Recently, our school purchased iPad Carts for use in our schools. The idea was to provide iPads for use in the classroom, but purchasing them on a large scale was too much. So, by providing a cart for each building, the cart could be checked out by teachers to use as a mobile computing classroom. iPads provide the ability to access apps for practice, web 2.0 resources, and sites for classroom research.
Being an iPad user, as I investigated different apps I already had an idea of what I would want on the iPads. But as these were going to be used by different teachers on a larger scale, the thought process was a little different.
Here are a few apps that I found to be crucial the the classroom iPad Cart:
- Educreations – Like having an interactive whiteboard (IWB) on your iPad, this app, when used with a HDMI cable or Apple TV, allows you to use tools familiar to IWB users. Features include a pen tool, ability to erase, add pictures, text, and most of all, the ability to record. By being able to record what you present, you can save it for later, and even share your presentation with others.
- Puffin Free – iPads aren’t Flash friendly, so if you’re going to show certain web content that is built on Flash, it can be difficult when using the Safari browser. This app (available for free with ads, and for a price to remove ads) gives users the ability to view and interact with Flash content.
- Free Graphing Calculator – Math teachers will appreciate the ability to use the iPad as a graphing calculator. There are several free calculators available, this is just one of them.
- iTunesU – The iPad will prompt new users to download this app and it is well worth it. With the ability to download free course content from K-12 institutions, as well as colleges and Universities, this app gives teachers the ability to connect students with content covering thousands of subject areas. Professional Development courses are available through iTunesU too!
- iBooks – This app may not seem like a teaching tool to some, but many teachers have found that the ability to bookmark, highlight, and add notes to the margins makes the use of this app very handy. For English classes, teachers can download epub files for classic novels from sites such as http://www.gutenberg.org/. eTextbooks can be purchased from many educational textbook publishers, through the iBooks store.
- Bubble Sheet – Join Mastery Connect for free and use this app to deliver assessments using bubble sheet style questions.
- Socrative – Download Socrative Teacher and Socrative Student and use the iPad as a Student Response System. Create your own assessment questions and deploy them over classroom WiFi.
- PenUltimate – This note taking tool allows students to take notes in their own “fingerwriting”. Keep notebooks by subject area – all for free.
- Dropbox – download this cloud storage app and create a classroom account that will allow students to upload/store assignments in the cloud.
- iWork – This bundle of apps from Apple may cost a little ($9.99 for each app; less on the Volume Purchase Program if you buy more than 10), but its worth it. Keynote is a presentation tool similar to PowerPoint that allows you to create and view slideshows. Pages is a word processing app that allows you to create documents. Numbers is a spreadsheet app.
Obviously this is not an all encompassing list of everything you would need, but it is a great place to start. The capabilities of tablets in the classroom are so great that you will discover more as you use them. The camera and built-in microphone make iPads great for creating audio and video projects as well. As you become more advanced in using them, investigate and explore the web for more options. And enjoy!
http://NetClick.me/ is another great education technology tool. It’s a student response system designed for students and educators looking for a quick and easy way to make their presentation slides interactive. Both students and professors can click and share information on the same slide at the same time. There’s no need to spend money on various clickers. Users can re-use existing content and share slides with the click of a mouse or tap of a screen. It’s also compatible with any mobile device or gadget.