Monday, July 22, 2013

On the 1:1 iPad Classroom: Tips for a Smooth(er) Year

Good morning!

Now that the first year with one-to-one iPads is complete, it's a good time to reflect on the lessons learned and plan for the second year. The following tips are not listed in any order of importance and can be relevant in classrooms where other types of technology enhance instruction.

  • Test apps ahead of time with a student or colleague.
  • Teach technology vocabulary, especially if you're a 90%+ world language educator, during the first weeks of school.
  • Use an app because it enhanced the learning experience: NOT because it is on a 'top app' list.
  • Give students a list of recommended apps for content area games/practice so that they can use them when they finish a task early or for exploration at home.
  • Create another list of apps that provide ALL students with authentic resources in the content area. Great ones might include newspapers, magazines, museums, and the visitors' welcome page for a city.
  • Show students how to add shortcuts so that they can quickly access websites that have not yet created an app for it.
  • Actively monitor use of the iPad. If several students are off task, they are not being engaged.
  • Ask students to load apps the day BEFORE you want to use them in class. Saves precious time.
  • Show students how to make a folder for the apps that they'll use in your class. Do this during the first week of school.
  • Know what you want with regards to note-taking tasks before school starts. Are you going to prepare guided notes? Should students take notes on paper? This can be a time consuming problem, so think it over.
  • Carefully select the way(s) students can submit work. Naturally, there will be less confusion if students only have one or two ways to share their learning.
  • Helps students organize their work within their note-taking apps. Require one-on-one time outside of class if students are unable to get organized. Do this periodically for the particularly unorganized student. I have had students take photos of important information and then leave it in the cameral roll. Egads!
  • Have a backup plan if the technology fails. We were fortunate to have very few days where the wifi didn't work, but there's always potential for down days!
  • Be flexible, patient, and willing to learn!
  • Allow students to choose the app they'll use for a task as long as it has the necessary features.
  • Put the technology away sometimes. Students need to step away and see that learning can occur without it, too.
  • Give yourself a break when looking for apps/tools to enhance a lesson. Quality over quantity.
  • Choose apps that are versatile and allow students to create a product, when possible.
  • Teach students how to produce quality photos and videos.
  • Make a sound booth for recording in the classroom. Consider using a large cardboard box, egg cartons, and a blanket to create this space (sound booth construction idea by @k_shelton).
  • Require students to share presentations with you. Hook your iPad up to a screen and pull up each presentation as students comes up to present. Saves tons of time!
  • Ensure that the subject heading for task submission is standardized. Keep it simple!
  • Decide on the e-mail address(es) you want students to use BEFORE school resumes. The addresses seem to automatically save in Contacts so there is confusion at times if there are too many addresses from which to choose.
  • Strongly encourage students to save their usernames and passwords in Keeper (a free app that only requires you to remember one password in order to access your information).
  • Ask yourself if the task can be done without the iPad/technology. If it can, ask yourself if there would be added tech skill-building possibilities if you go that route. Technology should enhance.

What tips do you have for educators who are going 1:1 in the classroom?


  1. Hi Cristy! I follow you on Twitter and believe I found your blog that way, or else it was through the awesome tech person at my school. I teach French at Bettendorf High School in Iowa, and we are becoming a 1:1 school with iPads. I found this post very helpful. Merci! :) ~Sheila

    1. Je vous en prie et merci à vous aussi pour votre commentaire, Sheila! It's so great to connect and I look forward to future communication with you about iPads in the world language classroom.