The best thing about having iPads in the classroom is when students come up with ideas that hadn't even occurred to me. One of the rather simple things that I didn't anticipate is how easy it would become for students to keep track of their homework and calendars.
I assign one student to be in charge of the homework board all year, another student to be in charge of the class calendar, and a third student to be in charge of writing down missed assignments by absent students. I make sure to pick very responsible students for these jobs so I know they will be done well.
Throughout the day and between classes, the homework and calendar students will update the boards for all subject areas. They list homework, upcoming quizzes, reminders about permission slips, and whatever else. At the end of the day when it is time to pack up, the other students can then just walk right up and take a picture of the homework board!
This saves a ton of time! And it is 100% accurate, assuming the homework board writer does their job. Parents will no longer have to worry about students not knowing what their homework was, or writing down the wrong thing, or forgetting an upcoming assessment. Even better is that it saves time and students can pack up faster (which means I can teach for a few minutes longer).
For a view at the entire upcoming month, they can take pictures of the class calendar:
I have found that this results in fewer missed assignments and fewer aggravated parent emails complaining about their child's poor homework-monitoring skills.
If a student is absent, I have a student fill out a form with everything they missed in class and then email a photo of the form and the homework board to the absent student (and then place the physical copy of the form in the absent student's class mailbox). Absent students will now know what they missed the very same day they were absent. No need to wait until the next day. If they have the right materials at home, they can even start on missed classwork or homework immediately.
But wait, there is more! Teachers also post to online class pages and resource folders on the school website. Teachers fill out an online class calendar, homework due dates, and upload digital copies of worksheets and maybe notes to their class page. Most of these resources were originally meant for parents, but now students can use their iPads to access these class pages to retrieve any notes, worksheets, or assignment details they missed in class or when absent. We even added a link to the list of class pages onto each child's iPad's home screen automatically using Meraki profiles (and we made it impossible to delete).
With all of these different processes in place, students miss out on less, are more organized, are less confused, and can keep up-to-date even when out of school. Plus it takes a lot of the stress and load off of the teacher's shoulders.
And hey: the camera app is free!