“It is in changing that things find purpose.”

– Heraclitus

Roslyn High School on Long Island recently started a pilot program using iPads in some  classrooms. Michelle Mahepath teaches her students with the device.    Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

The New York Times, January 6, 2011, by Winnie Hu, ROSLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. — As students returned to class this week, some were carrying brand-new Apple iPads in their backpacks, given not by their parents but by their schools.

A growing number of schools across the nation are embracing the iPad as the latest tool to teach Kafka in multimedia, history through “Jeopardy”-like games and math with step-by-step animation of complex problems.

As part of a pilot program, Roslyn High School on Long Island handed out 47 iPads on Dec. 20 to the students and teachers in two humanities classes. The school district hopes to provide iPads eventually to all 1,100 of its students.

The iPads cost $750 apiece, and they are to be used in class and at home during the school year to replace textbooks, allow students to correspond with teachers and turn in papers and homework assignments, and preserve a record of student work in digital portfolios.

“It allows us to extend the classroom beyond these four walls,” said Larry Reiff, an English teacher at Roslyn who now posts all his course materials online.

Technological fads have come and gone in schools, and other experiments meant to rev up the educational experience for children raised on video games and YouTube have had mixed results. Educators, for instance, are still divided over whether initiatives to give every student a laptop have made a difference academically.

At a time when school districts are trying to get their budgets approved so they do not have to lay off teachers or cut programs, spending money on tablet computers may seem like an extravagance.

And some parents and scholars have raised concerns that schools are rushing to invest in them before their educational value has been proved by research.

“There is very little evidence that kids learn more, faster or better by using these machines,” said Larry Cuban, a professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, who believes that the money would be better spent to recruit, train and retain teachers. “IPads are marvelous tools to engage kids, but then the novelty wears off and you get into hard-core issues of teaching and learning.”

But school leaders say the iPad is not just a cool new toy but rather a powerful and versatile tool with a multitude of applications, including thousands with educational uses.

“If there isn’t an app that does something I need, there will be sooner or later,” said Mr. Reiff, who said he now used an application that includes all of Shakespeare’s plays.

Educators also laud the iPad’s physical attributes, including its large touch screen (about 9.7 inches) and flat design, which allows students to maintain eye contact with their teachers. And students like its light weight, which offers a relief from the heavy books that weigh down their backpacks.

Roslyn administrators also said their adoption of the iPad, for which the district paid $56,250 for the initial 75 (32-gigabyte, with case and stylus), was advancing its effort to go paperless and cut spending. In Millburn, N.J., students at South Mountain Elementary School have used two iPads purchased by the parent-teacher organization to play math games, study world maps and read “Winnie the Pooh.” Scott Wolfe, the principal, said he hoped to secure 20 more iPads next school year to run apps that, for instance, simulate a piano keyboard on the screen or display constellations based on a viewer’s location.

“I think this could very well be the biggest thing to hit school technology since the overhead projector,” Mr. Wolfe said.

The New York City public schools have ordered more than 2,000 iPads, for $1.3 million; 300 went to Kingsbridge International High School in the Bronx, or enough for all 23 teachers and half of the students to use at the same time.

More than 200 Chicago public schools applied for 23 district-financed iPad grants totaling $450,000. The Virginia Department of Education is overseeing a $150,000 iPad initiative that has replaced history and Advanced Placement biology textbooks at 11 schools. And six middle schools in four California cities (San Francisco, Long Beach, Fresno and Riverside) are teaching the first iPad-only algebra course, developed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Even kindergartners are getting their hands on iPads. Pinnacle Peak School in Scottsdale, Ariz., converted an empty classroom into a lab with 36 iPads — named the iMaginarium — that has become the centerpiece of the school because, as the principal put it, “of all the devices out there, the iPad has the most star power with kids.”

But technology advocates like Elliot Soloway, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan, and Cathie Norris, a technology professor at the University of North Texas, question whether school officials have become so enamored with iPads that they have overlooked less costly options, like smartphones that offer similar benefits at a fraction of the iPad’s base cost of about $500.

Indeed, many of the districts are paying for their iPads through federal and other grants, including money from the federal Race to the Top competitive grant program, which administrators in Durham, N.C., are using to provide an iPad to every teacher and student at two low-performing schools.

