As many teachers know, mobile devices are a staple in the modern classroom. One device in particular, however, has carved its place as king (or queen) of the classroom for its usability, child-friendliness, and immense educational potential: the iPad. Anyone with children as young as toddlers will know how Apple’s flagship tablet can engage, educate, and nourish developing minds for hours on end.
But in spite of all their educational potential, iPads in the classroom can quickly become a distraction if they’re not managed properly or used under sufficient teacher supervision. And if your school hasn’t invested in the infrastructure to guarantee a safe environment for students to use their iPads, they can quickly become dangerous.
In the words of Sam Gliksman, author of the highly informative iPad in Education For Dummies, “The rush to purchase iPads often precedes the careful planning and preparation that are so crucial to their success as educational tools.”
In this blog post, we’ll go over key tips and advice for effectively managing iPads in the classroom.
Implement an Acceptable Usage Policy for iPads in the classroom
An Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP) is a vital first step for managing iPads in the classroom. Not only does it clarify for students exactly what they’re allowed to do on their devices in class, it will also provide leverage for disciplinary measures. Make sure to have both parents and students sign your AUP at the beginning of the school year so that parents are in the loop and on board. In addition to outlining what constitutes acceptable and prohibited use, your AUP can also cover topics like taking care of your iPad, managing and saving work files, as well as what should happen in the event of an iPad being damaged.
Arrange your classroom for more interactive lessons
You might be surprised at how effective something as simple as rearranging chairs and desks can be for atmosphere and engagement in a classroom. For example, scrapping traditional rows in favour of a circular arrangement will give all students equal opportunity to feel involved, not only those at the front. Classroom arrangement is only highlighted when you throw iPads into the mix, as a more open and interactive floor plan can boost engagement while simultaneously encouraging accountability and responsible use. Students will be less likely to use their iPads for illicit activities if you can theoretically see what they’re doing at all times.
Use specialised apps to get the most from iPads in the classroom
Monitoring and controlling which apps your students can access will make managing iPads in the classroom considerably easier and more productive. As iPads become more commonplace in classrooms around the world, the number of suitable applications designed for educational use in the classroom is only set to increase. Some of our favourite apps include Class Dojo, a highly intuitive brainstorming app that aids learning through visualisation.
For a comprehensive list of great educational iPad apps, check out this list by TeachHUB.com.
Invest in the right technological infrastructure
Arguably the most effective method of managing iPads in the classroom is to equip educators and faculty with the technological tools and infrastructure they need. This should include factors that facilitate productive use of iPads, like sufficient bandwidth for all students and staff, as well as products that help create a safe learning environment, like network security and school management software. Mobile Device Management (MDM) software, in particular, can help teachers and parents ensure that students are getting the most from their iPads in a safe learning environment.
Managing iPads in the classroom is vital for modern schools. With the right tools, approach and an open mind, students and teachers can tap into the vast educational potential of Apple’s flagship tablet. Mobile Guardian’s innovative MDM solution can help your school do just that.