The 21st Century Elementary Classroom with iPads

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Contact Information: Doreen Pietrantoni
Doreen's Blog -

Outcomes of Workshop:

  • Introductory level workshop
  • iPad Classroom Management
  • Knowledge of apps for different purposes
  • Ideas
  • Projects
  • Sharing Time
  • Resources

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 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

    Recommended Articles:
    Exploring the Use of the iPad for Literacy Learning
    Unlocking Literacy with iPad

    Apps Evaluation

    I recommend the following link for App Evaluation - iPad App Evaluation for the Classroom There are graphical evaluations for different aspects of app usage. Here are 2 rubrics to use for app evaluation: App evaluation rubric #1 or App evaluation rubric #2


    Management Tips and Ideas

    How to teach the handling and care of iPads:

    • Create a classroom contract. Have each student sign to show they have read and understand the contract.
    • 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.
    • 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.

    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.

    Grouping of Apps
    Apps can be grouped in folders or moved to different pages on the device.

    • Home row - located at the bottom of the screen. These apps are accessible on every page
    • Organize Apps by curricular area by screen
    • Organize Apps by curricular area by folders

    Bookmark Website to Home Screen Saving frequently used websites 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!


    There are Apps for every curricular area as well as topic. An App may be one that you access repeatedly or one aligned to a specific project, topic, or skill. Again, evaluating Apps is key in determining the purpose, relevance, and functionality of the App.
    The following is an example of a creative use for the Garage Band App.

    Garage Band Video - Lower Elementary
    Garage Band Video - 4 - 12

    Classroom Management Apps

    Class Dojo (Free) - ClassDojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators

    Too Noisy Lite (Free) - Anyone who has attempted to keep the noise levels under control of a group of youngsters will appreciate this simple, fun and engaging app.

    Teacher Tools ($2.99) - Do the same one or two hands always pop up when you ask a question in your classroom? The Teacher Tools - Who's Next? app will shake things up for your class by allowing you to call on students randomly and even create randomized work groups!

    Apps for Presentation

    There are numerous apps to use for presentation by a student or teacher.

    Doceri (Free) - Combining screencasting, desktop control, and an interactive whiteboard in one app, you’ll never have to turn your back to the class or audience again. Create a lesson or presentation, insert images, save and edit your project and record a screencast video you can easily save or share. Doceri does it all!

    Educreations App (Free) - A whiteboard app that allows students to take images of text or math problems and create a video that illustrates how problem is solved, or other CCLS such as annotation of text. Great for teachers and students to solve problems and use video as an instructional tool.

    iMovie App - ($4.99) - Allows for capturing video and editing. There are stock templates or students can create their own.

    Tellagami (Free) - A Gami can be an exciting tweet or status update. It can be a fun way to tell a story. It can be a thank you message or a vacation postcard. It can be a birthday greeting, party invite or cool way to share photos. The possibilities are endless!

    Voice Thread App (Free) - Requires account. Students can use the camera feature on the iPad, gather images from the internet, add diagrams, videos in which they narrate the project. Allows for diagramming as well. Share via email.

    Prezi (Free) - Create and present beautiful presentations with Prezi for iPad. Get started by choosing one of our stunning templates then add your text and images. Pinch to zoom on topics, retouch your prezis and adjust your presentations on the move.

    Glogster (Free) - Multimedia fun with browsing the GLOGSTER VISUAL NETWORK in your hand! Play, listen, zoom and read Glogs in high-res Retina display quality on the GO! Glog = "graphic blog + creativity" - a visual poster creation worth a thousand words.

    Instacollage (Free) - Tell the world your story via amazing looking photo frames and unique collages with caption in seconds! InstaCollage helps you quickly combine multiple sized photos into one beautifully framed picture & unique collage with caption in seconds

    Pic-Collage (Free) - PicCollage allows you to create amazing collages using your photos, fun stickers, text with cool fonts and frames. Once you're done, share it to PicCollage, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Path. You can also email it or send a physical postcard anywhere in the world!

    Apps for Assessment

    Socrative - (Free) - Be engaged for the entire class with educational exercises and games. See all your classmates’ ideas in real time and interact with the responses. Provide your instructor feedback on the lessons and how well you understand the material. Ask your own poll questions for the entire class or build a premade activity for your whole class.

    Nearpod - (Free) - The Nearpod platform enables teachers to use their iPads to manage content on students' iPads, iPhones or iPods. It combines presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools into one integrated solution.

    Note Taking and Mind Mapping Apps

    Doodle Buddy (Free) - Students can express their ideas in images. Images can be shared via email.

    Idea Sketch (Free) - Students can make list in either outline form or visually with thought bubbles in various sizes and colors to organize thoughts, research, and ideas. Images can be shared via email, dropbox, or photos.

    SimpleMind+ (Free) - Mind mapping tool that turns your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch into a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device.

    Notability (2.99) - Notability is so powerful that it will transform how you work: sketch ideas, annotate documents, sign contracts, complete worksheets, keep a journal, jot travel notes, teach a class, make a presentation and much more. With iCloud support, your notes stay up to date on all your devices!

    Social Learning/Networking Apps

    Edmodo (Free) - Edmodo makes a teacher’s daily life easier by providing a safe and easy way for teachers and students to engage and collaborate for free, anytime, anywhere.

    Subtext App - (Free) - Teachers can embed instruction right in the pages of nearly any digital text. Because notes are linked to a specific passage, there’s a natural emphasis on close reading, citing text evidence, and supporting claims. Works with ePub, PDF, free eBooks, web articles and nonfiction as well as Overdrive.