“You can do everything that the iPad can with existing off-the-shelf technology and hardware for probably $300 to $400 less per device,” Professor Soloway said.

Apple has sold more than 7.5 million iPads since April, the company reported, but it is not known how many went to schools.

The company has been developing a school market for the iPad by working with textbook publishers on instructional programs and sponsoring iPad workshops for administrators and teachers. It does not, however, appear to have marketed the tablet as aggressively to schools as it did its early desktop computers, some of which were heavily discounted for schools and helped establish a generation of Apple users. School officials say that Apple has been offering only a standard educational discount of about 10 percent on the iPad.

About 5,400 educational applications are available specifically for the iPad, of which nearly 1,000 can be downloaded free.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which developed the iPad algebra program in California, said it planned to compare the test scores of students using a textbook in digital and traditional book formats. The iPad version offers video of the author solving equations, and individualized assessments and practice problems.

Many school officials say they have been waiting for technology like the iPad.

“It has brought individual technology into the classroom without changing the classroom atmosphere,” said Alex Curtis, headmaster of the private Morristown-Beard School in New Jersey, which bought 60 iPads for $36,000 and is considering providing iPads to all students next fall.

Dr. Curtis recently used a $1.99 application, ColorSplash, which removes or adds color to pictures, to demonstrate the importance of color in a Caravaggio painting in his seminar on Baroque art. “Traditionally, so much of art history is slides on a screen,” he said. “When they were able to manipulate the image themselves, it came alive.”

Daniel Brenner, the Roslyn superintendent, said the iPads would also save money in the long run by reducing printing and textbook costs; the estimated savings in the two iPad classes are $7,200 a year.

“It’s not about a cool application,” Dr. Brenner said. “We are talking about changing the way we do business in the classroom.”

Catch It If You Can –  The 21st Century

From: Teachers’ Blog


I wrote an article about the iPad and it’s potential impact in education.  Since that time I have done more research and pondering on the topic.  I have also convinced my wife to allow me to purchase one when it goes on sell.  I can hardly wait!

I truly believe the iPad will revolutionize the classroom in a multitude of ways.  Not all of these ideas and revolutions will be from the first generation iPad and apps, or even from Apple Computer.  But just as the Nintendo Wii has and is transforming the world of console video games, the Apple iPad will transform the world of education.  In a matter of a few years, I envision the iPad will make a huge impact in education.  A lot of the success of the iPad as it enters the realm of education will be on the shoulders of iPad app developers, curriculum developers, and educators.

In my opinion, the six biggest things the iPad will change in schools and education are textbooks, note taking, paperless classroom, studying and reviewing, student interest level, and individualized curriculum.  You will find my reasoning for these things below.

1.  Textbooks

The biggest impact will come in the form of textbooks.

Currently textbooks are one of the largest budgeting issue facing schools.  With some textbooks costing more than $100, the price tag adds up quickly.  If a typical student has six different textbooks, this could easily be $600 per student for textbooks alone.  Many schools have minimized this cost by only having classroom sets of textbooks.  This does not help students though when it is time for them to do homework or study for tests.  A typical high school teacher could have more than one hundred students that will share only thirty textbooks.  How is this fair to the students?

Secondly, textbooks are usually only purchased every few years.  For many schools, this is done only every five or six years.  Some textbooks do not have much change in the content, but get purchased again anyways.  So the school must find a buyer for the old textbooks and then purchase truckloads of new ones for essentially the same content.  Also, for some content areas like technology, by the time a new textbook is purchased, much of the content is already outdated.

Thirdly, many textbook publishers are now publishing additional content online.  This content can be in the form of video clips, small games, or interactive reviews.  It does not make sense for this supplemental content to be disconnected from the actual textbook in the digital age.

And then there is the iPad.  The cheapest retail version of it will cost right at $500.  Schools may be able to get discounts on it, but that information is not yet available.  Schools will no longer have to purchase expensive textbooks, but can instead access content online.  Textbook subscriptions could be paid for and installed on the iPads of the students.  The digital content can seamlessly be integrated into the text.  So instead of having a stale picture, it would be a video clip or a game to reinforce learning.  Practice problems could be done on the iPad with the the correct answer being shown and explained if the student did it wrong.  Students could take the 1.5 pound iPad home to study from instead of taking 20 or more pounds of textbooks home to study from.  Any difference in costs between textbooks and iPads with digital textbooks would be negligible compared to the benefits.

