Friday, October 5, 2012

Managing a Modern Classroom: 4 Ways to Optimize iPad Usage inside the Class

A Guest Post by Aileen Pablo

Gone are the days when chalk boards, notebooks and fountain pens were the only thing you’d find in the classroom; these days, kids are using high-tech devices like iPads to enhance their learning.
The iPad is slowly gaining popularity in schools with interactive textbooks and educational apps to fit every age group, from kindergarten to college. Over 1.5 million iPads have already been adopted into schools around the world; a huge number considering that the device has only been around since 2010.
Of course, in order to make the iPad an asset in the classroom, teachers must have the know-how that is necessary to incorporate the device into their teaching curriculum.

To give you an idea of just how useful the iPad can be in an educational environment, here are four great ways you could use the iPad in your own classroom, even if you have just one or a couple of iPads to work with.

1. Reading and viewing textbooks 
While electronic devices and e-books can never take the place of traditional print books, using e-books that feature images, audio or even video in the classroom can help bring reading and learning alive for students and will enhance their learning experience.
If you are trying to explain a science concept for instance, rather than trying to draw it out on the chalk board, kids can view a video of it, complete with music and explanation. This gives them a much clearer picture of what you are trying to teach them, and makes it enjoyable at the same time.
Other iPad apps like Textropolis and Super Why enable kids to play word games that teach them to read in a fun way, without feeling pressured.

2. Math skills 
Math is typically a subject that kids love to hate, as numbers can be rather intimidating and are often seen as dull or boring. Putting a light spin on math exercises every now and then helps kids to relax and stop seeing math as something unpleasant or overly difficult.
For example, an app called Math Evolve teaches kids the basics of math by putting them into game form, complete with dolphins and other fun sea creatures. MathBoard is another useful app that can be customized to meet a child’s specific needs.

3. Spelling exercises 
Teachers have been using spelling games like hangman in class for years now, and computer games that teach such spelling exercises have long been present in most school curriculums. With the iPad you have limitless possibilities when it comes to apps that can be downloaded to help kids master their spelling.
A few good ones include Dr. Seuss’s ABC and iWriteWords, which allows kids to practice their handwriting and have their words read back to them so that they can hear how they sound.

4. Teacher apps 
Aside from the many benefits that iPads can have for your students, they can also help make some of your own tasks a little bit more manageable. Here are just a few teachers’ apps you may find useful:
Free books
This app provides you with nearly every book, biography, speech or essay you could ever think of, from classic novels to Shakespeare’s plays and philosophy papers. This can save you a lot of time if your school doesn’t have a very extensive library or if you want to stray a little from your main curriculum.
Magic Piano 
For schools that don’t have their own keyboard, this app is great for teaching kids some of the basics of music. Along with the virtual piano, you’ll also get preprogrammed sheet music for some of the classics and beginner pieces that are often taught in music class.
Teacher’s Assistant Pro
As a teacher you probably know how time consuming it can be to keep proper records of each child. With this app you can track and your student’s every move from their good behavior to their infractions to their smallest achievements. When it comes time to give the child’s parents an update, you can easily write up a report or take the iPad with you to teacher parent meetings.

Author Bio
Aileen Pablo is part of the team behind Open Learning Australia, one of Australia’s leading providers of Distance Education. When not working, Aileen blogs about education and career. She is often invited as a speaker in Personality Development Seminars in the Philippines. 

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