How To Create Interactive Lessons for the iPad

interactive lessons

As a teacher, you are used to create your own lessons. The xerox, Microsoft Word, and PowerPoint are your trusted companions. But how can you effectively use iPads in your lessons?

The ebooks provided by publishers are mostly static and just not interesting enough for today’s students. Some educational apps are great, but finding the rights ones, figuring out how they work and getting them installed on all student devices can be a hassle.

Aren’t there easy ways to create your own materials for iPad? Yes, there are! Try these:

Re-use your existing material

All the material you’ve put together over the years isn’t lost. A simple way to re-use them is to convert them to PDF, either by exporting them from Word or Powerpoint (or most other apps) or by scanning them in if all you have is paper copies.

Students can view and annotate PDFs on their iPad using PDF Expert, GoodReader or one of the many other PDF readers available on the App Store.

If you really want to give those old Word docs an upgrade, convert them into an iBook by importing them into iBooks Author. From there, it’s just a small step to enhance them with interactive widgets such as those found on BookWidgets, Bookry, or those available from within iBooks Author.

Modernize your presentations

Most lessons involve some amount of teachers explaining and students listening. Powerpoint or Keynote were probably trusted companions in the past, but you can do more than that:

  • Prezi is a neat way to create captivating, modern presentations.
  • NearPod is a popular app that allows to add some interactive elements (like a quick poll question) to presentations and even has a store where you can buy ready-made presentations you can use as a starting point.
  • Finally, Explain Everything is a favorite among many teachers. Basically, Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard, where you can record yourself as you explain a topic. Students can watch and rewatch this on their iPads as needed, so it’s a great study aid and can also be used to implement differentiated learning quite easily.

Integrate topic-specific apps into your lessons.

There are many educational apps available on the App Store, ranging from fun activities and games to more instructive apps. The EdTechTeacher site is a great resource for helping you out in this search. The Teachers With Apps and Graphite websites are other good sources of exceptional educational apps, reviewed by peers.

Or just Google “10 best iPad apps for …” depending on the subject you teach. You will easily find apps which are great to integrate into your own lesson materials. You are not the first to do this research…

Create your own assessments, exercises and activities.

You can make your own exercises and activities, and easily share them with your classroom, using tools such as BookWidgets. This puts you in control over your own content, so you can make sure it fits perfectly with the topic and your student’s interests and skill level.

You can think of these exercises as small apps with a very specific function. You create them by using one of the many wizards. Examples include simple quizes, specific math exercises, but also more fun types to bring some life into the classroom like Bingo games or hangman puzzles.

Depending on the course you teach, different types of activities might be more suitable. One which is useful across the board is the Quiz widget. Use it to create automatically graded assessments or homework, prepare students for PARCC testing, or quickly set up an exit slip.

edtechteacher guest blog2
Image Credit: BookWidgets

Other exercise types are made specifically for math (Active Plot), history (timeline) or language classes. But the basic idea is always the same: you are in complete control of the content, limited only by your imagination.

Ten Questions You Should Ask Before You Flip Your Classroom – by Jon Bergmann

questions to ask before flipping

This is a a guest post by Jon Bergmann, pioneer in the Flipped Class Movement.

As the school year starts, many teachers are wanting to implement flipped learning into their classes.  Before you begin, I encourage you to answer each of the questions below.

The purpose of the questions is to help teachers BEGIN the process of flipping their class.  This is only the first step.  Flipped Class 101 can lead to Flipped Learning, which is a second stage of the Flipped Class. Many teachers are asking for some step by step guidelines as they begin.

  1. What will you flip?  (A lesson, a unit/chapter, a subject, or a class)
  2. Who will make your videos?  (Curate, create, or a combination)
  3. Assuming you will create videos, what software will you use to make your videos?   There is no right answer here.  Choose the tool that works best for you.  Explore some of the choices below before you start.  Learn one of them and use it.  I encourage you to start out simple, but as time goes on you may want to switch to a more feature-rich (and usually more expensive software solution)
  4. Once you have created your video, where will you place it so that your students can access it?  We find it best to put these in a coherent place on a learning management system (LMS).  Vendors include Blackboard, Moodle , Schoology, Haiku Learning, Canvas, Edmodo, My Big Campus, Info Mentor, etc.  The videos can also be hosted on video servers like YouTube , SchoolTube,, Dropbox,Google Drive, and other sites.
  5. How will you check (or will you) if your students watch (or should we say interact) with your online content?
  6. How will you communicate to your students how to access your flipped content?
  7. How will you teach your students how to watch your video content for comprehension?  You don’t watch instructional videos in the same manner as a popular film.  When we first started, we spent class time intentionally teaching our students how to watch instructional videos.
  8. How will you communicate to your students about how Flipped Learning will change their experience at school?
  9. How will you communicate to your parents about how Flipped Learning will be a different experience for their children?
  10. How will you reorganize class time now that you have extra time?  This is maybe the MOST important question:  WHAT will you do with your class time?  This question depends upon what you teach, what level you teach at and your own individual educational philosophy.

This list should get you started.  I would love to hear your comments on these questions and suggestions for any others you think should be included.

14 Brilliant Bloom’s Taxonomy Posters For Teachers

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a useful tool for assessment design, but using it only for that function is like using a race car to go to the grocery–a huge waste of potential.

In an upcoming post we’re going to look at better use of Bloom’s taxonomy in the classroom, but during research for that post it became interesting how many variations there are of the original work. While a handful of the charts below only show aesthetic changes compared to others, most are concept maps of sorts–with graphic design that signifies extended function (power verbs), detail (clear explanations), or features of some sort (Bloom’s Taxonomy tasks by level).

We couldn’t find the original sources for a few of them, so if you’re an owner and aren’t credited in the image itself, please let us know. Also, if you have some favorites we missed let us know on facebook, twitter, or Google+ as well.




Note: The follow 6 Bloom’s graphics were created by helloliteracy.







The following “Bloom’s pinwheel” comes from Kelly Tenkley and