If you’ve recently gotten an iPad or a set of iPads in your school and you’re not sure what to do with them, here are four things you can do right away:


1. Share content or apps on your projector

Certainly the least interactive and engaging for students, this may be one of the easiest ways to get your group of students participating with content from your iPad.

  • Apps like Qwiki or Google Earth that share information visually and interactively;
  • Sharing photos or videos shot in class during the learning process. Perhaps each group of students working on an activity takes one picture or a 30-second video which they can then describe to and get feedback from the group;
  • If you have a set of iPads, having students share their finished media or presentations created on the iPad with the class

As far as how to share your iPad screen on your projector (iPad 2 or New iPad only), there are options:

  1. VGA Adapter – this is the standard 15-pin connector that every projector I’ve seen will accept. Note that the VGA Adapter only sends a video signal, so the sound would either come out of your iPad speakers or you would need to have a set of computer speakers (or if you’re lucky, a classroom sound system with a wireless dongle that accepts the 3.5mm headphone jack) nearby.
  2. HDMI Adapter – this sends a great quality of video plus sound through a single cable, though you’d need a projector that accepts an HDMI input or a TV with HDMI input. Depending where you buy them, HDMI cables can also be expensive (though buy the cheapest one you can find – the belief that expensive HDMI cables are better is a myth).
  3. Apple TV – If your school has wireless which accepts a single password to sign on (versus a web-based authentication system), you may be able to connect Apple TV in  your classroom. Both the Apple TV and the iPad need to be on the same wifi network, and to mirror your iPad double press on the home button (or 5 finger swipe up), slide all the way to the left, and look for the AirPlay button which you’d press, choose Apple TV, and slide mirroring to ‘ON’.


2. Have kids take pictures and video of the learning process to reflect on

One of my favourite things for students to do with iPads is to have students document or reflect on the learning process using pictures or videos. Be it math manipulatives they have arranged on a desk, a creation in science, a piece of artwork, or a photo or video from a field trip, having kids reflect on and explain their understanding is a very powerful (and challenging) task that teachers can easily make part of their regular teaching.

Image Source: http://www.mathematicaloutfitters.com/images/IndividualStandardLG.jpg



3. Pecha Kucha to share ideas, information, and learning reflections

Long, boring presentations where people regurgitate bulleted text is ineffective in today’s classroom. Providing kids with a more effective, engaging, and time-saving method of preparing can be found with the Pecha Kucha style of presentations. In essense, Pecha Kucha presentations are:

  • 20 slides
  • Maximum 20 seconds per slide
  • Each slide is a visual which represents the voice-narrated ideas being presented.

On an iPad, this can be done simply by selecting a group of photos in sequence and swiping to the next photo. Apps such as Videolicious make the process of creating a voice-narrated photo slideshow very easy!

Image Source: http://koreabridge.net/graphics/pecha.jpg



4. Create an ‘Agreement’ with students on how the devices will be used using a digital citizenship lesson activity.

Your students won’t intuitively use these devices appropriately without having a discussion on appropriate use. They will change the home and lock screen images to their own pictures, they’ll set passcode locks, they’ll take inappropriate pictures and videos, they’ll rearrange, delete, and hide apps, they’ll put their own apps on which may be inappropriate for class, they may use the device in an unsafe manner which could damage it, they’ll delete each other’s work (when iPads are shared across the school) and a whole host of other things. Remember, there’s no method of ‘logging in’ like there are on computers where students have their own profiles, secure documents, potentially an internet filter, etc.  Have a discussion with your students (and get them to generate the ideas) about using the devices in ways which keep everyone:

  • Safe
  • Happy
  • Learning

For a more detailed description on one approach to doing this digital citizenship lesson, visit a previous post I did here http://edapps.ca/2012/04/introducing-school-wide-digital-citizenship-practices-with-ipads/


These are four of many amazing things you can start doing with your students right away. Here are a few apps to explore if you’re new to iPads:

  • Skitch – Annotate images with shapes, arrows, sketches and text. FREE
  • Videolicious – A wonderfully quick and easy way to create a voice narrated photo/video slideshow. FREE
  • Puppet Pals HD – Create a cartoon animated video with your voice and controlling the characters and props with your fingers. Even bring in your own characters from your own photos! FREE or $2.99 for all features/characters
  • Strip Designer – Create comic strips from your own photos! $1.99
  • Dragon Dictation – A very accurate speech-to-text app in which the rendered text can be copied and pasted into other apps which accept text or emailed. FREE
  • Google Earth – A virtual globe which lets users see or tour anywhere around the world including roads, uploaded photos and videos, and user-created special maps from Google’s gallery. FREE
  • QWiki – From iTunes: “Qwiki combines thousands of sources to present concise, interactive summaries of millions of people, places and things in an experience optimized for the iPad. Explore topics by searching or browse a worldwide map highlighting landmarks, monuments, cities, towns, and more. Combines relevant images, videos, infographics and narration to describe millions of topics” FREE
  • Apps Gone Free – Now that Apple’s Volume Purchase Plan for apps has come to Canada, finding quality free apps has never been more important for budget-conscious school. This apps shows apps which previously cost money that, for that particular day, are free to download. Or visit the parent website which includes free and paid app advice http://appadvice.com/appnn