19 Tips, Tricks and Apps for Classroom Management

If anyone tells you that an iPad is just for playing Angry Birds, this list of teacher tools is sure to change their mind.  Check out these tips, tricks and apps for classroom management!

  1. Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 2.41.46 PMRead Alouds and Short Text Recorder(manage test prep)
  2. Siri Speaks to Me (manage conference notes)
  3. WordPress (manage a class blog)
  4. Test Prep Aids for the Teacher – Pacing(manage test prep)
  5. Make Your Own Buttons (manage student iPad screens)
  6. Gmail to Organize Student Work(manage student work)
  7. I Can’t Live Without… Dropbox (manage resources)
  8. Management Tools on the iPad (manage time and volume )
  9. Pick a Student (manage participation)
  10. Dragon Dictation (manage conference notes)
  11. Hourglass iPad Timer (manage time)
  12. Organize Your iPad Cart (manage resources)
  13. Picture Perfect Behavior (manage behavior)
  14. iPad Name Tags: What’s my number? (manage devices)
  15. Dropbox: Fill it up! (manage resources)
  16. Use Too Noisy for Volume Control (manage volume)
  17. iPad Reference Charts (manage devices)
  18. Random Name Selector (manage participation)
  19. Siri in the Classroom: Homework (manage homework)


Apple publish ‘For Education’ collection on the App Store

Apps, iBooks and iTunes U resources presented in one handy place.

'For Educators' collection in the App Store

Apple recently added a new section to their App Store called ‘For Educators‘. Here, teachers can find resources – apps, guides, iBooks and iTunes U courses which Apple recommends.

Tools for teachers

Book Creator can be found under the ‘Tools for Teachers‘ section, and also features in many of the ‘One Best Thing‘ books by Apple Distinguished Educators.

Tools for Teachers

Book Creator is consistently in the top 5 paid Book apps and Book Creator Free is among the top 20 free Education apps, so if anything we’d like to see Book Creator feature more in the new ‘For Educators’ section. Nevertheless, we know teachers will appreciate the guides for some of our favourite apps: Explain Everything, Puppet Pals HD, Sketchbook Express and Hopscotch.

And besides, teachers already have the excellent Book Creator Teacher Guide form Adam Foster, and another Book Creator guide was recently published by Tom Gootzen, which is available in Dutch and English.

Book Creator guides on the App Store


The 8 most common mistakes when integrating iPads into the classroom


This post is not meant to be judgey!  Even the best techie teacher started somewhere and most likely made one of these common mistakes.  I think I made all five during the same lesson when I first started to integrate iPads.

Whether you are just starting out with iPads or are a seasoned iPad integrator, let’s look at the 8 mistakes most teachers make when using iPads in the classroom and how to avoid them:

1.  Spending too much time teaching how to use a specific app.  We are teachers.  We teach.  Everything is a teachable moment, including what every button on this or that app does.  And what happens if we touch this button and whoops –whatever you do do not touch this button – and so on and on until most of your lesson is devoted to instructions on how the app and iPad works and less on your lesson’s learning objective.  Think of it this way, when you teach a writing skill,  you do not spend the first 20 minutes of the lesson telling students how to hold a pencil and which way to orient their paper.  The iPad is a tool the same way a pencil and paper are for writing.  Teach your learning objective first, spend a few minutes TOPS on the specific app and let students explore.  Just like writing with a pencil is somewhat intuitive – hand a baby a crayon and she is bound to start scribbling – iPad apps are also intuitive.  In fact, most apps are designed specifically so that users won’t have to read directions.  Many have tutorials or use { similar icons } that students will learn to recognize.

2. Only integrating apps you are an expert with using.  There are so many apps and not enough time to master them all.  If you only teach those that you know inside and out, your students will miss out on the latest ones with the newest features.  Read a review on a trusted ed-tech website, play around with it for a few minutes to make sure it fits the objective you are trying to teach and is developmentally and age appropriate, and then hand over the learning to your students.

3. Using apps blindly.  On the flipside of #2 is using an app you have not vetted at all.  Many free apps contain ads or only allow students to play one level before locking and linking to the paid version of the same app.  Know the limitations of the apps you plan to use so your lesson isn’t thrown for a loop because students were only allowed to make 1 ten second video before purchasing something.

