Mobile Device Stations in the Classroom

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Mobile Device Stations in the Classroom


Contact Information: Doreen Pietrantoni
Doreen's Blog -

We are all familiar with the phenomenon of mobile devices as a personal device, but what about its use in the classroom?
Mobile Devices in the Math Classroom for an example of a project based iPad learning experience or view ABC123 iPads in the Primary Classroomfor a centers based learning experience.

Using Mobile devices such as the Android Tablets, iPad, iPhone, and iPod in the classroom can allow for:

  • Differentiation
  • Mobile Learning
  • Learners choose learning content
  • Expands learning outside the classroom walls

    The Media-Rich Cone of Learning illustrates student retention in regards to receiving information. The interactive nature of mobile devices allows for students to physically engage with the devices.


    NYS Teacher and Technology Standards

    ISTE Nets Standards detail learning standards regarding technology usage by students and educators.

    Nets for Students (click here for a detailed PDF)

    • Creativity and Innovation
    • Communication and Collaboration
    • Research and Information Fluency
    • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

    There are essential conditions to regard when using technology in the classroom. Click here to learn more.
    Ideas such as Student-Centered learning, empowered leaders, and Curriculum Framework are essential to effectively leverage technology for learning.

    Nets For Teachers (click here for a detailed PDF)

    • Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
    • Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
    • Model Digital Age Work and Learning
    • Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
    • Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

    NYS Teacher Standards
    Attending a professional development opportunity to integrate mobile devices in your classroom will address the following teacher standards.

    • 1.6, 2.2, 2.5, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 4.2, 4.4, 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4
    • For more information on NYS Teacher Standards please view this PDF

    Why Use Mobile Devices?

    Mobile learning is...
  • on-the-go- Learners have the ability to carry the device with them wherever they go.
  • handheld- Learners can hold these devices in their hands. The trend is for mobile devices to become easier to carry around.
  • portable- Learners can carry the devices in a bag or pocket and recharge the device at various locations.
  • lightweight- Learners find the device light in weight and not very heavy.

    With these traits in mind, we can include cellphones, smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, gaming consoles, PDAs, handheld computers, media players, e-book readers and more.

    Mobile learning is effective when...
  • Tip 1. Learners choose the learning content.
  • Tip 2. Learners are integrating artifacts, reliable, objects, and experiences that surround their daily lives (real world learning).
  • Tip 3. Learners are moving around with the device.
  • Tip 4. Learners are motivated to expand the learning outside the classroom walls.
  • Tip 5. Learners work collaboratively to explore the world around them.
  • Tip 6. Learners are motivated to search for several possible options, solutions, and answers to problems.
  • Tip 7. Learners are presented with problems in which they must find many possible solutions and are able to test out these solutions.

    These are just some of the ideas behind what constitutes effective mobile learning. You may notice that this list is very similar to what constitutes overall effective learning. (Effective Mobile Learning, Shelly Sanchez Terrell)

    Now What?

    There is certainly a lot of reasons why to use mobile devices, but how do you go about using them in the classroom?
    Before you venture into the world of Apps, you may want to learn how other educators are evaluating them prior to using in the classroom: App evaluation rubric #1 or App evaluation rubric #2



    • Project-based learning
    • Differentiation
    • Center Learning
    • Collaboration
    • Students with Special Needs
    • Change a task from traditional to NOW!
    • Content Creation such as video, images, narrated projects
    • Digital Textbook
    • eReading Capabilities
    • Research
    • Discovery
    • Organization of thoughts, research, projects, collaboration
    • Journal writing


    There are several projects that can utilize mobile devices and can use the "center" set up in order to start and complete a project. Think of a 3 to 4 station set up:

    • Station 1 - Information gathering - this can include instructions and exemplars for project.
    • Station 2 - Mind Mapping, Note taking, or social networking in Edmodo to gather information
    • Station 3 - Video, Book, Drawing Apps to create project.

    Project Resource Websites:

    Science Example:
    This article discusses a recent project in which iPads were used for an Environment Project - 5th Grade Project The classroom used: Notability (Evernote is Free), Easy Bib, Internet, Voice Thread, iPad camera

    Social Studies Example:
    “The Alternate History Project” was showcased at a poster session at ISTE 2011 What If History Project. Integrating social studies apps such US History Tools or On This Day as well as a graphic organizer app like Popplet and a digital media app such as Discovery Ed Streaming ( can help ELLs meet the goals of this project successfully.

