More and more schools are making iPads and other types of tablets available for classroom use. Whether it is through one-to-one technology, iPad carts available for teachers to check out or through allowing students to bring their own devices (BYOD), tablets are a tool that many teachers have found useful in the classroom. They enhance the teacher’s ability to monitor and assess student learning, they help personalize student learning and they allow for easy collaboration between students. If you are still wondering how to best utilize this tool in your classroom, here are some tips for using iPads in your classroom.5 Tips for Using Tablets in the Classroom
- Involve Your Tech Department. Don’t hesitate to ask your tech department for help if you plan to implement tablets in your classroom. Using one device per student can be challenging for the school bandwidth and/or wireless access point. Make sure you check with your tech department to see if your school has the infrastructure to support this. The first time you plan to use iPads or similar devices with the whole class, contact your tech department to see if they can send someone to help out as needed. Nothing wrecks a great tablet lesson plan like not being able to complete it due to frustrating technology problems.
- Consider a Few Wireless Keyboards. Some of your students will be much more comfortable with a wireless keyboard. Especially if you are asking your students to complete longer writing assignments with the tablet, some of them will prefer a full size keyboard. A few wireless keyboards might go a long way in helping some of your students be more productive. At the same time, in this new digital age of texting, many students will be perfectly comfortable with the smaller built-in keyboard.
- Have a Plan for Recharging. iPads and other tablets have a battery that needs recharging after approximately eight to nine hours of use. If your school has invested in a charging cart, make sure the students are responsible for plugging the devices in at the end of each school day. If you don’t have the luxury of a cart, have a plan for storing and keeping track of each tablet cord so all of the devices can be charged at the end of the day. A little bit of planning can help keep students from needing to sit next to an outlet during an important lesson.
- Have a Repair/Replacement Policy. Your school probably has a repair/replacement policy for using iPads and other tablet devices. Make sure you know what it is and how to handle it when a student damages a device . Also think through a back-up plan in case a student does not have access to a tablet during a lesson.
- Make Sure the iPad Enhances Learning. The push for one-to-one technology and personalized learning can encourage teachers to continue to try new things in the classroom. Most of the time that is good for both students and teachers, but make sure the tablet is a teaching tool that enhances student learning. Don’t ever design a poor lesson around iPads (or any other portable device) only because you feel pressure to use them. Good, sound teaching is still your number one priority.