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Managing iPads in the iClassroom

Published on Nov 18, 2015

Tips and Best Practices for managing iPads in the classroom.



Management Tips

Things to Consider...

  • iPads won't change poor classroom management.
  • Adding iPads doesn't mean more learning.
  • Adding iPads to a boring lesson doesn't necessarily make it interesting.
  • How will iPads change my classroom Management Practices?
(compiled and modified from this source: http://www.slideshare.net/stevekatz/middle-school-laptops)
Photo by Lance Shields


1. TEACHER COMPOUND: Consider placing the teacher compound at the back of the room so you can see the iPad screens.

(use the two eyes /two feet app: http://hookedoninnovation.com/2014/02/24/the-best-app-for-monitoring-studen...)

2. WIRELESS TOOLS: Use wireless tools like AirPlay, AirServer, and Apple TV to be more mobile in the classroom.

3. REDESIGN the CLASSROOM: Know your design drivers.

(review David Jakes resources to guide and facilitate this process: http://davidjakesdesigns.com/westlake-high-school)
Photo by trrpngirl

Clear Expectations

And Procedures

(see example: http://www.techchef4u.com/ipad/ipad-oath/)

2. iPAD MUSTS: Create a list of iPad Musts for your class (e.g. Google Classroom account, email set up, PDF annotation tool, charged iPad, etc…)

Photo by mick62

Limit Down Time

1. DON'T SEND MIXED MESSAGES: Letting students play for 5 minutes at the end of class sends the wrong instructional message about the devices and the value of time in your classroom. (This also drains bandwidth at the end of classes that may need to be submitting work electronically.)

2. GET STUDENT FEEDBACK: Rather... allow them to share an instructional app that is useful to them or tips/features about one that they are using for note-taking or organization that another student may not know about.

3. SURPRISINGLY EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Tanna Fiske has compiled a list of educational "gaming" apps that might be appropriate: http://list.ly/list/2SA-top-educational-ipad-games
Photo by monkeyc.net

Attention Cues

Use a VARIETY of ATTENTION CUES to transition from task to task and to prepare students for what they will do with the devices:

1. Apples Up

2. iPad Today / iPad Not Today sign on door

3. Open/Closed/Stowed

4. Hands On / Hands Off

5. Snooze it or Lose It

(compiled from these resources:
http://ipadintro.blogspot.com/p/classroom-management-tips.html and http://rtschuetz.blogspot.com/2013/02/classroom-management-in-11-environmen...)

Management for

Off Task Behavior
1. Use the MULTITASKING BAR to check for recent apps opened if you suspect off-task behavior.

2. Use COLORED SLIDES in instructional Nearpods or Keynotes to serve as a visual cue to easily see if students are off task.

3. Use TIMERS to guide students through tasks and apps.

4. If TEACHER CLOSES lid, teacher OPENS lid.

5. Know when off-task behavior might be INSTRUCTIONALLY BENEFICIAL (e.g. researching more in depth on a topic in the current lecture.)

6. Conduct RANDOM Unannounced iPad Checks.

Check for Understanding

Provide opportunities to check for understanding with the iPads (much like you would with a whiteboard):

1. iPads FACE ME: Have all iPads face the teacher for a quick check of understanding (great for Math)

- Use Drawing Apps like Paper by 53 and Glow Draw to mimic tasks that could be achieved with a whiteboard

2. FLIP THE SCREEN: Have a partner check for understanding (think / pair /share)

3. FASTEST FINGER: Have students research a topic, answer, or even place/image and ask them to put their iPad up when they think they found it.

Real Time Programs

and Assessment
Use REAL TIME PROGRAMS like Nearpod, Kahoot, Socrative, etc... to gauge for understanding and engage the entire class in the instruction.

(see Less Chalk and Talk: http://rebecca-davies.net/2014/03/20/6-strategies-for-managing-behaviour-in...)

Task Guidelines


1. Red: No iPad

2. Yellow: Use only these 2-3 apps

3. Green: Any apps…

(summarized from this article: http://www2.classbook.com/blog/5-best-practices-for-managing-a-11-ipad-clas...)
Photo by zeevveez

Provide Students

with Specific Roles
Provide students with SPECIFIC ROLES (e.g. take notes for group, post questions to Padlet wall, prepare Keynote). When each student has a clear and delineated role, less off-task behavior tends to occur.
Photo by Dunechaser


Differentiate Instruction:
Differentiating has never been easier. Now that every student has their own device, providing tiered and scaffolded instructional materials tailored to a variety of students without calling attention to those students is a much more streamlined process.

Consider using tools like QR Codes, Thinglink, Doctopus, Nearpod, iTunes U, etc...

Differentiate Student Tasks - Give choice for how students can complete the project.

See one teacher's example:

Photo by Ken Whytock

Teach Self-Management

And Glean Ideas from Students
Some students have found practices that work to keep them organized and on task. Have them share these ideas (and apps) with other students.

1. CREATE FOLDERS and PAGES: create a folder of apps for each class or a task. Place some folders and apps 2-3 screens away so they not a visible distraction during instructional time.

2. Use GOOGLE CALENDAR for class schedules.

3. Consider providing students with a DAY PLANNER. (see Kurt Klynen's example: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/day-planner/id1137134771?mt=11)
Photo by Cayusa

The Next Level...

The Next Level: How Do you React to Off Task Behavior?

1. REMOVE the DEVICE (only during your class).

2. REPORT INAPPROPRIATE USE (Acceptable Use Agreement).

Photo by SFAI love