Ed Tech

iPad Mania: 20 ideas for sparking interest in class with iPads

The iPad has game-changing potential for any classroom. Use these ideas, tips and apps to spark some new interest. (Public domain photo via Unsplash)

The iPad has game-changing potential for any classroom. Use these ideas, tips and apps to spark some new interest. (Public domain photo via Unsplash)

When Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPad, it was a marvel that had the potential to make big change.

It was visually stunning. It was tactile. It shortened some work from minutes to seconds.

The iPad’s possibilities in education were seen quickly and have developed over time.

It’s easy to say that tech is just a tool, but if we don’t seek how we can leverage its potential, we’re shortchanging our students.

In our weekly half-hour #DitchBook chat (10 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. Central, 8 p.m. Mountain, 7 p.m. Pacific), we recently discussed how we can “Ditch That Textbook” with the iPad.

A Storify summary of all the tweets is available here, but here are 20 ideas that stuck out to me most:

1. Heart rate tracking — PE and health classes aren’t exempt from solid tech integration! Students can track their heart rates while they exercise using these heart rate monitors OR for free with the Instant Heart Rate app and a smartphone camera!

2. Log your learning — Seesaw is a digital portfolio app that lets students document and share what they’ve learned. Angela mentions using the Shadow Puppet app to pair video.

3. Link up videos with QR codes — QR codes are ideal for linking students with iPads to anything on the web. When students talk about what they’re learning on video, a picture and QR code on the wall turns learning into an interactive multimedia journey.

4. Visual formative assessment — Get quick feedback from students even if they don’t each have iPads in front of them. Print cards with codes from Plickers and give them to each student. Students hold the cards up, and a teacher scans them from the front of the room with a smartphone or tablet. Plickers gives instant results.

5. Play in the virtual sandbox — Many students use Minecraft at home or with friends to build virtual worlds. Let that world and your academic content collide by encouraging them to create in connection to what they’re studying in class! 

6. Quick photo newsletters/updates — Remind lets teachers send text messages safely and securely to parents and students. Pic Collage lets users create photo collages from their devices. Put them together and parents get a very clear image of the awesome happening in class!

7. Smash some apps — Apps on the iPad don’t have to be used in isolation. In fact, when one app is used to make another app more versatile, you’re app smashing. The previous idea with Remind and Pic Collage is a perfect example. See more examples in this shared Google Doc.

8. Interactive video shows — Speaking of smashing, TouchCast mashes up video and links to the web. Ever seen those images that TV news programs overlay next to the news anchor’s head? TouchCast lets students make interactive versions of those in their videos.

9. Quick reference books — Book Creator for iPad lets students easily create their own digital books. When they take pictures or notes and add them to an ebook, they’re making their own reference materials — no book publisher necessary!

10. Green screen mania — When students record video with a green background, the Green Screen app by Do Ink lets them replace it with practically any backdrop. Put them on the moon, in a TV show or more!

11. iPad document camera — Show students what you see through your iPad camera on a projector screen. Reflector mirrors what’s on your iPad to a computer. When you use your iPad camera and mirror it to your projector, students see what’s coming through the camera. Instant document camera!

12. Young news reporters — Even the youngest students want to have a voice and a say in class. Even the simplest videos taken on an iPad can turn students young and old into video journalists.

13. Stop motion video — Remember children’s shows like Gumby or Wallace and Grommit? They used stop motion animation — positioning items, taking a picture, moving them slightly and taking another picture, over and over. This technology is readily available and easy to do with the iPad! The Lego Movie Maker app is one tool.

14. Adobe Voice — Video. Animated transitions. Voice overs. There’s a lot students can create with Adobe Voice. This post by EdTech TV offers some ideas. 

15. Video book trailers — We love watching previews of our favorite movies in movie trailers. Why not let students create similar videos about their favorite books? The iMovie app gives students plenty of pre-designed tools to make it a reality. Here’s an example via Karly Moura.

16. QR code scavenger hunts — Scavenger hunts are fun by themselves. Add QR codes that display info, links and clues and it’s a brand new experience. ClassTools.net has a free QR code scavenger hunt tool that makes creating them a breeze.

17. Google + iPad = Excellence — The corporations of Google and Apple may not be best friends, but their products make lots of innovative learning possible. Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning delivered this virtual presentation at the Education on Air online conference. (See if you recognize her assistant in the video!)

18. Visual mathematics — Use images and the Geogebra app to measure and determine angles. Connect geometry concepts with students’ real lives!

19. Silly talking pictures — Chatterpix Kids lets you take a picture and identify where the mouth is in the picture. Then the picture talks with the words you provide.

20. Easy photo collections — Often, simplicity is best. Yogile lets anyone upload images to an album and then share the album. Albums give users a quick glance at all images. User accounts aren’t even necessary, although albums created without an account only live for 14 days.

[reminder]What apps did we miss? What ideas have worked for you?[/reminder]

For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links:

Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:

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