Since this amazing tool has come out, it has taken education by storm. Districts are integrating this tool into 1 to 1 initiatives or implementing carts to boost students use of technology. Over this time, there has been good, and there has been bad. I will quickly outline my observations regarding the iPad in classrooms and recommendations for current uses/improvements.

The power in the iPad is not in the apps, it is in how you use the apps. 
I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked if there is a good app for studying a specific topic or skills (EX. multiplication or microbiology). These types of apps are beneficial, but only for a short time. They are disposable and most of the time a waste of your memory. Instead, use a bank of 15-20 high workflow apps (ThingLink, Skitch, iMovie, Popplet, Educreations...) These apps allow you the freedom to cater tasks around your curriculum and the students interests. 

Active, Engaged lessons VS Screen time
Screen time is an extremely hot topic today. Children are being pushed into this digital world. Too often screens are used to soothe, or redirect a child's attention. Teachers need to tread carefully! Although there are great resources available on YouTube, or through web based games, they need to be used sparingly. Our goal is to create sound digital tool users and not digital zombies. Leverage their interest of technology and create authentic learning tasks that tie in standards, curriculum and technology and are still based on the high workflow apps your building has chosen. Use them for work and not for entertainment! 

Just because your not 1 to 1, doesn't make them doorstops
Although there is an immense amount of ease and accessibility with a 1 to 1 iPad initiative, iPads are still powerful tools outside of this environment. There are several strategies and uses that you can use to help ease the process without a 1 to 1 initiative.
  • Use QR codes as a teacher. Instead of asking students to copy a URL, use the Shorten Me Chrome extension to share a QR code instantly. 
  • Integrate Google. Create a shortcut through safari going to Google Drive. This can look the same as it does on a desktop, providing comfort to you and the students.
  • Advocate for high workflow apps. Learn how to use these in new, innovative ways, then teach others about their power.
    • ThinkLink, ShowMe, Popplet, Puppet Pals, Tellegami, Educreations, Idea Sketch, Skitch, Skype, Voice Record Pro, Pic Collage... (all are free)
  • Teach your students about signing in and out. Outside of a 1 to 1 initiative, this is inevitable. Teaching them the proper way to do it and check is important.
  • Be deliberate with integration. Our students will be entering a world that we may not be able to conceive at this point. Technology preparedness is essential for their success!