2.  Note Taking

One of the largest complaints I hear from my students is that they lost their notes.  They either don’t know where they put the paper or it got thrown away by mistake.  The same thing goes for homework.  Students tend to not be very organized, but how can you blame them?  They have grown up in a digital world.  They are used to having the things saved automatically on a computer or iPod.  If they need to find something they just do a keyword search and it finds it form them.

And then there is the iPad.  Imagine students using a stylus instead of a pen or pencil as they take notes in class.  Their handwritten notes get converted automatically into a legible computer font.  The file gets saved with the date, subject, and keywords automatically recognized by the note taking app.  The same thing can be done for homework as well.  The students could also easily annotate their digital textbooks by highlighting and underlining keywords and phrases.  The students will no longer miss their notes.  No longer will they have to spend lots of time copying notes they missed when they were absent.  Their friend could just email the notes very quickly.  And the notes are LEGIBLE!  Is it magic?  No.  It’s the power of the iPad with powerful apps designed for note taking.

3.  Paperless Classroom

Many schools have started rationing the number of copies a teacher can make in a week, month, or semester.  How terrible is that?  How can we as teachers do our job properly if we can’t print worksheets, practice sheets, laboratory directions, quizzes, and tests?  Other schools have started requiring that students bring a ream of paper as part of their school supply list.  We won’t go into the whole recycling issue here either.  My school does not have the money to afford to pay for a recycling program, so all of this paper gets thrown away.  So much waste!

And then there is the iPad.  A teacher wants to give the students a worksheet to complete.  The teacher sends the worksheet to the students either through a digital scan or through a natively digital worksheet to the students’ iPads.  If the students use the stylus, it automatically converts their work into a readable font.  If the students use the integrated, or external keyboard, the answers can be typed directly into the available slots.  Teachers don’t have to worry about the lack of computers since each student has their own iPad.  It’s great!   Once the students are done, they can digitally submit the worksheet to the teacher.  Since the student writing was automatically translated into a readable font, these could be graded automatically for the teacher as well.  Correct answers could immediately be given to the students as well.  Feedback is key when it comes to teaching.

It is difficult to provide feedback to every wrong answer for every student, but through this medium, the iPad and various installed apps, feedback can be provided almost instantly.  Not only does it make the teaching more effective, but it also makes it so the classrooms can become completely paperless.

Now, the size of the impact of becoming totally paperless will depend heavily on the successful development and deployment of appropriate iPad apps with these goals in mind.  The technology is there; it only needs to be packaged accordingly.

4.  Studying and Reviewing

This relates directly to the textbook and note taking capabilities of the iPad.  Students will have all of their notes legible and organized and all of their “textbooks” with them on the iPad.  This will make studying and reviewing so much easier for students.

In the future, there could even be possible iPad apps that facilitate online study groups for students.  They will no longer have to go to a common meeting place in order to study together.  This could greatly increase the likelihood of study groups forming.  The only problem is the current iPads lack webcams.  Possibly in the future iterations of the iPad this will come standard.  But even without the a webcam, the microphone and chat room-like apps could make collaborative studying easy and shared through chatting and a shared workspace where they can draw out their ideas and illustrations.

5.  Student Interest Level

I think many educators are unaware of the impact the iPad could have on student interest in the classroom.  In my school students complain all of the time that they are not allowed to use technology in the classroom.  Part of the problem is there aren’t enough computers in the school and the high school lacks a computer lab.  My students prefer using computers to do work than using pen and paper.  By actively embracing and integrating the iPad into the classroom students will be more interested in class, if for nothing else than the chance to use technology to help them learn.

6.  Individualized Curriculum

The power of having the technology in the hands of the students is that an app could be developed to help customize the learning experience of individual students.  There are already programs out there that help students study only the topics they do not fully understand by using a review game of various topics.  The topics the student struggles the most with has more review built in than the topics the students excel at.  The same thing can be done with iPad apps.  In fact, entire courses could become more independent of a teacher.  Students could begin working more or less at their own pace as educators help each student progress individually.

