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You may have heard. Apple has a new education-focused iPad. It may look just like other 9.7-inch iPads. But it’s not. This hot new teaching tool promises to boost the already hefty benefits of using iPads in the classroom.

For one thing, it’s less expensive. But don’t be deceived. This classroom iPad packs added education-minded benefits with its lower price tag. Like Apple Pencil support and an updated suite of education apps. An HD FaceTime camera and 10 hours of battery life. An 8-megapixel rear camera. And Apple’s A10 Fusion chip – perfect for supporting powerful augmented reality apps. New software boosts teachers’ classroom management and creative instruction abilities.
The education spotlight is shining on the iPad. Making this an ideal time to take a look at the top benefits of using iPads in the classroom.
Benefit #1 They’re Easy to Use
In the universe of potential student devices, iPad takes the cake for ease and familiarity. More than a third of teens have an iPhone. (And 86% intend to own one soon.) For these students, the learning curve for using iPads in the classroom is virtually nonexistent. It’s just about as easy for those with other smartphone brands.

Pinch, tap, swipe, drag, and drop – iPad multitouch moves are second nature for today’s students. Even those as young as Kindergarten. Watch a child pick up an iPad for the first time. From Kindergarten to high school. Put an iPad in students’ hands and they begin moving text, cropping and editing photos and sharing like a pro. For today’s students, using iPads in the classroom is easy-peasy lemon squeezy.
Benefit #2 They’re Appealing
No doubt about it. Students like iPads. The Apple brand has immense cache among our youngest generations of tech users. The number of teens who own an Apple iPhone has been steadily climbing for several years. Younger siblings take note. With 98% of all households that have children under 8 owning a tablet, the youngest students are drawn to iPads. Device use among children and teens is not without controversy. For good or for ill, these are the realities of our times. Kids like iPads. And they can like using iPads in the classroom almost as much as using them at home. Savvy teachers (and parents) leverage the appeal of iPads for a multitude of learning benefits.
Benefit #3
They Lighten the Load
Textbooks are heavy. Lockers are small. (using iPads in the classroom can help!) Many students carry fully-loaded backpacks throughout the school day. Doctors are concerned. The health implications are many. Damage to muscles and joints. Long-term back, neck and shoulder pain. Lasting posture problems. Even difficulty concentrating in school.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that backpacks weigh no more than 10-20% of a student’s weight. Most kids today carry far more. Among the advice to address the problem is buying an extra set of textbooks to keep at home. Digital devices that connect to a world of textbooks and more, are an outstanding option. Of these, iPads are the smallest and most mobile.
Benefit #4
They’re Ultra-Mobile
Laptops and Chromebooks have their place. But iPads win top honors for being the most mobile student learning device. Compact and easy to maneuver, iPads are an ideal fit for the youngest students. Ever try taking photos with a Chromebook? Not that easy. With an iPad, it’s a breeze. Students of any age using iPads in the classroom can snap photos, which can be used to both enhance the learning process and demonstrate learning. Ditto with the iPad’s ability to record sound. Whatever the lesson, assignment or subject. Students can easily take their iPad wherever needed, to learn, study, create, and connect.
Benefit #5
They Boost Enthusiasm & Engagement
Teachers and research agree. Using iPads in the classroom encourages student involvement and enthusiasm. One example comes from a three-year study of high school students. It revealed that using iPads in the classroom resulted in greater learner engagement and collaboration.

Digital devices like iPads can lure the most disengaged students back into the learning process. One study found that boys became more enthusiastic when using a classroom iPad for writing projects. The principal of a school in this study noted that using iPads in the classroom had improved many students’ academic performance. Her comments echo those of many educators who have implemented classroom iPads: "We…found that attainment… increased in a lot of areas because the children are more engaged."

Benefit #6
They Make Learning Easier
With an iPad in their hands, students hold an infinite library of resources. Information and ideas that can be served up in virtually limitless ways. One tool that is many tools. This enables students to search out information in ways that work for them. Video, charts, and animations for visual learners. Written text for those who prefer to read. Hands-on interactive activities for kinesthetic learners. Young students can use age-appropriate apps to guide them. At any age, directly interacting with content increases engagement and understanding.

Using iPads in the classroom enables teachers to clarify difficult to grasp concepts. Importantly, iPads in the classroom let teachers show more than they tell. Take math for example. Teachers can use iPads to visually demonstrate concepts. Assign videos and live tutorials. Animations of processes. Ditto for biology, physics, history, geography and more. Pair the interactive capabilities of iPads with interactive apps for the greatest impact. When students can manipulate the components of a concept, greater understanding results.

Augmented reality (AR) offers up an entirely new realm for teaching and learning. It’s a big part of Apple’s new iPad education initiative. By combining computer-generated graphics with existing reality, AR apps create interactive learning experiences for students using iPads in the classroom. A frontrunner on the scene, Apple’s Froggipedia app uses AR to simulate dissecting a frog. Expect a flurry of new AR education apps built with Apple’s new ARKit for developers.

Benefit #7 Customized Learning
Kids learn differently. At different speeds and different levels. Large class sizes make it difficult for teachers to meet the needs of every student. Even with pull-out enrichment benefits, class time can be challenging for those not at the center of the bell curve. iPads to the rescue!

There are virtually infinite ways to use iPads in the classroom for differentiated learning. This case study of a Kindergarten teacher who used the iBooks Author app to create leveled non-fiction books for her students is an inspirational example. For the first time in 22 years of teaching,100% of her kindergarten students were reading above grade level when they graduated to first grade.