4. Not having a save and share plan.  Many apps will allow students to save their work to the camera roll.  But some don’t.  Once students get their work to the camera roll what then?  If a student saves work to the camera roll and no one sees it, likes its, or comments on it, did it even exist at all?  The point is, you want to hold students accountable for the work they do.  You want to be able to give them feedback.  Plus students will want to share their work with each other, their school, and their parents.  One of the best aspects of 21 century technology tools in the classroom is the ability to share.  Make sure your students know what to do with their work whether taking a screen shot and uploading it to a class blog, saving their videos to the camera roll and uploading to { YouTube } or {Google Drive } both options I have conveniently created free student-friendly instructions for, or saving to an in-app class account.

5. Not having a class account.  I have written about this tip { here }and it is one of the tips I share with teachers most often.  So many apps require an email and a password to save or use.  Younger students should not have their own email addresses, and since I don’t want to share my email and password with students nor do I want to log into the app 24 times myself, I created a free account via gmail with a name and a password I do not mind sharing with my students.

6. Not utilizing student experts.  I can’t remember where I first saw the concept of a S.W.A.T. team, or Students Who Assist with Technology team, but assemble one A.S.A.P.  You have students in your class who are comfortable with iPads.  Maybe their siblings or parents have one.  Maybe they have an iTouch.  They will know many of the quirks and tricks and can help other students.  What I especially love about this concept is that the students who end up being members of the S.W.A.T. team are not always the typical class leaders.  It is an opportunity to give kids with a very particular set of skills a chance to shine.  (Bonus points if you got the Liam Neeson reference).

7. Not having an app-swap backup plan.  We make back-up plans for subs and for when our special area classes are cancelled.  Heck, I even have a back-up plan for some of my back-up plans.  That said, I can’t believe how many times my back-up plan for technology involved doing something completely different.  Let’s say we planned to make videos using ShowMe but for some reason ShowMe was being glitchy.  In the past, I would have switched gears and would wait to do it a different day or even may have moved on with another lesson.  Don’t do this!  If one app isn’t working, have an idea of another one that may work similarly.  Remember #1?  Don’t get so stuck on using one type of app that if that app updates and works differently or changes to a paid model, you have to abandon ship.

8.  Not allowing student modifications.  No matter what app you are using, your students will find some feature you did not know existed.  Usually it involves emojiis or changing font.  They will ask you, “Can we add singing glitter emojii stickers and use this Old English wingding cursive font to our current event video about  the shrinking Polar ice caps?”  The answer is “Yes.”  Here’s the thing, student content on the iPad is not just about showing you, the teacher, that they learned something, it is also about a larger audience.  If your students are blogging or presenting, their audience is going to be each other and other students in the world.  Somehow that one feature they all need to add to their work is a feature you, the adult, overlooked.  Let it be a reminder that it truly is the next generation that determines the way our digital landscape moves forward.  And realize that, if my students’ preferences are any indication, unreadable font choices and stickers of peanuts with legs making grimacing faces are the future.

Anything I missed?  What mistakes did you make and what have you learned in your iPad integration journey?

50 Resources For Teaching With iPads


A Collection Of The Best Resources For Teaching With The iPad

by TeachThought Staff

So we thought we’d start an ongoing collection–that is, one that is updated to reflect trends and changes–of the best resources for teaching with the iPad.

This will include resources from all of the best sources, from Apple’s own stuff to TeachThought to edutopia to MindShift to DMLCentral to Jackie Gerstein and more. We can update it, or make it a wiki to crowdsource the process, or you can add suggestions in the comments below. Based on the activity of the comments, and the sharing of the post, we’ll decide how to handle it moving forward.

Collecting The Best Thinking, Apps, & Resources For Teaching With iPads

How iPads Function In Education

The Access Model: 1:1 Teaching with iPads, by TeachThought

Terry Heick of TeachThought looks at the characteristics of an iPad-friendly curriculum.

Jackie Gerstein looks at engagement and user-centeredness of a tech-focused classroom

DML looks at the iPad and “generativity.

Sync Teaching & Second Screen Learning, by Terry Heick

edutopia’s Beth Holland takes a look at the important issue of screen time.

Terry Heick asks, “Are apps the new textbook?”

Apple’s resources for iPads in education.

The Tabula Project looks at the riddle of iPad integration

The Padagogy Wheel: SAMR + teaching + apps + pretty graphic

Preparing For iPad Deployment

TeachThought looks at the kinds of big questions that can help you think about how iPads might “fit’ in your classroom.

Beth Holland at edutopia looks at your “first 5 days” of an iPad classroom

edutopia follow-ups that post with this one on the first 5 days, weeks, and months

MacObserver looks at the now-infamous LA iPad-rollout fail.

