Teaching in the One-iPad Elementary Classroom


Of course the ideal situation would be to have a class set of iPads, but the reality for most teachers is that they may have access to only ONE and in many cases it’s a personal iPad. So if there is only ONE, what are some ways that it can be integrated into the classroom?

Probably the easiest way to use that iPad is to project its screen.  This can be accomplished several ways, each with their own requirements:

First and foremost, you must have an LCD projector.

  • Apple TV – Project what is on your iPad screen through the Apple TV.  The Apple TV device must be connected to the Wifi or by ethernet cable AND hard wired to the LCD projector.
  • Use software such as Reflector or Airserver to mirror the iPad screen to your computer,which is projected via the LCD projector.  (Contact ITS for the preferred software.)

This first set of ideas was adapted from Farrah’s blog, Think Share Teach.

  1. Small group instruction-There are countless apps that can be downloaded for free or at very little cost that are beneficial for a small group of 4-6 students to work on together. The children at the small group table take turns (round-robin style). While one child answers the question/problem on the iPad, the others work it on white boards or with manipulatives. The iPad gets passed around the table in a clockwise motion and we continue this until everyone has had at least 2 turns.
  2. Paired with Document Camera– Place the iPad under a document camera and project the iPad’s screen.  One or more students can take turns clicking the iPad.
  3. As a Center Activity-If it’s not being used with small groups (or maybe after we’ve finished), sometimes I allow small groups of students to take turns playing games on the iPad in groups of 2-4. (I love this idea for school-purchased iPads, but as the one I have is my personal iPad, I do this sparingly).
  4. As an Interactive Slate-With the Splashtop app ($4.95) or Doceri, I can control my computer with my iPad. This allows me to walk around the room and use my iPad as an interactive slate. Instead of having students come to the board to click, drag, write, ect…They can do the same things from their seats on my iPad! This allows for even more interactive lessons because of the time efficiency.

The next set of ideas was adapted from Eanes ISD Elementary schools’ Elementary EdTech blog.  Post and images by Margie Brown Eanes ISD EdTech

The Educational Technologists who work with these schools polled teachers and received some wonderful responses for how to use one iPad in the classroom.  Here was the question posted via a Google Form and some of the most often shared responses are below.

If you have a system for individual students to use the iPad, can you please explain it?

• Name on a list / Checklist of names to ensure equity of use / Names on sticks – pull one a day and that students gets to use the iPad until all students have had a turn.

• Rotation schedule for centers / Rotate through 2 centers a day so 4 – 5 kids use the iPad. / 1 – 2 students work on different education apps during center time.

• I have student practice spelling words, high frequency words, math facts or with my younger students practice letter naming and sounds.

• They have to “buy” time with their tickets they earn. / Positive reinforcement for completing tasks/following directions

• Each day 4 students are drawn to use the ipads during Daily 5 choice time to practice their spelling words.

• They can use it freely to get on Xtra Math or take an AR quiz. They use it during BYOT tech app Fridays.

If you have a system for small groups to use the iPad, can you please explain it?
• Group A every Monday
• Teacher lead, pass around                                                  
• Rotation schedule
• I have iPad at center and students work on a particular app.
• I name the user group
• I work it into my lesson plan for center time
• Incorporate it into our small group table activities during center time rotation
• In small reading group instruction, our ipad is an invaluable tool to help us learn letter names and sounds, correct pronunciation, recognition of sight words, shape recognition, not to mention tactile development.
• BYOT Tech App Fridays

How do you keep the students on the specific apps you want them to use?

• Sitting by them – easy to do in a small group setting / Monitor / 1:1 supervision / assistance from a teacher
• I model how to go to each one and how to use them. I’ve put most apps in designated folders, specifically for student use.
• I have made folders with different apps for different grade levels I work with.
• I’m sitting right there with them as PART of the group( I’m part of the team )
• The app they will use is already up and running when they get the iPad.
• Explain to them appropriate use and consequences if they don’t use it appropriately. And trust…
• I announce ahead of time which apps can be used during that time.

What apps have you found that provide an engaging and relevant learning experience for your students?

• Math apps are great! I also use Flash Card app for sight word reading and bingo. In general, the kids respond well to any app I show them. I also use Aimsweb on the iPad and it is wonderful and easy to use when doing progress monitoring on the kids.
• Every day Math apps, Screen Chomp, Daily 5
• Oh No! Fractions, Math Ninja
• Math Bingo, Alphabet apps for younger students
• Math and Word bingo, several different math and language apps, handwriting apps, and sight word apps…
• iMovie, Pullups, and the basic camera.
• iWrite Words
• SpellBoard is what we use for spelling practice. I like that I can program in the words they practice, adding more than what is on our weekly list- more challenging words for those that need it.
• Letter Quiz, Cimo (spell out) Spelling, Sight Words 2, Fun Rhyming, Read-a-Louds
• Puppet Pals, Sock Puppets. I have recently loaded “Snapseed” a free app from Starbucks, and I will use that app more with students who take pictures.
• Word Wizard, Spell Board, Word Bingo, Pop Words, Sight Words Hang Man, Flash to Pass Free, Everyday Math Apps, Math Bingo, Amazing Coins, Grade 1 Math, Teach Me 1st Grade, Flat Stanley, Grade 1 Math and Science….soooooo many!