For some school districts and states, this might be a topic of huge debate.  However, if schools are to do a better job of educating every student, not just the students in the middle, then schools need to embrace the technology that allows for the “multiplication” of teachers in the classroom without having to pay the salary of extra educators.  The iPad’s technology could easily allow for more individualized instruction and curriculum for every student.  Students that struggle can get more guided practice and teachers could focus more energy on them, while the other students can work more independently as they work ahead to master the content.  The students could also collaborate with their peers as they work through the curriculum.  In this way the teacher begins to facilitate a more student-centered classroom instead of a teacher-center classroom built around lectures.  Students would no longer become bored because they do not understand the material or because the teacher is going too slow.  Education can truly become personalized.  This can all be thanks, in part, to the iPad and the iPad app developers.

Final Thoughts

The iPad could provide the students the chance to take better care of their educational resources.  They take care of their cellphones and iPods and even find opportunities to use them when they should not.  There may be complaints from some educators that the iPad will provide too many distractions for students with its ability to play games.  My experience though is that when educators try to enforce strict guidelines about technology, the students rebel and find ways to use it anyways.  By embracing the use of technology, especially the iPad, the reasons to rebel will not be as appealing.

For more information about how I envision the iPad apps functioning to accomplish many of the things discussed above, please visit my other post Three Concepts of iPad Apps for Schools.

For an active discussion about the iPad and its use in education please visit http://ipad4edu.com/.

Digital As A First Language

By Denise Harrison —  Tablet devices are hardly new; Apple’s own Newton, introduced in 1987, could fairly be called an ancestor to the iPad with its tablet form, tethered pen touch interface, and easy portability. Even though other manufacturers marketed tablets based on the Newton operating system, for a variety of reasons unrelated to the quality of the technology, the Newton never made it past the left side of the adoption bell curve.

Apple iPad is smoothly and quickly gliding that slope. In fact, according to analysts, iPads will soon bring in more revenue to Apple than its traditional computers, coming in second only to the iPhone.

What the iPad has that the Newton didn’t is an existing user base and familiar user interface. For the first time, it is possible that the child who learns to play cartoons on a device (iPhone, iPod touch, and now, iPad) could be using the same touchscreen interface a decade hence to create a high school report. Uses for higher education and business could make the iPad, and iPad II, iPad III, etc., constant companions long into adulthood.

iPad’s adoption is aided by the fact that iPods and iPhones are plenty past “The Chasm,” and users are comfortable with and supportive of the interface. Buying the iPad is viewed as a simple, logical step up to the latest model of iAnything. In addition, the developer community is perhaps more vibrant than any software community ever, owing to accessible development tools and the ready-made marketing channel that is the App store.

“The concept is perfect for education–a lightweight computer, relatively inexpensive, capable of being used almost anywhere: in your hands, on a table, attached to a wall, built into a tabletop … “

The prognosis for iPad’s use in the classroom is good, said Sandra Sutton Andrews, research director in the Applied Learning Technologies Institute at Arizona State University. “The concept is perfect for education–a lightweight computer, relatively inexpensive, capable of being used almost anywhere: in your hands, on a table, attached to a wall, built into a tabletop,” she said.

Andrews’s job involves investigating uses of technology in education–especially emerging technologies. She designs and conducts research, teaches university courses, and works with K-12 teachers to help assess and satisfy technology needs. One of her next anticipated projects is setting up an iPad laboratory for a deeper examination of features and benefits.

“Add to this the fact that creating apps [for iPad] is not difficult, and at that point everything changes in terms of possibilities,” she said. “Educators are already finding new uses for the available free or inexpensive commercial apps and are creating new apps that teach, engage, and even collect data. What’s more, the educators behind these apps are making their resources available at no cost to other educators.”

Other features on the plus side for education include:

  • Good, some would call it excellent, color reproduction;
  • Natural platform for e-textbooks;
  • Large, 9.7-inch screen with 1,024 x 768-pixel resolution;
  • 3G and WiFi for “always on” Internet access;
  • Accessibility (support for closed captioning, voice over screen reader, full-screen zoom magnification, and support for nine languages, for example).

