whether the iPad will be used that day in class. For example, a red light signals no iPad, a yellow light indicates maybe and a green light means get the iPad out and ready to use right away. This will save the daily question, “Are we using the iPads today?”


    7.     FOLLOW THE KIDS’ LEAD. Because of its mobility and versatility, unexpected opportunities will come up. Indulge the kids’ ideas, whether it’s to photograph parts of the campus and design math programs using proportional reasoning or to record and interview members of the community or to embark on a QR code treasure hunt.


    8.     BE FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE and make sure your school team adopts the same mindset. You can’t take on an iPad program and be rigid.


    9.     Make sure kids KNOW AND UNDERSTAND instructional expectations before iPads are permitted to be used.


    10. Arrange your classroom so that you're able to SEE ALL IPAD SCREENS easily.


    11. HAVE CLEAR PROCEDURES in place for what to do WHEN SOMETHING ISN'T WORKING. Should students ask peers or you for help (ask 3, then me?)? Should they be sent to tech support? Are there loaners available, or should they look on with another student? How you handle malfunctions will likely vary from lesson to lesson. As you get to know your students, you'll know which ones will be good tech helpers when something goes wrong.


    12. When appropriate, let the KIDS TAKE OVER THE TECH SUPPORT. It can be a huge time-saver as well as build self-confidence for your tech-savvy students.



    13. TEST THE SITES YOU PLAN TO USE AHEAD OF TIME. Make sure your school isn't filtering a resource you need (and try to do it enough in advance that your tech team can unblock something you need).  Make sure the new app/website doesn’t require an email verification process, if they do, you’ll want to start this 1-2 days before you plan to use the app/website.


    14. If you have a projector, use it to PROJECT THE CLASS "TO DO" LIST and a time frame. This can be a great reminder for students who may not be the best listeners during the lesson intro. Some teachers find timer widgets useful.


    15. COLLABORATE, collaborate, collaborate. Your peers both within and outside your may have great ideas to offer about classroom management and techniques/strategies to use in the classroom.


    16. CHOOSE SOME "COMMANDS" for classroom management and practice them with your kids. Some ideas:

    o   Hands on your heads, Reach for the stars... - hands off the ipads and someplace where you can see them

    o   Shut down, 5 minute warning - Shut down the ipad and pack it up.

    o   Nonverbals - music, chimes, light flash, bells, buzzers, timers, etc., can be used effectively to gain student attention during projects

    o   Visuals - give students a "flag" (colored index card, post-it, etc.) to put out when they need you for a non-emergency question rather than impatiently raising a hand.

    o   “apples up!” when you want the cover closed and their eyes on you


    17. DON'T BE AFRAID TO SEPARATE a child from an ipad when (or before) a situation worsens. Use your instinct.


    18. If a "TECH EXPERT" GETS OUT OF HAND in class ("That's not the way I do it!" or "I know a better way!"), remember that you're the adult (and remind as necessary). Yes, there may be more than one way that works, but sometimes you need to be willing to say that you acknowledge multiple methods, but you need students to do it your way this time. Sometimes this is best done in a private conversation; you don't want to bruise an ego if you don't need to, and you don't want to get sucked into a power struggle.


    19. Don’t say “no”, TELL THEM WHY:

    o   We don’t post that because everything on the internet lasts forever.

    o   We don’t post our full names online because…

    o   We listen to people because, at some point, we will want to be listened to.

    Digital natives are a myth.  Seriously, they are.  The kids are fearless, but they don’t know what to do.  Individualize and differentiate learning butcreate a common unifying experience for all.

    20. BE WILLING TO LOOK FOOLISH and collaborate. Students will have to help you. A mental shift has to occur. Teachers are no longer the keepers and disseminators of knowledge but become facilitators of learning. iPads kick this shift into high gear


    21. DON'T FEEL PRESSURE to have the iPads out all the time.


    22. Initial misconception was they had to do everything, all the time, every day with the iPad. It's ok to TAKE BABY STEPS. Take on one thing at a time. First, focus on getting content to the students via the iPad. Then, tackle collecting work via the iPad, etc.


    23. ESTABLISH EXPECTATIONS EARLY ON. For example, they WILL use their school issued email and they WILL set it up correctly. Put a correct name in there so the recipient knows who is sending the email.


    24. Even with all of the awesome apps, EMAIL is one of the best tools they have. They work a lot with kids on proper format, using school email not personal, etc.


    25. Science teacher says she often LECTURED FROM APPS instead of her PowerPoints. For example, when looking at anatomy of foot, she can use an app to turn a 3D model on her screen and talk about it. Better understanding for students!


    26. In science one teacher had about 75% of her kids doing things completely paperless and turning in assignments through New Annotate or Google Docs. Sent assignments back to them with grades and comments.


    27. In the classroom, students use TEXTBOOK STANDS for their iPads. They use the small size of these stands.This keeps the iPads out of way of other student materials.


    28. In presenter's classroom, students get all their materials out in the morning and randomly go to iPad cart to get their iPad out. (Don't create a line of kids at the cart!)


    29. Keep iPad in textbook stand on inside corner of desk. Less chance of iPad getting knocked on the floor.


    30. Plug ear buds into iPad all day long even if they aren't used: keeps iPads muted when using apps. Use a hanging wall chart w/pockets to keep ear buds organized.


    31. Ms. Wright does not recommend using iPad on flat surface because students can't type and have EYES ON TEACHER at the same time.


    32. No snacks or drinks on the desk when the ipads are on the desk.


    33. Selected students called "TECH TEACHERS" help peers in classroom. Teacher does not need to know everything about every app.


    34. Don’t use the word "play" as in we are going to "play" with the iPads today.


    35. Use art programs for math warm-ups every day. Let students share their favorite art program. If they are more comfortable with an app, they will use it better and learn better.


    36. Post QR codes around the room for search engines and large units of study. Create a safe path to Internet sites! (This works well with a small group of iPads too if you are using them in a center.)










    14 Smart Tips for Using iPads in Class


    By Matt Levinson

    iPad Classroom Management Tips



    Last words from “Navigating the 1st Year in a 1:1 Classroom” by Shawn McClusker:



    Teacher Experiences in a 1:1 iPad Environment



    1:1 iPads In A Third Grade Classroom