The free iBooks Author app lets teachers easily make interactive books for iPad using built-in templates. Here are some other ideas for using iPads in the classroom to customize learning in the classroom.

  • Add impact to essays. Appeal to visual and auditory learners by letting students demonstrate learning using the iPad’s multimedia capabilities. Integrating text and images. Adding audio, video, animations and more.
  • Use iPads to record your lesson. Students can watch it as many times as needed to grasp the information.
  • Ask students to use their iPads to record them showing a process, concept or understanding of information.
  • Offer accelerated students time to use their iPads to access expanded information and develop multimedia enrichment assignments.
  • Use iPads access to infinite content to match leveled materials to student reading or project groups.
Benefit #8
Added Accessibility

Apple designs its products with accessibility features to empower students of all abilities. Many teachers of students with learning differences hail the iPad as the ultimate digital device for their students. Sharon LePage Plante teaches students with language-based learning disabilities. Her take on using iPads in the classroom? “The built-in accessibility features in an iPad cannot be beaten by any other device,” says Plante. “There is nothing else to buy it with, nothing to be layered into a browser, like has to happen on a Chromebook.” iPads offer complete integration. This means that the accessibility features function with anything a student does on their iPad. Whether they’re using their iPad in the classroom with an app, the browser, or any other feature.

iPad accessibility features include:
  • Speak Screen - Reads content aloud to those who can’t see it, or who learn better with audio.  Reads all text content, including email, documents, web pages, and settings screens. Students can select from voice and dialect options for enhanced understanding.
  • Speak Selection – Lets users highlight a section to be read to them. Ideal for those with low vision or who are fatigued by reading small type.
  • VoiceOver – This gestures-based feature is a comprehensive tool for the blind. In addition to reading onscreen content, VoiceOver helps users navigate through their iPad (or any iOS device) by describing anything under a user’s finger. Launches with a triple click of the Home button. Works with all built-in iPad apps.
  • Guided Access – Locks iPad to a specific app. Great for keeping kids focused and on task.
  • Safari Reader View – Another distraction-taming feature, Reader View filters websites to remove videos, photos, ads and other media, letting students read web content without added visual clutter.
Benefit #9 They Foster Creativity
Once considered merely tools of consumption, today’s iPads are loaded with creativity-boosting capabilities. Powerful cameras, microphone, and speakers. Preloaded editing tools. Plus easy mobility and intuitive use. iPads are designed to let students begin creating in an instant. Add an Apple Pencil to using an iPad in the classroom for entirely new expressive capabilities. With sophisticated pressure and tilt sensors, it can be a pen, paintbrush, pastel stick and more. Students can enhance projects with technical drawings. Sketches. Calligraphy. Artwork from watercolor to oil painting.

The 2018 Apple Everyone Can Create initiative aims to boost creative learning with iPads to new levels. The program offers a collection of customizable projects. Teachers can adapt projects to add creative expression to any subject.
Benefit #10
iPads are Preloaded with Great Education Apps
Students and teachers can get down to using iPads in the classroom quickly, thanks to a preloaded collection of education apps. In March 2018, Apple updated and added capabilities to many of the popular iPad education apps.

  • iMovie – Video editor great for beginning and intermediate users. Brings the power of moving images to storytelling. Use for creative writing, book reviews, and to demonstrate learning in just about any area.
  • GarageBand – Audio workstation app with robust capabilities lets students play virtual instruments and compose original music. Explore multitrack recording and audio engineering. Share and collaborate with ease. Great for podcast creation as well as augmenting music and art lessons.
  • Pages – Word processing app that goes way beyond the basics. Create documents and transform them into interactive digital masterpieces with photos, illustrations, and audio clips. New Presenter Mode transforms iPads into customizable virtual teleprompters.
  • Keynote – Create presentations that come to life with easy-to-integrate custom drawings, photos, video, audio and more. Use to engage students with captivating presentations. Assign presentation development to demonstrate learning.
  • Numbers — Spreadsheet app lets users create tables, images and graphs. Great for creating lab reports. Updated to enable users to draw, write, or sketch with the Apple Pencil.
  • Swift Playgrounds – Well-designed coding app is colorful, fun and easy to use. Offers updated augmented reality features.
Bonus Benefit
Powerful New Teaching and Classroom Management Tools
Apple offers robust tools to help teachers improve efficiency when using iPads in the classroom. These include:

  • Schoolwork App– Introduced in March 2018, this workflow app helps teachers efficiently distribute and collect assignments. Monitor student progress. Facilitate collaboration. The Handouts feature lets teachers enhance assignments with web links, documents, PDFs and more. 

  • Classroom App for Mac or iPad – This powerful class management tool lets teachers easily monitor and manage a classroom full of students. Teachers can see what each student is doing on their iPad. They can assess progress. Guide students. Help keep them on task. All from their own iPad or Mac computer.

  • Apple School Manager – Used by IT staff to deploy and manage a school or district’s iPads and other iOS devices. Apple School Manager eliminates the burden of creating Student Apple IDs, letting teachers create IDs individually or for an entire class.

  • iCloud – Secure storage for student documents and projects. New Files app organizes files for easy retrieval. Also new: Teachers and students with a Managed Apple ID get 200GB of free iCloud storage.

  • Apple Teacher – This professional support program provides free, self-paced professional development training. Apple Teacher Starter Guides provide a solid foundation in key iPad classroom apps. Quizzes let you test your skills and ear recognition. Also included are curated resources, learning collections, lesson ideas and a host of advanced learning opportunities.


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