    Social Studies/History Example:
    QR codes are used everywhere! Here is an example of creating a project using a city's QR code. Students can create their own QR codes to create a webquest or like this project QR Footprints In Time

    ELA Example:
    Ever thought of creating a book specific to what you are teaching in your classroom? iBooks Author App is free and great for educators and students to create a book about anything! Here is an example of a project with an instructional video on how to do this on your own! iBooks Author Project

    I Wonder Project:
    This project is a great way to have students use inquiry to create a multimedia project. Voice Thread would be a great way to create this project. This can be used for all curricular areas. I Wonder Project Details

    Book Reviews/Trailers:
    Students can use the iPad to read a book and create a review or trailer from images search on the iPad, notes written in EverNote, and a video created with the video camera in the iPad or using Voice Thread! Book Trailer/Review Project Details

    Photography Project:
    The built in camera on the iPad 2 and iPad 3 make it a great tool to use to capture original images. Here is a project to create original projects using the iPad Camera, DarkRoom App, and Edmodo App to share the images. [ Photography Project Details]

    Center Learning

    Center learning is a great way to leverage the iPad. A centered-based learning environment is aided by the mobility and functionality of the iPad. The classroom environment is an important element of making a functional centered-based learning environment.

    Centers Set Up Recommendation:

    • Specific areas with large surfaces
    • Guiding directions or ideas on how to use the center
    • Include information, fluency, action, and assessments type of centers
    • Think of differentiating activities

    Management Tips and Ideas

    How to set up iPads as part of learning centers:

    • Choose an app that purposefully targets a skill for instruction or review.
    • Post clear instructions at the station to explain how the iPads are to be used.
    • Have students prepare the station for the next group of students by restarting the app so that it will be a clean slate.
    • Remember that your station does not require a 1:1 ratio of iPad use. You could engage students in activities using 1 iPad per station/small group and have 5 groups, or you could have 1 station of 5 iPads.

    How to teach the handling and care of iPads in learning centers:

    • Explicitly review how to handle the iPads safely.
    • Students should do the iHug when walking or moving the iPads (wrap arms around iPad) OR need to use both hands when carrying.
    • The teacher should set up the stations and include clear, written instructions at each station.
    • Think about a contract for use of iPads. Have each student sign to show they have read and understand the contract.
    • Just because iPads are used, it does not mean the classroom has to be paperless. Students can use handouts, graphic organizers, and workshops to gather evidence and illustrate learning.


    Particularly in the elementary classroom, setting up centers for students to enrich ELA, Math,
    Science, and Social Studies learning. Alternatively, centers can be created to enrich other curriculum such as music and art. Using centers can also assist in differentiating learning. Students who need reinforcement in certain curricular areas can have focused, interactive time with the mobile device.

    Mind Mapping

    Mind Mapping Apps such as Corkulous, iBrainstorm App and Idea Sketch App

    • Station 1 start as the information station - students view non-fiction text, read a story, watch a video
    • Station 2 uses a Mind Mapping App in order to answer a question, annotate, list key ideas - post these above the station
    • Station 3 can be used as an assessment station Edmodo App, Socrative Teacher App, Socrative Student App or Near Pod For students to answer questions or ask questions.
    • Optional - Station 4 will be a culminating activity in which students can create a book, video, or image to illustrate their understanding of the concepts in the reading. Apps such as iMovie, Videolicious App, Voicethread App, StoryKit App, or Scribble My Story App.

    The Video Experience

    Centers can be used for all grade levels and curricular areas. Is your class exploring the Civil War or Slavery? WWII or Western Expansion? There are limitless possibilities when using video stations on the iPad. In addition, video stations coupled with non-fiction text and writing align curriculum to CCLS.

    Science - help students understand science experiments with Experica App. For younger students, try bookmarking Safari Montage ( to the homepage so that students can log in and watch science videos such as Sid the Science Kid and other high quality science videos such as Bill Nye.

    • Station 1 - video delivery
    • Station 2 - Mind Mapping (see above) or Educreations App or Show Me App in order for students to draw and narrate a video to illustrate their understanding.

    Social Studies/History - students can view videos from websites such as History Channel, Discovery, PBS or Safari Montage. The websites can be bookmarked to the home page for quick access.

