There are many ways to manage iPads in the classroom. In our school, we have one account where we synch all our iPads together. The reason we do this is because we only need to pay once for any apps that we would like to use and it also ensures that every iPad has the same software. So if I were to borrow an iPad from someone else, then I know I’ll be able to use the app that I am looking for. As for managing apps, each teacher is able to submit a request of certain apps. Our technology leader will then research that app and if they agree it would be great for learning, then the app is purchased/downloaded. At the end of each school year we go through the list of apps and discuss which ones to keep and which ones to remove to make sure that apps on the iPads are being used and not cluttering the iPad. Overall, this has been a great way to manage and organize the iPads. The only suggestion I would make, is informing staff how to select great apps, so that the ones being recommended are geared towards learning concepts and not just towards having fun. My other suggestion would be to sharing the iPad restrictions password with more people so that when a picture apps are denied access to the camera roll, we wouldn’t have to send our iPad to the technology leader to restrict access.
Each teacher receives 2 iPads to use in their classrooms. They way a teacher uses their iPad, varies from teacher to teacher. Some teachers use it as a reward or free time and others allow students time to explore games of their choice. I prefer the way I use iPads in my classroom as students are more directed in their learning so students will have opportunities to use apps that they may not choose during free time. To start, every morning a small group of students (3-4) use the iPads during the first 30 minute block. Each week students will be assigned subjects or apps to explore and use. Every now and then I also assign free time where they can choose an app of their choice or continue to use an app their previously used. While one group is working with the iPads, I have the other students split into groups and they are assigned other tasks such as silent reading, guided reading, computer work on Tumblebooks (www.tumblebooklibrary.com) or Kidblog posts (http://kidblog.org). I have found this an effective way to ensure all students have the opportunity to use the iPads on a weekly basis, as well as working through apps that support the concepts we are presently learning.
Group Work with iPads
When it comes to group work in any of the subjects, I will often borrow iPads from my partner teacher or will sign out additional iPads for the week. Usually this will allow me to have 4-8 iPads, instead of 2 iPads for my entire class. When borrowing from my partner, I will find a time she is not using her iPads to ensure I don’t take away from her classroom’s iPad use. Usually this is when I teach math or English, which have been the times I have conducted group work the most with iPads. Fortunately our school has 60 iPads, so we can have them in the classroom and aside for group work. If your school isn’t as fortunate, I would suggest either having 1 iPad per classroom or a group set to sign out and encourage your staff to sign them out so they get used and not kept sitting in the cart.
For more ideas on what apps to use, please check out my page on top elementary mobile apps.
Riddell, R. (2013, February 21). 17 Real-world ways iPads are being used in schools. Retrieved from http://edudemic.com/2013/02/ways-ipads-are-being-used-in-schools/