Sometimes the most obvious uses for an iPad are the ones that get overlooked. If you ask teachers about one of the potential benefits of having iPads in the classroom, most will mention textbooks. How great would it be to have all of a student's textbooks on the iPad? The books will always be with them and they won't break their back carrying them everywhere.
Well this post isn't about textbooks. I'm saving that until after my school actually finalizes their textbook plans for next year, so keep an eye out for that as we approach the end of the school year. Instead, I want to focus on another thing you can use iBooks for: free class sets of novels.
There are thousands of apps that go on sale or free every day and there are plenty of apps that will tell you so. One app that puts that in to perspective a little bit is Apps Gone Free (free in the App Store). Everyday, you are presented with a short list of apps that have reduced their price to Free. Now that's not amazing or anything except for the fact that they have been tested and found to actually have some real value before being blindly added to the list.
Not everyday is there an educational app but its pretty close. I have found countless apps from here that I then share with the teachers that I think might benefit.
This is just a quick guide for various methods and apps you can use to sync your computer's bookmarks to your iPad. One of the things that keeps new teachers from using their iPads is that they already have everything set up on their PC or Mac and just don't want to bother transferring everything over to the iPad. This post should help you get over that:
Since you are sitting there reading this WordPress blog, I am going to assume you are at least partially familiar with WordPress as a site and blogging in general. For English teachers, having a class blog is a good way to give your students some extra writing practice in a low-stakes environment. If your students have iPads, there are a few apps that can make blogging really easy and even exciting for students.
Here is how I set up and utilize a class blog with my fifth grade students. Obviously this can work for any higher grade levels, as well:
Here I’ll show you how I maintain an iPad cart. It has 23 iPads in it. At one point I had them setup using only Apple Configurator as Apple suggests but I have found that after having to borrow iPads from the cart for other reasons and replacing them with iPads that were not originally part of the cart and the terrible way Configurator handles app licenses, I had to start using a combination of iTunes and Configurator. iTunes to load the software and Configurator to name them. Normally, you would only use Apple Configurator and install the app through it using a spreadsheet downloaded from your VPP account. See my post, VPP Apple Configurator & Multiple Carts or Locations | SchooliPads.
NOTE: I‘m using a Mac with iTunes 11.0.2 and Configurator 1.2.1. This process should work for Windows but without Configurator, the fast wipe and naming of the iPads will have to be done individually.
This seems complicated the first time but after you do it once or twice it kinda makes sense, so here we go.
I mentioned neu.Annotate+ ($1.99) briefly in my post about Dropbox, but I wanted to give it a little more attention all by itself. It is one of the most frequently used apps in my fifth grade classroom and probably throughout our entire middle school.
Hopefully by now you already have a Dropbox account. Even if you do not have an iPad, Dropbox is an invaluable tool for teachers (especially if you have a work computer and a home computer, or a desktop and a laptop). If you don't already have it, use this link to sign up and install it on your PC or Mac and then come back to this post once you are done that step.
Okay, so you have a Dropbox account now? Good. Let me show you some of the advanced ways to use it in a classroom (especially if you have an iPad).