As I write this, I'm reminded of my early days in teaching when I was lucky to have one computer in my classroom. Although we've come well past the days of the one computer classroom, I now find myself trying to troubleshoot how to use my one iPad in the classroom. Here are some ways I've begun using it with my 24 students:
- Small group instruction-There are countless apps that can be downloaded for free or at very little cost that are beneficial for a small group of 4-6 students to work on together. During my small group math instruction, I've used Coin Math and Math Drills Lite. The children at the small group table take turns (round-robin style). While one child answers the question/problem on the iPad, the others work it on white boards or with money manipulatives. The iPad gets passed around the table in a clockwise motion and we continue this until everyone has had at least 2 turns.
- Paired with Document Camera-I'm fortunate enough to have a Promethean ActiView camera in my room, so many times, I've simply placed my iPad under the document camera and projected the image onto our ActivBoard. One or more students can take turns clicking the iPad. I especially like to show BrainPop's featured movie using the BrainPop app. I've also used Grammar Jammers in this way.
- As a Center Activity-If it's not being used with small groups (or maybe after we've finished), sometimes I allow small groups of students to take turns playing games on the iPad in groups of 2-4. (I love this idea for school-purchased iPads, but as the one I have is my personal iPad, I do this sparingly). Some of the apps I've used in this way are Crazy Tangram and Rocket Math.
- As an Interactive Slate-With the Splashtop app ($4.95), I can control my computer with my iPad. This allows me to walk around the room and use my iPad as an interactive slate. Instead of having students come to the board to click, drag, write, ect...They can do the same things from their seats on my iPad! This allows for even more interactive lessons because of the time efficiency. Let me explain...previously if a page on my flipchart lesson called for something to be revealed by clicking, I found that having a student walk up to the board, click the object, then walk back was not very efficient and slowed down the momentum of the lesson. Therefore, I simply clicked it and moved on. Now, I can give that control back to the students as I move around the classroom.
- As a Student Response System-With Promethean's free ActivEngage app, students can respond to questions using the iPad, rather than ActiVotes, ActivExpressions, or other mobile devices. ActivEngage works right alongside the other devices and groups of 2-4 students can "share" the iPad when choosing their answer. One desk grouping could use it (3 desks are in a group in my room), then pass it to the next group for the next question. This allows for more active engagement and collaboration. It reminds me of the "Think Pair Share" strategy we use in reading. I've yet to try this out in my classroom, but I've explored the app and this is definitely on my To-Do List.