Monday, April 1, 2013

Guest Blogger- Kate With Tips for Using an iPad in the Classroom

Happy April Fool's!  No fooling, there's another great guest blogger here today... Kate from Purely Paperless.  This post is full of great ways to use one iPad to make your instruction more engaging for your students.  All of the teachers in my district has iPads, but I have yet to really find a way to make my one iPad a really powerful instructional tool... I loved this post and you will too!

Using a Single iPad to Enhance your Classroom Instruction

Hi there, I’m Kate Peila and I teach second grade in Montana. I am long-time reader and lurker of Christina’s, so it is a tremendous honor to share with you here today. Full disclaimer- I feel a bit starstruck ;) I am a new teacher blogger and I write all about technology integration in the primary
classroom over on my blog, Purely Paperless. I am also a contributor over at the awesome tech site, Technology Tailgate.

A few years ago, each teacher in our grade level was gifted with an iPad to use in the classroom. Initially, it felt like a daunting task to utilize a single iPad with 22 excited, little second graders. Over the past couple of years, I have found more and more ways to maximize my use of the iPad in the classroom. So, if you are a single iPad classroom- or, you just have one for your own personal use- read on for a unique way to utilize the iPad in the classroom.

Using tools like Splashtop or Reflector, it’s easy to wirelessly utilize your iPad as a tool for whole group classroom instruction. Personally, I utilize an Apple TV set up to stream content from my iPad directly to my board, but using the Reflector App, you can use AirPlay, a feature on most iOS devices, to send any content that you are working on in your classroom directly to your computer, then you can hook your computer up to your projector and- presto!- instant interactive whiteboard bliss.

The Reflector app is a download for Mac computers- I hear tell that there is also a windows version too- that enables you to stream information from your iPad or iPhone to your computer. There is a free trial to check it out and a single license is $12.00. In my opinion, money well spent. 

So, now that you have all scrambled to check out the Reflector app, read on for some ways to use your newly enhanced iPad.

My Three Favorite Tools to Enhance Instruction

1.  Notability:

Notability is a $1.99 application in the Apple App Store. With Notability, I can import any PDF file directly into the application and students can write or annotate directly on the document. So, as
I am walking around the room teaching, I can set the iPad down on a student’s
desk, they can solve a problem or add a note, and it shows up on my iPad AND right on the
board. This is awesome for graphic organizers or notes on group reading... also, my students are fairly convinced that there is magic afoot in this scenario. I have done nothing to dissuade this belief. 

In this work sample, my fantastic junior field teacher from the local university utilized Notability to support her lesson on mysteries. Students filled in a graphic organizer directly on the iPad. I can tell you  with a fair amount of certainty that my kiddos were far more excited to write on the iPad than to go to the front and write on the board. 

2. ShowMe:

Similar to Notability, ShowMe is a free interactive whiteboard app in which students can write, draw, or add images onto a blank “whiteboard,” which then projects directly onto the board. So, if students are modeling a story problem, they can do their work on the iPad and, as my little darlings say, MAGICALLY it appears on the board.

I use this app ALL OF THE TIME. It's great for math and problem solving, but truthfully, you can use it for just about any content area. Definitely a good one to try out!

3. Any ole' app:

Any app that you want to utilize- perhaps to model before putting it into an independent center or just an activity to support your whole group instruction- can be displayed using this method. You can wander around the room, iPad in hand, and model strategies and skills.

Now, a point of clarification, can you do many of these things with a simple white board and document camera set-up?


Is it as engaging and exciting for students?


Can you wander around the room and use proximity control?


An added bonus if you choose to utilize any of the interactive whiteboard applications that I have shared with you: you can record the student presenting and save their work and ideas as a quick
assessment piece. This is great for some of those evasive and difficult to assess Common Core standards like: explain why addition and subtraction strategies work. Now, you have some concrete evidence to share.

These little videos also make great tutorials for students that may be absent or out the of the classroom during instruction. Easy peasy.

Thanks for allowing me to share with all of you! For more tips on integrating technology into the primary classroom and increasing your personal productivity and classroom management,
please stop by and follow my blog!

Purely Paperless


  1. thanks for sharing! We only have one ipad too. Though right now they tell us Apple TV is too much for our!

  2. This was a great post! I will return to my room after Spring Break with a brand new Smartboard and am excited to try some of these tips!

    Everyone deServes to Learn

  3. Thanks for the opportunity to share, Christina!

    ❁ Kate
    Purely Paperless

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    VPN For iPad

  5. love the post! great ideas! Thank you~

  6. Very well done with the post. Thank you so much for sharing the same.
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