Over the last year I have gone from BYOD classrooms, to one-to-one iPad to a class with eight shared iPads. Having spent most of my teaching career in classrooms where every student had a device, no matter what that device was, it was quite a mental shift now teaching with only 8. With 27 students, that means that even 1:2 is not possible. As such, I have had to change my teaching approach and the apps I am using with my students. Here are come of my favourite solutions for teachers with anywhere from one to ten iPads for their class.
This has quickly become one of my favourite tools. In my one-to-one classrooms, I always loved Socrative for quick formative assessment. For younger students, I loved the polling feature of Edmodo (which remains my favourite LMS for primary schools). I have seen non-tech solutions to formative assessment, but they were all a lot slower than the instant results that graphed on my computer. Enter Plickers.
Plickers is a formative assessment tool that you only need one device to use. You print out QR codes that you give to the students with the letters A, B, C and D around the outside of the square. You then present a multiple choice question to them, using the Plickers app on your one device, and they select their answer by holding up their card with the letter of their answer at the top. You then use the camera on your device to scan across the room, collecting all of your students’ answers in about twenty seconds. The results are then tabled for you in the Plickers web app. Check out a visual of how it works below.
These are very common apps that come up on most one-to-one iPad lists. I love them in my shared iPad classroom though, because they allow students to create something amazing within a short amount of time. My Year 3s are still learning about sharing with most things in their life, and find sharing the iPads particularly challenging when they all want to use them! As such, I love apps that students can use easily, mostly independently and quickly. That way, I can set up rotations and everyone can use the iPad within an hour and a half session. These apps are also great because students work can be joined together once they are finished, creating something that we can share when parents come in to the classroom.
My school is not a Google Apps school yet, and it is challenging for younger students to save their work to the school server from the iPads. My solution is that I have created a Google account just for school, and have signed in to all of the devices using that Google Apps account. Now all of my students can save and back up their work to Google Drive, in their very own folders. This is a lifesaver in many ways: it means students don’t always have to work on the same iPad, they have a back up of their work, and we do not run out of space on the devices (which happens very quickly when saving more than one child’s work on one iPad!). It is also much easier to upload to Google Drive from most apps than saving to the school server.
Do you work in a one iPad or shared iPad classroom? How do you develop student learning with the device(s)?