iPads in the Classroom

28 January, 2013

Ipads in the classroom

Are you using iPads in your classroom?

So, what’s all the fuss about?

Is it really as good as everyone is making out?

Does it have any place in the classroom?

The answer to the last question is, yes it does. The Apple iPad is a game changer, one of those devices that comes along once in a blue moon and mixes things up. The BBC Micro, the Internet and not having an ICT suite, they all changed the way we felt about using ICT in the classroom.

When I first started running iPad courses for staff, I noticed something strange; the lack of fear in the eyes of those using the iPads. Habitually scared ICT users were now picking up an iPad and finding out how simple it was to use; a tactile computer. It didn’t crash, take an eon to log onto a network and you could easily take video and photos and then use them. And here lies one of the game changing parts – no cables to lose, no dodgy software that’s less stable than a hippo on stilts, no conversion to a format that the software likes, possibly.

Take it, edit it, use it, share it. Simple.

iPads in an Early Years Environment

Then there’s the EYFS profile evidence. With two apps, camera and authoring tool, you can take video, photo, voice and written evidence and have the children’s journey in one place. No Post-its; no log in, find cable, download photos, find photo, open software, scale photo, print out photos, cut out photos, stick in book.

Or – take photo, open authoring tool, place photo. Save when completed as PDF or iBook for the parents, email. Done. Think of all the Pritt sticks you’ll save, all the cartridges you’ll not have to change and all that paper. Above all it’s the time that’s saved. Time is a precious commodity in schools. Game changer number 2.

With an iPad, the pupils become more independent, self-learners, self-supporters. The iPad is more than a ‘research tool’, something I’ve seen a lot of laptops used for. It doesn’t have Office, thankfully, so the staff and pupils develop their own ways of learning; of creating and sharing; the pupils share the ways they learn. The pupils are now less of a consumer and more of a producer.

As a teacher, I can now build presentations that target my ability groups more easily and because the presentations are targeted, I can make the lesson starters personalised learning movies. Movies that contain the building blocks for the lesson; contain the ability to pause, rewind, review, remind and when linked to the school website – re-learn and support home learning. Easily created, easily used, more interactive than a paper sheet and more supportive than waiting to be helped. That’s another game changer.


And one more thing: you take one app and can use it for more than one thing, but that’s for the next blog entry.


Written by Andy Dickenson – Andy has been a ICT consultant working at both primary and secondary levels for over ten years and is particularly interested in making ICT work for the user, not the other way round. He’s a strong believer in using popular culture to engage everyone: using film making  graphic novels, video games and apps to develop learning. He now delivers the Bring Your Own Device course for Osiris Educational.

0 thoughts on “iPads in the Classroom

  • It seems that ipads are going to be great for young learners but how will they fit into the more academic, word writting/type producing system? How could they be used for Graphics, in particular. For example, how could I use an ipad in DT to generate ideas for Years 7 or 8?

    • There are graphics/ sketch app available such as Sketchtime or Paper. These should allow you pupils to develop their ideas. Alternatively, use a book creator app, the camera tool and their drawn work, to capture images and produce a digital folder. You can the. Print out as a PDF.

      Mark, It’s a shame that the iPads you’ve read about, or seen are being used, are just for searching and single use apps. There’s lots of amazing (and some free) apps on the AppStore that allow the pupils to create interactive books, create film/animation, games and so much more. I agree, the iPad is a tool and needs to be treated as such but its more than a ‘use it’ tool, its a ‘make it tool’ too.

  • “The pupils are now less of a consumer and more of a producer.”

    From my wider reading (of Techie press and bloggs) and observations of pupils from schools where iPads are routinely issued for use, I found that to opposite is true! Those pupils consume more content than ever (using “Apps” and web browsing) and liberal “copy”/ “paste” does not equal creative production. Tablets are just another tool.

  • Hi
    I am interested to read this article but are you dealing with iPads or tablet devices in general? I would be very interested to find out about peoples experiences of using Android or Windows 8 touch screen devices in a similar situation. This wider range of technology seems to be on the rise and some of it comes in at a more favourable price point than Apple making it more accessible to schools and parents. I hope you intend to be open and share some ideas of things that can be done with this wider range of tablets.

  • You are also limiting what pupils can do, limiting their exposure to wider ranges of skills, and going down the ipod route bases things on a device that costs way more than other devices that can do just as good a job.

  • A simple by high level academic application in maths is using graph drawing software. Since many of my sixth form students own ipads (or at least iphones – same app) they are able to explore graphs in a whole new way – the fact that students do not have the same level of anxiety about using ICT as some adults they do so in a truly investigative (and often creative) manner.

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