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.


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