“Accessibility to [students] with disabilities is possible to a surprising degree, given that accessibility once lagged behind when new technologies emerged,” said Andrews. “Apps for children with cognitive disabilities have already been created by your fellow educators. There are built-in accessibility tools such as zoom and high contrast display. The built-in VoiceOver screen reader works as well on the iPad as on the iPhone, and Dragon Dictation is also available.”

While iPad looks, on the whole, good for teachers, students, and classrooms, on the down side, iPad doesn’t yet support Flash (an omission familiar to owners of other Apple iOS devices), and some complain about the dearth of physical connectors, such as dedicated USB ports and SD card slots.

Apps for children with cognitive disabilities have already been created by your fellow educators. There are built-in accessibility tools such as zoom and high contrast display. The built-in VoiceOver screen reader works as well on the iPad as on the iPhone, and Dragon Dictation is also available.

Sam Farsaii agreed the lack of Flash support is a negative. Farsaii, chair of ISTE’s SIG1to1 special interest group for 1:1 technology in K-16 education, said he hopes the Flash player support problem will be addressed with HTML 5. Farsaii has a long list of what he likes about the iPad for education, including its portability and lightness, flexibility, and ease of use. He also cited long battery life, instant on, ease of software download, screen resolution quality, innovative software at reasonable price, and wide availability of freeware as advantages. His only other suggestion, besides adding Flash support, is adding a camera.

Another complaint by some early reviewers is the iPad does not support full Mac OS X applications. This may not be such a bad thing, as we explore below, in a look at built-in features, optional accessories, and creative-yet-unadvertised possibilities of iPads in schools.

1. Built-in Benefits That Ease Content Creation

Easy positioning for comfortable use

The iPad provides ease of use in two ways laptops do not. The form factor of a single light-weight (1.5 pounds with WiFi, 1.6 pounds with 3G) panel and touch technology facilitate class content creation from nearly anywhere–the beach, the subway, and the diner. One doesn’t need to fuss with the cumbersome folding laptop screen (which, despite the nomenclature, users have had problems positioning comfortably on laps anyway).

Users also don’t need to concern themselves with setting the screen at just the right angle to avoid glare from lights or the sun. While the laptop’s light weight provides portability, physical placement for use is still limited. iPad can actually sit on a lap, and is light enough to hold at an angle with one hand and work with the other, thereby leaving users unconcerned with the right surface at the right angle.

Always-on Internet

The second ease-of-use benefit of the iPad is availability of 3G and WiFi. Typically, an instructor working in, say, a coffee shop would begin a lesson and inevitably arrive at a point requiring Internet research. Lesson creation is put on hold until he or she has access to a hotspot or returns to the office or home for an Internet connection. The combination of 3G and WiFi means there is no need to pause work until an Internet hot spot is near in order to complete a project; an iPad user can seamlessly go back and forth between creating content and researching information on the Internet. (Notebooks and netbooks, of course, have the option of connecting via 3G, though this option is generally available through an add-on and is not an integrated feature of the device itself.)

Long battery life

The iPad’s battery life is impressive: nine hours of battery on 3G and up to 10 hours on WiFi. Long battery life is convenient for content creation and playback; the iPad offers long periods of time between charges even when playing videos on full-color screens, which is a big drain on batteries.

The combination of 3G and WiFi means there is no need to pause work until an Internet hot spot is near in order to complete a project; an iPad user can seamlessly go back and forth between creating content and researching information on the Internet.

The combination of ease of creation, flexible positioning, large color screen, long battery life, and the always-on Internet connection present advantages over notebooks and mobile devices that aid instructors in creating content with more fluidity and fewer interruptions–a relief for those who prefer the satisfaction and time-savings of being able to focus, when possible, on one project at a time.

2. Optional Accessories

iPad Dock

The iPad Dock could benefit from a different name since, unlike most docking systems for handhelds, the iPad Dock offers more than just charging and syncing.

