Andrew Geller once said, “Technology is like a fish. The longer it stays on the shelf, the less desirable it becomes.” Even if you have only one iPad in the classroom, there are lots of easy ways to use it to engage students. NotIt is a free app that you can use to randomly select which student will have a turn to share their writing with the class, lead the line, or any other participation opportunity.
Mistake # 2 – Downloading every free app
Just because an app is free, doesn’t mean it is worth having on your iPad. What’s the harm? With 57 math apps on your iPad it will be impossible to remember what particular strength each one has, and it will take up some of the limited memory.
Mistake # 3 – Not thinking outside the box
Many wonderful apps exist outside the “education” category. SloPro is a free app designed to take slow motion video. It is wonderful to use in a lesson on “slow motion writing” – how to add lots of detail as if you could see an event in slow motion. CoachMyVideo is a sports app that has powerful utility in education. I have used it to videotape student behavior, then show them side by side improvement over time.
Mistake #4 – Selecting apps without a rubric
Rubrics guide teachers in grading student work. Shouldn’t they also be used to guide app selection? I encourage teachers in my workshops to develop their own rubrics, depending on what is important to them. Do you want data collection? Cultural diversity? Intuitive use? You may not be able to have every feature you want in an app, but if you have predetermined what criteria are most important to you, it will make your selection process more efficient and effective.
Mistake #5 – Going it alone
There is a tremendous amount of help available from educators and technology specialists on the internet. Google+ has several groups that share ideas and answer questions. Join the iPad Ed group and perhaps I will see you there!
Interested in attending a workshop on iPad apps in education and/or special education? I may be coming to a city near you. If not, contact me about providing a workshop to your school.