A Guide to the iPad in Primary Education

by Seth Armstrong-Twigg

Here at Kizzu, we’re always keeping an eye out for educational innovators, especially those who combine cool tech and the classroom. We recently came across Adam Foster’s A Guide to the iPad in Primary Education and enjoyed it so much, that we decided to share some of the key questions the book answers with you.

1. What are the benefits of using an iPad in a classroom environment?

iPads are highly versatile and offer endless possibilities in an educational setting. They shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a replacement for traditional computers (try typing out a long essay using the onscreen keyboard!), but more as a device with a different set of capabilities. The great thing about the iPad is the fact that numerous components (camera, microphone, connectivity) have been built into one device and can be used simultaneously to great effect. This means that previously difficult tasks are now incredibly easy. Whether you want to make a stop-motion animation, create an eBook, write a blog or record a podcast, as Apple says, there’s an app for that.

2. Which iPad is best for my school?

The full-size device should be used for primary education as some younger pupils find the smaller size of the iPad Mini difficult to navigate. However, the Mini can be an excellent device for the teacher due to its weight. Also, in terms of storage space, it’s worth considering what you need the iPad for. If you require multiple projects to be saved, then the standard 16GB model will not be enough. This means that you might have to opt for the more expensive iPad Air.

3. How should iPads be deployed across schools?

Teachers should be the first to receive iPads, so they can gain confidence before using them with pupils. Give the teacher their own Apple ID so they can test new apps. Then, 9 other iPads should be deployed to students (as there is a connectivity limit on 10). Remember, iPads are not laptops, so don’t clog them up with photos, videos and apps. In a primary school setting, iPads will be used in a variety of different ways and the entry level model won’t be able to cope with the colossal amount of data. Furthermore, iPads should be used as a collaborative device and always available in the classroom as opposed to a booking system.

4. Does my school have to purchase a copy of each app for each iPad?

Yes. Even though you can connect multiple devices, unfortunately, apps can only be bought for one device. However, Apple have introduced the Volume Purchase Program, allowing schools to purchase multiple apps from one Apple ID using a credit card with discounts for over 20 app purchases. However, make sure to keep the two IDs separate. Also, remember to sample the app first before you commit to buying over 20 copies!

5. How will teachers be able to retrieve documents/files from the iPad to assess pupils' work?

There are a number of different ways teachers can retrieve documents and files from the iPad in order to assess pupils’ work.

  • iTunes - this can be quite time consuming (as each iPad needs to be plugged into a computer) but good if you only have a handful of students.

  • Kanex MeDrive - files can be saved wirelessly to a USB stick and thus safely stored within your school, as opposed to a cloud or externally.

  • Showbie - if you’d rather that work was saved online, this a great online storage site.

  • Dropbox and Box - similar services offering free cloud storage. A class login can be created and pupils can access this space from their iPad.

  • AirDrop - send photos and files over WiFi to another device.

6. How can schools keep students safe?

Schools should always ensure that students do not have access to inappropriate online content. As well as restricting access to obvious harmful material and the distraction of social media, restrictions can also be set on sites like Google and YouTube. Just remember that you will need to set the restrictions individually on each iPad if you are working with numerous devices!

7. How can schools keep iPads protected?

Due to the heavy usage of iPads in an educational setting, it’s worth investing in a good protective case for each device. There are many products on the market but these are particularly good for schools.

  • Early Years/Key Stage 1 - Big Grip (Strong protection in case it drops… Doubles as a stand too!)

  • Key Stage 2 - Parasync Case (No need to remove the case for charging.)

Also, allocate responsibility among the pupils by assigning them jobs relating to iPad maintenance. Teach them to care for their devices and allow for a period before the end of every lesson to check for damage and maintain appearance.

8. What tools can be used to manage apps for different parts of the curriculum?

As the iPad will be used by a number of different year groups and classes, it’s important to keep on top of the numerous files. Folders can be easily created within the iPad and the teacher should remind pupils to always save their work within their class or year group’s folder to ensure that the devices remain organised.

If you’ve found this useful, I’d recommend reading Adam’s book because it really is an excellent resource. Download it here! Also, check out Adam’s blog and his tweets for more useful tips!

Categories: Thoughts on Education