The idea of using iPads in the classroom is extremely exciting for educators who are passionate about pursuing innovations in teaching. The opportunities they offer seem to be endless, with apps for everything from video editing, to language learning. There are even dedicated apps to make marking a breeze. While the benefits iPads offer are undeniable, getting the most out of these gadgets requires some careful planning and strategic thinking.
1. Take Your Time
All the positive hype around tablets can make schools feel compelled to implement the new technology as soon as possible. However, evidence shows that better results are achieved when the roll-out is planned for at least six months to a year, if not longer. During the planning period, schools should devise dedicated policies to govern the use of the devices and to plan the logistics of implementing their usage in classrooms. Careful consideration should go into the purpose of the iPads and how they can specifically be used in the classroom to improve educational outcomes. Finally, schools will need to consider the technical side of introducing iPads to the classroom, consulting with a provider of educational technology solutions in order to obtain and install the software, hardware and other necessary elements such as storage and charging stations.
2. Learn How To Use iPads for Education
It might sound obvious, but if the teachers don’t understand how to use iPads in the classroom as an educational tool, they are not going to be a success in your school. Although most teachers will probably be familiar with how to use an iPad from their personal use (keep in mind that some may not even be familiar with how to use the technology at all), they have most likely never used an iPad to teach in the classroom. The myriad options offered by tablets can often be overwhelming and teachers will need to learn teaching strategies from experts to ensure they feel completely comfortable and confident before the devices are introduced. Investing in at least a couple of days of teacher professional development training is integral to the success of your implementation plan.
3. Teach Students About Digital Citizenship
Handing out expensive devices to students without properly preparing them for the responsibility that accompanies the privilege of owning such a device is one of the most dangerous things a school can do. The introduction of iPads can be a great opportunity for schools to focus on digital citizenship, by teaching students about things like digital etiquette, digital security and digital rights and responsibilities as well as helping students to separate their personal use of tablets and phones from educational usage. While one of the most appealing elements of using tablets in the classroom is their capacity to capture and hold the attention of students, they will need to understand that using an iPad in class is not the same as using one at home.
4. Don’t Go Overboard On Apps
While the array of available apps seems endless, more is definitely not better when it comes to using them in the classroom. The best idea is to start on one specific subject area, choose one or two apps which can enhance your teaching, and devise exactly how you are going to use them in the classroom before introducing them to the students. Once you have successfully mastered those apps, you can look into some useful apps for another subject area, and so on, until the iPad is supporting a range of subject areas. However, don’t make the mistake of using an app just for the sake of it. In many cases, the way you were teaching without the iPad may have been more effective. This leads into the next point – remember to teach.
5. Remember To Teach
The biggest trap to avoid when implementing iPads into your school is to use it as a replacement for the teacher. They should be seen as teaching tools, like a textbook or a chalkboard – they are not able to teach students in and of themselves.
Once you’ve made the decision to start using iPads in the classroom, it’s time to get planning. Virtunet has got the technical side covered for you, so you can focus on getting the most out of the technology for your students. Our 1:1 iPad & Tablets Programs are unique and are personalised and tailored to your school and students’ requirements. We can help with a pilot program (on a small scale to trial the effectiveness) or if your school is ready – a full scale roll-out that includes configuration, deployment and support iOS devices through the use of proven mobility solutions. Get a free quote today.