MindShift offers a set of questions to help gauge your “iPad Readiness.”

Alyssa Tormala offers lessons learned from teaching with iPads, via edutopia

MindShift looks at rolling out an iPad program with “eyes wide open

Tips For iPad Security In The Classroom

38-of-the-best-educational-games-for-ipadThe Best Apps For Teaching & Learning

38 of the Best Educational Games for iPad

What are the best free apps for teaching and learning? Here is one collection to get you started.

Sam Gliksman’s “essential apps for education.”

25 Apps For Project-Based Learning

Looking to go with a paperless classroom? Here are some apps to get started.

TeachThought offers apps for guided reading in the elementary classroom.

Apps that demonstrate apps > textbooks

Apps to make videos, apps for writing on the iPadapps that promote student-centered teaching, and apps that clarify new ways to learn

iPad Utility & Function

Adding YouTube clips to the iPad Photo Roll

A primer for projecting your iPad screen.

Making your iPad function as a document camera.

Apple’s iTunes Education Spotlight

Apple’s recommendations for iPad assessment. (This one is more about the features of the iPad and how to use Guided Access than it is actual assessment practice.)

Getting started with PDF worksheets for tablets.


Ideas For Lessons

TeachThought’s “iPad Spectrum” that offers iPad-designed activities framed (roughly) around increasingly-complex cognitive demand.

Andrew Marcinek at edutopia takes a look at six examples of iPad integration

Using iMovie trailers as icebreakers.

A decent collection of iPad-friendly activities.

62 ideas for teaching with iPads.


Jackie Gerstein asks, Is There A Digital or Intellectual and Pedagogical Divide?

A list of iPad pilot programs

Putting together an iPad pilot proposal

A general technology (& thus iPad-friendly) walkthrough document.

From edutopia, iPads vs laptops, with examples

25 Tips For Teaching With Apps

An annual teaching-with-iPads conference organized by educators, for educators.

Why iOS 8 will be a hit with educators, by MacWorld.

Apple’s iTunesU Overview

The History Of the iPad in Education, by TeachThought’s Terry Heick

50 Resources For Teaching With iPads


5 Benefits of iPad Math Apps


If your child needs a little extra support in math class, your first response may be to sign him up for tutoring at your local math tutoring center. While this can be a helpful way to get some support and instruction, it can eat away valuable time for your family. Instead, consider iPad-based tutoring apps. Here are four key benefits your child will receive.

1. Convenience

Math help on the iPad is simply convenient. Instead of having to take the entire family to the tutoring center, then spend an hour of your valuable time waiting while your child receives math instruction, you can allow your child to practice at home on the iPad, while you get other things done around the house. This saves time and fuel costs for your family.

2. Engagement

Students in today’s society are highly engaged with digital devices, like the iPad. This means that a child who has the option to practice math on an iPad is going to be more engaged with the practice than one who is working on a worksheet or at a tutoring center. App-based tutoring and practice can use reward systems that the modern child responds well to, which encourages them to continue working with the program.

3. Portability

Modern life is busy, and you are always on the go. Tutoring with an iPad gives you the ability to take the tutoring with you no matter where you are. Your child can do the work, no matter what your family is doing. If you are at a sibling’s sports practice, the student can work on math while waiting. If you are driving from school to an after school activity, then your child can have fun, engaging math practice on the go.

4. Timely Feedback

A math tutoring app gives your child faster feedback from qualified teachers. Rather than waiting for the specific tutor or teacher your child is working with to respond or provide feedback, a math tutoring app can provide instant feedback. Even if your child is practicing at odd hours, the technology allows for feedback to occur. By giving instruction at the point of learning, the technology gives your child a greater chance of retaining the concepts. Technology makes it easier for instruction at the point of learning to occur.

5. Standardized Curriculum

Math apps on the iPad mean that your child will receive the same progression through a curriculum that lines up with state or national standards, rather than working through the concepts provided by an individual tutor. A standardized curriculum ensures that your child is prepared for what he will need in the classroom.

If you are looking for a math app for the iPad that will connect your child with certified teachers, provide instruction at the point of learning and give you proven tutoring and practice in a convenient, motivating format, then consider Tabtor. You will gain all five of these benefits for your child, watch as math scores and confidence increase and avoid the hassle of heading to the math tutoring center. For children from Kindergarten through grade 8, you can get the math practice you need conveniently with the help of Tabtor.