iPads in the Classroom Part 1

As we come to the end of the second year of using iPads at the College I will spend time over the next few weeks looking at how the devices have impacted on the way things happen in the Stage 4 classes.

In 2012 the College implemented an iPad pilot project on behalf of the Catholic Education Office in Year 7. Each student was issued with an iPad, a protective sleeve, a Speck Pixel cover and a $100 iTunes card along with a list of apps that needed to be downloaded.

The process went quite smoothly with only three students failing to have the iPad set up on the first day at the College. During the ‘bootcamp’ these students were helped to set their devices up and download the required apps. These students did not have access to a wireless connection at their homes. In 2013 this did not happen.

The ‘bootcamp’ was a very basic introduction to the iPad. We felt that most students would be comfortable with the device and it was only basics like entering proxy settings and connecting to the internet inside the College that most would need to know. This proved correct with the connection to the net providing most headaches during the morning session. Once the students were connected we were away. Connecting school mail was also problematic with the old Myinternet system. This is much simpler with Cloudshare and Gmail.

We had a focus on the main apps we felt staff would be using and how students could share their work with the teachers. Pages, iMovie, Comic Life and Book Creator were the main apps we felt would get the most use and this also proved correct. Students and staff kept to these apps throughout 2012 when asking students to create presentations. Indeed we are still seeing these apps dominate although Puppet Pals is also proving popular in 2013.

Again from what I am hearing from students Pages still seems to be the dominant app which suggests the ‘word processing’ activities are still dominating therefore suggesting that the iPads are still in some cases simply a digital exercise book. They are much more than that in the right hands!

Over the next few weeks I will share some great examples of the iPad being used in creative and innovative ways. Indeed there are already some examples on this blog. Recently I have been looking at an app I saw emerge last year called Nearpod. I think this may be a good transitional app to get staff working with the device in their classes. I definitely think it may be useful with my Year 7 Maths class.

We saw in the early days of the MacBook implementation that to get staff on board we had to give them simple tools to use which enabled them to become familiar with the device. Nearpod could do the same job with the iPads. At this stage very few of the staff are taking their iPads to class. Most still travel to class with the Mac Pro.

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