In the last few months the iPad sales have soared, not only with youth, but also with people of all ages. Presently I am advising teachers about how to use the iPad effectively in their classrooms.
Question I commonly hear are What are Apps and how do I get them? Where do I find them? and, of course, How do I use one iPad for a whole class? I will address each of these questions below.
An App is an application, or software. If you are Smartphone user you understand what an app is. The difference now is, we are seeing new educational apps adding daily in the app store. Apps range from simple applications such as Teach Me for $.99 to 123 Tracer for free. Of course, there are more involved and expensive apps but overall you can get most decent apps for under $6.00.
How to find an app? The app store located in iTunes has all of the apps. Personally, I find searching the store to be a very tedious task. Instead, I search using Google and YouTube. I decide on the topic and then sift through the apps. I read the reviews and, if there is a YouTube video, I watch to see how intuitive the app is. The lists of apps are endless, and you must do your research since there are many apps that claim to do something but after downloading them are pure disappointment.
Finally, to answer How can I use one iPad for an entire class? There are a few options. First you need the VGA adaptor. The iPad 1 does not allow all apps to mirror. The iPad 2 mirrors all apps. Mirroring is the ability to see your iPad screen on a whiteboard or Smart board. In these situations, I use a lot of the book apps such as MeeGenius (free). There are a lot of interactive apps that allow students to take turns such as Storyrobe $.99. The other alternative is having centers in your class and the iPad is just incorporated as one of your centers.
After a workshop, the teachers walk out and go directly to Apple to begin their iPad app journey. The iPAd is a tool that can be personalized for the individual student–or entire class–and is one more way to teach our children to feel good about learning and who they are.
Vicki Windman is a special education teacher at Clarkstown High School South.