3 Steps to Introducing iPads to Elementary Students
Are iPads new to your room this year? Maybe I can help. For the past three years, I have had access to iPads for my second grade students. Let me just say, that I had many frustrating moments at the beginning that I hope to spare you of and save you a ton of time. With that being said, I also have to say that iPads have revolutionized my classroom, from passive learning to over-the-top engagement and student ownership of learning. It made a huge difference too that I use my own iPad for personal use at home, so it is highly beneficial to know how to use the device yourself, so take time to explore how your device works, maybe take one home to navigate through if your district allows you to. I am not just an advocate of the iPads themselves because I do believe that students also need access to laptops/PC for keyboarding and advanced workflow options that I will address later.
There are a few basics that will really help you in the management of integrating these incredible devices. The resource suggestions below are paid resources (Totaling $20.00 at the time this was posted, as always, prices are subject to change) from Teachers Pay Teachers and iTunes. There probably are some equivalent free resources out there somewhere but I am sharing what I have used and see as the best in my experience. This is a very basic list but I will be adding more posts regarding other management ideas very soon!
1. Set Expectations– Go slow and walk your students through your expected procedures for handling, charging and disbursement. It is totally worth the invested time in order to lessen the chances of breakage and frustration on your part.
Reagan Tunstall and “Tech with Jen” have great resources for procedure posters, student certificates and Reagan even has a cute video for you to show your students. Check out their Teachers Pay Teachers sites for other great resources.
iPad Basics by Reagan Tunstall ($8.00)
2. Organize Devices- You will need to install numbered backgrounds so that each student can quickly identify each device. You can download several super-cute ones from “Erintegration” also in the Teachers Pay Teachers site. She also include Rules in her packets along with other iPad products.
3. Organize Student Work- You will need to begin thinking about how you want to organize student work, apps, folders, student workflow and storage of work. This is a huge undertaking, knowing that there is a learning curve for us as well. Don’t get discouraged, it may take some time to pound out your own preferences. I can say that for my primary students, the biggest obstacle was not having email addresses for individual accounts so they could send me their curated work. I have had great success with Dropbox, so I would recommend that you start with it as your cloud storage. I set up a separate Dropbox account for my class to access, linked in each iPad and used their own folder in the app for work storage. I then shared that student’s folder with their parents to see their digital work. I also used the awesome Notability App ($2.99) for student word processing and annotating documents that I pushed out to them in the subject area folders inside my classroom Dropbox account. When I finally got this workflow organized, it was amazing how much time and paper that I saved! A few of my co-workers used a free app similar to Notability called PaperPort Notes App. I personally have not used it but the feedback I received from them was that it was not as user friendly as Notability but hey, free is still “Free”.
“Teaching with Technology” has a free Dropbox set up product here that is super helpful.
I created a product on Teachers Pay Teachers to help the kids follow the steps that includes student bookmarks for reminders of the steps to save their work if you are interested.
I have collected an extensive list of apps and other suggestions that I also used to teach K-3 Common Core Standards that I will post next.
I hope I did not overwhelm you with these three suggestions, as my intentions are to save you time and frustration. This process does take time but it is so worth it!
Take Care 🙂