One of the more education-friendly features offered by the iPad Dock is audio, namely, support for external speakers. The built-in speaker is considered by most to provide better quality and greater volume than the iPhone internal speaker, making the iPad audio adequate for workgroup listening, but the iPad Dock’s audio line out allows connection to external speakers, giving sound a boost and enabling the iPad to be used the same way as any audio source device.

Next on the iPad Dock’s plus list is the design. The iPad Dock doubles as a stand. When in the dock, the iPad sits upright at a slight tilt, comfortable for video viewing, and when paired with an external keyboard, the docked iPad can look and feel much like the screen for a desktop computer.

VGA connection

The VGA cable, which connects to the optional iPad Dock, is designed specifically for connecting the iPad to a TV or a front projector. Any visual on the iPad can be shown on a larger screen. Yes, notebook computers can do this too, but just as the iPad infused elegance into the creation process, the iPad does so for presentation delivery as well. Because of the form factor, which allows the iPad to be used with one hand, the instructor can actually walk around the room while continuing to control the projected images. He or she isn’t stuck at the table or lectern where a laptop would normally reside.

The iPad Camera Connection Kit

In this age when students are taught to present content in visual formats, the digital camera and digital video camera are increasing in importance as classroom tools, yet sharing those productions with groups has not been easy. For the most part, photos are shared via phone or e-mail, and videos are shared via Internet sites such as YouTube. The iPad Camera Connection Kit, an optional connection to the iPad Dock, provides an easier, faster path from individual shoots to sharing with the class. Students connect the camera to the iPad, download images and videos, then using the optional VGA connector, students and instructors may display photos and play videos from the iPad on large screen TVs or projectors.

Long power cord

The peripheral 6 foot power cord is one of the most popular accessories so far. Anyone who has tried to power a mobile device with a short power cord appreciates the convenience of a long one. The popularity should hold true for educators as well, since most power outlets are located on classroom walls, and most classrooms are not equipped with table pop-up connection panels.

The iPad Camera Connection Kit, an optional connection to the iPad Dock, provides an easier, faster path from individual shoots to sharing with the class. Students connect the camera to the iPad, download images and videos, then using the optional VGA connector, students and instructors may display photos and play videos from the iPad on large screen TVs or projectors.

iWork optional apps

Apple offers several productivity applications that are tailored for the iPad and sold at the iTunes store. These three applications provide productivity capabilities similar to traditional Windows applications at fractions of the price ($9.99 each). Keynote, for example, is a drag-and-drop presentation creation app, and its presentations can be exported into PowerPoint. Pages is for word processing and supports Microsoft Word -supported file formats, including Office Open XML (.docx) and Office 97 or later (.doc). And Numbers allows users to create spreadsheets that can be exported into Microsoft Excel.

Apps for that

iPad application development for education will, no doubt, be hot. The ease of application development and the general affordability of the applications will be great news for instructors, whose toughest job could be deciding among them.

3. Unintended-Yet-Beneficial Uses of iPad Features and Accessories


Educators are discovering that students are not always fluent in traditional office-type applications the way the average employee is today. iWork, Apple’s productivity software suite, could be the great equalizer and could even make knowing other productivity software irrelevant for many day-to-day tasks. iWork may not have it all, but it has enough, especially when one considers the price: Mail, maps, note pad app, and Web browser Safari are included; the presentation, word processing, and spreadsheet apps are just $9.99 each.


The built-in calendar affords instructors the same features most computer calendars provide. Instructors can create events (such as test dates, presentation dates and times, and activities). We had a theory about how the iPad calendar might be used to keep students and teachers informed of lesson plans and important dates. We checked with Apple, and the company told us, indeed, the instructor can invite all students to an event, such as a due date, and, as students respond by confirming participation, the instructor will be able to know the student has been advised of dates he or she needs to keep in mind. In the case of K-12, parents can be invited to events as well to keep them informed of homework assignments, test dates, and due dates for special projects. As dates change, all parties are notified. Even if all students don’t have possession of an iPad, they can obtain this information by accessing a shared iPad in the class (more below).