    • Station 1 - video delivery
    • Station 2 - Blog on Edmodo to share ideas, create discussion, and/or a What if? discussion
    • Optional Station 3 - Students can create a brief writing assignment in Notability or iPad Notebook.
    • Optional Station 4 - Use Comic Maker App for students to create a comic with the iPad to illustrate comprehension or their point of view.

    ELA - There are numerous reading activity apps. This wiki page illustrates reading apps as well as writing apps - Book It - Using Apps for Literacy
    • Station 1 - Use Overdrive, iBooks, Internet, Nook or Kindle App to deliver reading material. Also, PDF documents can be downloaded from Edmodo and accessed via the iBooks app.
    • Station 2 - Hold online discussion on apps such as Edmodo - ensure students have clear directions or a rubric for discussion.
    • Station 3 - Use a video creation app in order for students to share 3 key ideas, the authors point of view, or evidence to support the main idea of the written piece. Video apps such as iMovie, Voice Thread, or Videolicious.

    Math - There are many math apps, but think outside the box when having students use stations for math.

    • Station 1 - have a learning objective - addition, subtraction, area, algebra. Download an app that will suit the learning objective. See Monroe #1 BOCES Apps page for suggestions.
    • Station 2 - Use Mind Mapping Apps or Drawing Apps to illustrate knowledge
    • Optional Station 3 - Create a story using a Book Creation App to show knowledge.
    • Optional Station 4 - Discuss problem in Edmodo and have students present different solutions
    • Optional Station 5 - Use Educreations for students to show step by step problem solving to share with others in Edmodo.

    Humanities - iPads are a great tool for any Humanities studies. Pulling ELA, Social Studies, and History together allows for students to experience a cross-curricular experience.

    • Station 1 - determine book or piece of literature you wish students to read and download on device or use reading app to deliver.
    • Station 2 - Take a Google Lit Trip using the following bookmarked website: . You will also need Google Earth App on the device.
    • Station 3 - Students can illustrate their knowledge in various ways such as a video, creating a book, or blogging on Edmodo.


    There are a plethora of apps for math and ELA fluency. Although these apps tend to be elementary based, there are numerous test assessment apps for SAT, ACT, etc. In addition, there are numerous math, science, ELA, foreign language, art, music, and history apps for all grade levels.

    ELA Apps such as Bob's Books, Reading A - Z (there are apps for all levels of reading to download) make great stations for reading fluency for young students. Using SubText App is a great way for older students to connect using a mobile device with reading of fiction/non fiction text and then using the app for discussion and tracking.

    Math Apps are plentiful in the App store. Downloading apps specific to a learning objective for all students. Differentiating is also possible in many apps. Setting changes can allow for an activity to be timed or not, change option of grade level(s), and individual student login.

    Foreign Language Apps can allow for not only the learning of a particular language, culture and geography can also be studied using an App. Apps such as Google Earth,


    Media Creation

    Media creation is an engaging and interactive way to use the iPad with students. Students can illustrate their creativity by using the iPad, apps, and other tools already on the iPad. There are numerous free media creation, editing, and presentation apps, however some do come at a cost. This blog is a great resource for app information, and here is the link for Media Creation

    This wiki page discusses media creation and includes copyright and storyboarding information.

    Students with Special Needs

    Consider the following list of pedagogical goals in order to identify how this device can help promote equitable educational opportunity for ELLs.
    • For Intervention (RtI)
    • For Enrichment
    • For Assistive Technology
    • For Digital Literacy
    • For Reading
    • For Organizing Resources

    Saving Webpage to Home Screen

    Saving frequently used Apps to the Home Screen (Or any screen you wish to drag the App to) creates a shortcut for that website. This is perfect for younger students or for those website addresses that are long.
    Save to Home Screen

    1. Open the Safari App

    2. Type in the URL you wish to save to homepage

    3. Select the box with the arrow to the right

    4. This screen will appear, with the desired website in the Add to Home Screen button

    5. Type in the name you wish to call the App

    6. App Icon will appear!

    Where to find Apps

    Mobile 1 688.jpg
    There are over 500,000 apps - this is both a good and bad number. There are a great variety of resources, however searching for specific apps can be time consuming. There are numerous resources to help guide you to apps (free and costs).

    Additional Resources

    Highly Recommended iPad Lessons (in Pinterest)

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