by Berlyn Cobian
As educators, we constantly seek methods to engage and instruct our students more effectively. Many of us also search for ways to become more efficient managers of our tasks and time. As iPad owners, we might seek uses to make our new toy a better bang for the buck. For these reasons, I’ve compiled a list of top iPad uses that benefit educators in the areas of organization, grading, working with students, and creative classroom approaches:
Description: Store and manage files online
Sample Use: Create essay prompt from home laptop, upload document to Dropbox, access essay prompt from iPad on campus
Key functions: In addition to storing and accessing your own files, you can share links to your files with others and others can upload a file to you.
Description: Designed for general classroom management (attendance, schedule, lesson planning)
Sample Use: Use Teacher’s Attaché when calling roll and easily keep record of daily attendance and participation
Key Functions: Import class roster, record attendance, and note participation; record lesson plans; attach materials from Dropbox
Description: Free app that provides a simple way to make and organize to-do lists
Sample Use: Lists things to do before the first day of instruction
Key Functions: Option to set start and due dates, prioritize task on a 1-5 scale, label the project or context, write note on task, view lists in order or importance or due date, or simply lists tasks
Note: The standard Reminders app is efficient for simple listing purposes
Tap Forms HD- Database for iPad
Description: Use Tap Forms to create or customize data
Sample Use: Keep track of items you buy for the classroom
Key Functions: You can label a field and describe it in words, numbers, voice and/or image; forms are searchable and can be filed
iPad Camera Function
Sample Use: Take a photo of the notes you’ve written on the whiteboard and use as a reference for the next class, email to the student who has questions on the topic later, or upload photo to Blackboard
Description: Dictate words to app and it will record in text form.
Sample Use: Orally explain classroom etiquette and transfer text to create a handout
Key Functions: Cut or copy text; export text to email, Facebook, Twittter
Note: Dragon Dictation is pretty accurate, but easy editing is also available.
Sample Use: Use “dropittome” link to have student submit essays or other documents to you and access them anytime
Note: Linking Turnitin to Blackboard might be more efficient and provide more comprehensive services, however it does not currently run on the iPad.
Description: Read, annotate, save and send documents with this app
Sample Use: Open document from Dropbox with iAnnotate, use the program to mark essay, email document back to student
Key Functions: Highlight, underline, type text, write text with stylus, save comments as stamps to be reused, add images, add voice
WORKING WITH STUDENTS
Description: Allows you to view and generate QR codes
Sample Use: Post QR codes with links to various supplemental material relevant to the day’s lesson such a news article, a music video, a painting, a video of the author speaking about his work; insert a QR code with a link to essay prompts on course syllabus
Key Functions: Clean and intuitive app for easy scanning and creating
Note: Free app only allows you to scan; pro packet for $2.99 allows you to create QR codes
Description: Records and plays back voice
Sample Use: Record student as they brainstorm for essay, play back to student to find ideas they can use
Key Functions: You can email recording for later usage
Description: Voice and video connection
Sample Use: Give students your skype name and allow them to contact you via Skype during office hours if it is impossible for them to meet with you in person
Key Functions: Free voice and video calling with internet access
Note: The Adobe Connect app offers a better service if you wish to meet with a larger group of students via internet; Skype is better for meeting students individually as many student will probably already have Skype set up on their computers, tablets, or mobile devices
Description: “Translate words or phrases between more than 60 languages” (Google Translate info on iTunes).
Sample Use: Meeting with an international student and you’d like to clarify a particular point, use this app without internet access.
Key Functions: Simple and fast
CREATIVE CLASSROOM APPROACHES
Description: Aggregates news and social media content
Sample Use: To tie global warming reading from textbook to current events, refer to environment category for quick access to top stories in this area
Key Functions: Collects top stories from various newspapers and magazines and organizes them in a simple and clean fashion
Description: Create your own comic strips
Sample Use: Provide creative visual aid to supplement lesson
Key Functions: Can easily upload your own images and texts
Create a Pinterest or a Pinterest board that students can follow using memes as reminders or visual aids or as links to more comprehensive instruction
Create a Facebook page that students can subscribe to that will allow anything you post to enter their newsfeed. Remind students that Facebook privacy settings are easy to use so you need not see any information they don’t allow!
Description: Collection of short talks of a variety of subjects from “some of the world’s most fascinating people” (TED on iTunes).
Sample Use: Show students three short talks to demonstrate different public speaking styles; or quickly search for the subject of the reading being discussed that day in order to supplement discussion with a video clip
Key Functions: Holds every TED talk presented, search menu, can create playlist or favorites
You can use this to create your own learning material and essentially put your entire course online and manage through the iPad (but you will need a Mac to create it).
Countdown to an Event
Create count downs to specific dates or events such as exam 1, spring break, etc.
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