If all students have iPads or access to iPads or other iOS devices, instructors can communicate with them as a group using Calendar or using individual or group e-mail, with all involved parties benefiting from uniform interfaces and functionality. These methods of receiving data, appointment requests, and messages might just help prepare young students for the work environment of their adulthood.

iPad mounts

Mounts designed for the iPad are hitting the market, and while a mount is a simple solution, this functionality will begin to encourage creative uses of iPads not found in the marketing materials. For example, iPad displays on inside or outside walls of the classroom can, at a glance, provide students and parents with curricula; assignments by week, day or month; test dates, and student presentation dates and times. By checking a mounted iPad daily, students and parents without their own iPads can access the same information about lessons and assignments as those who do.

A table-top mounted iPad sits upright and might be used for calendar information, and also for on-demand videos related to current lessons or to facilitate group collaboration, for just two additional examples. Wall- or table-mounted, the iPad can show fun videos of class activities, list spelling bee results, display sports scores and team videos outside team rooms, and deliver a slide show of science fair projects. Any school-wide or group/class-focused information can be displayed on a mounted iPad.

Using Calendar, an iPad mounted on a wall outside a meeting room could display room reservations, providing a rather affordable room reservation solution. Apple confirmed that, with shared calendars, a group of teachers and administrators who have been granted access to designated calendars will be able to remotely reserve a conference room. Other teachers will be able to see the times already booked and reserve their own times for using the room as well.

Mounted iPads bring a number of potential uses for the classroom. Considering the affordability and the uniformity and ease of the iPad interface, we can expect K-12 and higher education educational technologists to use mounted iPads to bring many new applications to Apple’s latest innovation.

Multi-touch has for some time been present in kiosks, Smart interactive whiteboards, and futuristic movies. The real killer app is touch technology, which is (finally) here to stay.


MobileMe software syncs between devices automatically, without having to physically connect those devices. This means that updating contacts, e-mail, and calendars can be done from anywhere to anywhere. Any update an instructor makes on a home computer, or an iPad, can update any other iPad or computer. A teacher, therefore, could change the lesson plan at home in the evening, and the updates will automatically appear on a mounted iPad or computer in the classroom set up for public, or class-wide, use and display. (Due dates of assignments, test dates, and other calendar invitations updated remotely will change for individual students as per usual e-mail functionality.)

Another feature of MobileMe useful to the classroom is the cloud-based iDisk, which enables file storage and sharing online. This allows teachers or students to upload and share files that can later be accessed by students via computer, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

USB support on the Camera Connection Kit

The iPad Camera Connection Kit has two ways that users can import photos and videos from a digital camera: the camera’s USB cable or directly from an SD card. The camera kit’s USB capability has unintended, and beneficial, consequences not lost on fervent iOS users.

Many fault the iPad for its omission of a USB port, but a number of clever people are finding ways to use that port in ways other than advertised. Chris Foresman, writing for Ars Technica, collected stories of successful experiments including the camera kit USB port to power USB speakers, headsets, microphones, and keyboards. As Foresman mentioned, it does bode well for expanded USB support in later versions of Apple iPads.

Will It Float?

Is iPad the killer app? For the general public, probably so, at least for a few years. For education, we won’t learn pros versus cons until a few pioneers weigh in. Multi-touch has for some time been present in kiosks, Smart interactive whiteboards, and futuristic movies. The real killer app is touch technology, which is (finally) here to stay.


(Long Beach, CA) Gazettes.com, January 6, 2011, by Ashleigh Oldland  —  The students in John Fox’s eighth grade algebra class studied for their Monday math test without the help of a textbook — instead, they used handwritten notes and their iPads.

The future of textbooks is that there won’t be any — everything is going digital,” Fox said while the Washington Middle School students listened to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” soundtrack and completed one of their final tests of the fall semester.

Fox teaches classes both with the iPads and without as part of a pilot program started this fall to determine the effectiveness of Apple iPad’s new, full-curriculum algebra application. Progress made in both types of classes is being tracked by an outside research firm.

“I haven’t noticed a big difference in grades,” Fox said. “But the kids in this class tell me they are watching the videos and doing the practice quizzes on the iPads.”

The iPad’s algebra application includes video lectures, graphing applications, quizzes and homework problems with solutions. The work the students do on the iPad is accessible to their teachers and parents.

LBSUD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser said he has heard a lot of positive feedback about the iPad.

