10 Easy Back-To-School Uses for your iPad
The 2012–2013 school year begins in just a few days. Use your iPad to help you plan, improve your practices, and get to know your students.
1. Common Core Standards App
When No Child Left Behind ends in 2014, the United States will be integrating the new Common Core Standards into K–12 education. Many districts have already started transitioning. Regardless of your district’s plan for the upcoming change, all teachers should be educating themselves on how the Common Core will impact how they teach.
Access the Common Core Standards via by MasteryConnect (free). The app makes the standards easy to navigate and will be a useful tool for future planning!
2. Online Learning Exchange
Enhancing your lessons to engage students is easy with OLE. Sign on; search a topic by keyword, course, or standard; and instantly have access to lots of images, videos, activities, and more. Add resources to your library or assign an activity to your students! Start a discussion with other educators and share your ideas!
3. Google Docs and Calendar
The most successful teachers collaborate with other educators! Actively collaborate in your planning by using Google Docs. All collaborators can easily access the most updated version of your work, whether it’s a document, spreadsheet, drawing, or presentation.
Google Calendars will help your team stay organized, whether you are planning an interdisciplinary project or trying to ensure that students don’t have too many major assignments due at once!
4. Student Data
In order to evaluate how much our students have grown, we have to know where they started! I start every school year by creating a comprehensive database of my students’ standardized test results, attendance, and language proficiency information. This information is then used to inform my daily instruction, as well as make seating charts and student groups.
Not everything that we need to know about our students can be summarized in standardized tests. I spend the first few weeks of school informally assessing my students on several concepts, like use of academic language or leadership.
My iPad allows me to easily record this information without being tied to my desk. I walk around the room assessing my students and recording my observations.
Apps like VoiceThread make it easy for me to record audio and make annotations via text.
6. Positive Behavior Support
As a middle school teacher, I am always looking for ways to monitor and manage student behavior. ClassDojo is a web-based app that makes it easy to track student behavior. Create a free account and build your classes. You can even create an avatar for each student.
I reward students for coming to class on time and prepared, for collaborating with their peers, and for being productive. They lose points for failing to turn in homework, disrupting the class, or showing disrespect to an adult or peer.
Get To Know Your Students
7. Student Survey
It’s important that we get to know our students at the beginning of the school year. If you like having your students take surveys, try having them complete one online!
Create a form using Google Docs and distribute it to your students in the form of a QR code. The data will be easier to organize, and your students will enjoy using the iPads.
8. Multiple Intelligences
Grouping students appropriately is a priority in my classroom. At the beginning of the year, I want to know the type of learner each student is so that I can group them homogenously based on learning style and heterogeneously based on academic ability.
There are a few online Multiple Intelligences surveys that deliver immediate results and are student friendly. I like Edutopia’s version for its ELL-appropriate language and detailed descriptions of the various intelligences.
9. Take Pictures!
Enhance your classroom community by decorating the walls with pictures of your students. Save the pictures until the end of the school year and show your students how much they’ve grown and changed. Like we all once did, students treasure the first days of school and will appreciate having those moments captured.
10. Podcasts as Professional Development
There are thousands of podcasts available for free via iTunes, and many of them are related to K–12 education. I listen to podcasts for ideas, inspiration, and professional development. MacReach with Meg Wilson and Kelly Dumont provides me with all three. With over 50 shows available for download, you’ll have instant access to an entire library of great ideas and best practices.
iPads are an incredible resource for teachers! For more tips and ideas on how to best use them in the classroom, check out my past blogs on must-have apps for teachers and first steps for setting up iPads in the classroom.