I just started a new job in a school in Banyoles and there is very little of Apple within the school. I carried my iPad around with me and the plan was that for as much as possible, I would be using the iPad in the classroom. To start with, I have all of my documents that I thought I might need in Evernote. These were documents that were sent to me by e-mail by the other teachers that I would be working with in the languages department. To a certain extent it worked fairly well, as I was able to gain access to images and text that I needed from Evernote during the day.
Using iPad in the classroom
Mostly I spent my time using the iPad to access the documents, but I also used the iPad to show video to my students. I had uploaded a couple of videos using iTunes which is a good way to move files to the iPad. It is really handy when using the iPad in the classroom to have the iPad pointing towards me when I set it up, and then just flip it over to show to the students. I like the way that the iPad spins the image around, so that it works right whichever way the iPad is up.
Problems I had using iPads in the classroom
On account of the school being completely Windows-based, I was unable to print from my iPad. Not much change of anyone in this school using iBooks for iPad. There was a document I had received by e-mail that was in Evernote that I needed to print. If I had more time to work it out I probably could have worked out a way to connect to the network and access the printer. That will be something I can try on the next day I am working in the school.
I couldn’t get to the document through e-mail because the e-mail address was the iCloud.me account. For some strange reason on the Windows computer, I was unable to access iCloud in order to see the e-mail. I did try a couple of different web browsers, one didn’t work with iCloud and the other told me that the username and password was incorrect. Again that is something I will have to try to sort out on my next workday.
Using the iPad in the classroom – Other solutions
What I should do instead, is to put any documents that I might need into Dropbox, as I know I will be able to access Dropbox through whatever platform is available. The problems that I had within the school were more to do with working out access to the hardware facilities on the network, than having anything to do with using iPads in the classroom.
Using Evernote was okay, but I am wondering if I might have better used a different stand-alone note taking application such as SimpleNote. The problem with SimpleNote is that it is just for text and not for pictures. I did have the pictures that I needed for the lessons tucked away in iPhoto for iPad. Getting access to those photos was therefore going to be very easy indeed. With the children scattered around the classroom, perhaps I should rearrange them, so that they would be able to see the photos better. You know how it is, there are always those that like to sit at the back of the class.
A teacher using an iPad in school
Having the iPad as a device which does everything for me is what I am looking for. I want to have it there so that I can do the register for the day – Mark whether the students are present or not. I want to have the ability for using iPad in the classroom for making my own notes. I did use the iPad for this purpose. While the children were completing a task and busy writing, I wrote a few notes about them. I am also keen to use the iPad for keeping records about what was done with the class. Maybe Evernote is the best solution for this as I can have a notebook within it, that I can search through using the name of the class, that can be applied to tags attached to the note. I may have to do some testing to find out which works best for me.
An ideal solution would be something like the school in Scotland where all of the students each have an iPad. In this situation everybody including the teachers are using iPads in the classroom and getting the best benefit from the Apple technology. I will report back on how it is going with this iPad in classroom experiment. It would be lovely to have an iPad school classroom where all the students had the iPad classroom experience. There are some places like that and there will be more schools using iPads in the future.