“The kids love it and the parents love it,” he said. “We are working to utilize technology to help the students and monitor their progress.”

Rayven Harris, 14, is one of the eighth graders who received an iPad on her first day back to school this fall. She said she uses it every day to help her learn algebra, which she said is her favorite, albeit one of the most challenging, subjects she has learned.

“I think the iPad explains it more than the textbook,” she said. “You can see examples that are explained and that helps you with your vocabulary in math… Also, I like not having to flip to the back of the textbook to find the answers.”

Fox, who has been teaching for more than a decade, said he believes one of the best aspects of the algebra app is that it gives the students problems to work out step by step and corrects them, showing where mistakes were made. Although, he said he hopes future iPads have even more example problems for the students to practice with.

“This is the first trial,” he said. “I do wish it had a tablet where you could write directly on the screen, improved graphing features and more problems with the solutions worked out.”

He said integrating the iPad, which is a high-resolution, touch-screen mini-computer that weighs just 1.5 pounds, took some adjusting. For the teacher who covers up the classroom clock with a piece of cardboard that reads, “Time 2 Learn!” he said it might have been more difficult for him than the students to figure out to use the newfangled technology.

“I’m a book guy,” he said. “I’ll miss books, but if you can get the digital to meet my expectations, it won’t be so bad.”

With a semester of using the iPad nearly complete, Fox said he feels confident now about using the technology and plans to include the device in even more of his lesson plans next semester.

“Nobody teaches directly from a book or the iPad,” he said. “Students still need to write physical notes and listen in class, but the iPad as a tool has been a great teaching aid — if you tell the students to read a page for homework they are more likely to read it on the iPad than on paper.”

Fox said making algebra seem cool to middle school students is especially important today, when there are so many jobs in math- and science-related fields that need to be filled.

“These kids don’t know what they want to be yet,” the teacher said. “Taking algebra now means they won’t have to repeat it in high school and they will go on to learn calculus. Loving math gives them a leg up on everyone out there they will have to compete with.”

Called Fuse, the new iPad algebra application is being piloted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), a global learning and education company typically known for producing reference works and literature for adults and young readers.

Besides Long Beach, the pilot program is being tested in Fresno, Riverside and San Francisco, distributing more than 400 iPads among six middle schools.

If you are just getting started with your iPad for school then we have some great app suggestions you will definitely want to check out.  These apps help you do all kinds of useful things from studying to taking notes to creating great papers.  There are a ton of apps to choose from and even more ways to use them, but you want to get the best ones for what you are doing in school so here are some ways to get the most out of your iPad while you are working hard in school.

iPad For School Apps…………….

Here are some iPad for school apps that help you study, stay organized, keep your class schedule, and take notes.  Each of these apps help create the perfect school experience.  They are all useful and, do not cost a lot of money, and they make life a lot easier.

iPad School Apps For Science Study………..

If you are studying Science or have to take science classes then you definitely want to check these apps out.  They not only make science a little more fun to learn but they also help you understand it better by adding a visual element to the topics.  Some of these school science apps are reference materials, some are video, and some are games, but they all help further your learning and understanding of the world of science.

iPad School Apps For History, Geography, and Humanities Study……….

History, Geography, and Humanities are definitely courses anyone will be taking whether they are in High school or College.  These are considered “general education” courses and for some they are pretty dry and boring.  But here’s where the iPad can help out.  With some great apps on board you can take a boring class and liven it up really quickly.  Take a look at some of these great iPad school apps for the more general education requirements.

Advanced iPad School Apps…………

There comes a time when you want to get more out of your iPad at school.  You are probably in College and wondering what apps are there for you.  As it turns out, there are more and more higher education apps all of the time.  But we have collected a few below which are not only useful, but very helpful for your first few years in College.

How The iPad Helps Students At School

  • Keep track of your class schedules
  • Keep track of when assignements are due
  • Take notes and share them with others
  • Study for your class subjects
  • Take a break and have fun
  • Keep in touch with Email and Social Networking (Twitter/Facebook)
  • Write papers
  • Read books
  • Enjoy movies and music (for some downtime)
  • Extend your learning

iPad For School Helpful Articles (Updated Frequently)