A colleague of mine will be the department chair at a 1:1 iPad school next year. While we don’t have a 1:1 program (yet), I have piloted iPads in my classroom. I wanted to share the apps that worked well in a science classroom and general deployment tips.
To start, there are some general apps for any classroom:
- iWord (Pages, Keynote, Numbers)
- iLife (iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand)
- iTunes U
- Dropbox (or another cloud-based file system)
- Canvas (you are using Canvas, right?)
Labs are a critical part of any classroom. I’m a huge fan of Vernier’s LabQuest 2 devices which play particularly well with their Graphical Analysis app. A lot of great lab work can be done via video analysis through Vernier’s Video Physics app. I didn’t use an app for lab notebooks in my classroom, but I recently visited 4th and 5th grade classrooms where students were working through a STEM unit and were creating fantastic lab notebooks with data tables, graphs, videos, and written reflections using the Creative Book Builder app.
There are several other apps which I have found very useful:
- For collaborative drawing and problem solving, I haven’t found an app that is better than a $2 whiteboard. For individual note taking and drawing, Notability is my favorite app.
- For additional analysis, the Desmos app is a fantastic graphing application. The best calculator app is PCalc.
- For formative assessment and peer instruction, I had a lot of success with Nearpod.
- For project and screencast projects, Explain Everything is fantastic.
- It isn’t released yet, but I’m looking forward to Computable which combines IPython and SciPy on the iPad.
These final two aren’t apps for the iPads, but enhance the utility of iPads.
- An iPad easily (and cheaply) replaces a document camera. I use the first version of Justand, but Justand V2 looks even better.
- To share whatever is on the teacher’s or any student’s iPad by projecting it so the entire class can see it, I run Reflector on my laptop which is connected to the projector.
You may have the best collection of apps on your iPads, but if you don’t have a strategy for device deployment and management, you’re in trouble. MDM is pretty much required these days and iOS 7 plays well with it. Fraser Speirs and Bradley Chambers have a lot of experience deploying and managing iPads. Their podcast Out of School has a series of episodes focusing on deployment.