    Notability and Dropbox - You can sync Notability to a Dropbox account so that you have access to student work in Notability. Here is a link for directions:

    Apps for ELA

    • AesopsQuest.png
      [ Aesop's Quest] ($0.99) - Aesop's Quest, based on Aesop's Fables, is a learning game where the player must remember elements of a story to complete a level. The game uses reading comprehension to develop cognitive reading skills. The touch mechanic of the game engages children in a hands-on learning process, implementing kinesthetic learning. <br.

    • Abcmagic.png
      ABC Spelling Magic 1,2,3 - 3 apps for level 1, 2, 3 This app will help students learn sounds of letters of the alphabet.

    • Spellosaur - Spellosaur makes learning their words more fun with a set of games to help progressively learn each spelling - listen and choose the correct word, complete the word by adding the missing letters, plus re-arrange the letters to make the word.
    • Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe - Ages 6 - 8 Students build language skills in a fast-paced game of tic-tac-toe. Interactive game explores vowel sounds, syllables and more.
    • Sightwords.png
      Sight Words - This app provides over 300 words for students to learn in order to become proficient and fluent readers.

    • Futaba - Multiplayer game that is great to build language skills.
    • Endless Alphabet - Kids will have a blast learning their ABC's and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet. Each word features an interactive puzzle game with talking letters and a short animation illustrating the definition. Before you know it, your child will be using words like gargantuan and cooperate!
    • Endlesssitewords.png
      Endless Reader - This app introduces "sight words", the most commonly used words in school, library, and children's books. Kids need to recognize these words by sight in order to achieve reading fluency. Recognizing sight words is advantageous for beginning readers because many of these words have unusual spelling, cannot be sounded out using phonics knowledge, and often cannot be represented using pictures.

    Writing Apps

    • Howie Finding Vowel Lite - This app is recommended for a K-1 classroom. The phonics app allows students to practice listening for and identifying short, long, r-controlled and vowel team vowels. This app is easy to use with kid friendly graphics. The voice used in this app is clear and easy to understand. The sounds and graphics are engaging for kids.
    • Scribble Press - writing tool that allows students to write, illustrate and publish their own books. Students may illustrate their book by: uploading pictures they have in their Photos, drawing their illustrations freehand with the drawing tool app, or by using the stock pictures available within the app.
    • Storykit.png
      Story Kit - Create an electronic storybook.

    • Puppet Pals - Create your own unique shows with animation and audio in real time!
    • Poppet.png
      Popplet Lite - Popplet is a platform for your ideas. Popplet's super simple interface allows you to move at the speed of your thoughts. With Popplet you can capture your ideas and sort them visually in realtime.

    Reading Apps

    • MeeGenius! - Read along word highlighting, top notch illustrations, read alone or follow along with expert narration.
    • OverdriveApp.png
      Overdrive - Read eBooks and listen to audiobooks from your library using OverDrive Media Console on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. - Use computer login for access

    • Storia - Developed by Scholastic’s reading experts, Storia is the FREE teacher-recommended eReading app designed to give kids the titles they want in a format they love. The Storia app includes a sampling of 5 FREE eBooks with initial download.
    • Razkids.png
      Raz Kids - If you already use Raz-Kids, this app lets you access eBooks and eQuizzes for the 300+ titles on Raz-Kids, all on your tablet!

    Reading A to Z Apps - Reading A-Z apps

    Collins Big Cat Apps - Read and Writing

    Math Apps

    • Adventures Under Sea Math Addition - The object of the game is to unlock all levels and reach the final level. The levels are unlocked when the puzzles are solved, and as the levels progress, the puzzles are more challenging and less time is given to complete the level.
    • Underseamath.png
      Adventures Under Sea Math Subtraction - The object of the game is to unlock all levels and reach the final level. The levels are unlocked when the puzzles are solved, and as the levels progress, the puzzles are more challenging and less time is given to complete the level.

    • Interactive Telling Time Lite - Interactive Telling Time is great for kids from ages 3 to 12 and comes in 5 difficulty levels so that it helps kids master telling time progressively (statistics is provided to help keep track of your child’s progress).
    • Garfield's Mental Math Games - Garfield’s Mental Math Games is a wonderful tool bi-lingual tool which enables children to develop a visual image of number relationships, at their own pace. It entices young students to think in groups of 5 and 10 and see numbers as one quantity, rather than counting individual beads.
    • Splashmath.png
      Splash Math - Grades 1 - 5 - Splash Math Grades 1 to 5 app is a collection of fun and interactive math problems aligned to Common Core Standards. The app reinforces math concepts with self-paced and adaptive practice anytime, anywhere.

    • Number Rack by The Math Learning Center - The Number Rack facilitates the natural development of children’s number sense. Rows of moveable, colored beads encourage learners to think in groups of fives and tens, helping them to explore and discover a variety of addition and subtraction strategies.
    • Counting Coins - This app offers students a way to practice counting coins. The coin amounts are basic, under 50 cents. The directions are easy to understand and the app offers a demonstration of how to work the app's 4 practice modes. The four modes are: Math the Value, Make the Total, How Many Cents? and Show the Value. Students could use this app individually or with a partner.
    • Kindergarten Math: Drills in Addition, Subtraction, Comparison - This app has several levels for each skill. This would be highly motivating for students as they keep moving on. Since there are several levels, this app could be used throughout the school year. It also provides useful feedback with dates, percentages, and skills attempted.

    Learn Zillion (Free) - STUDENT APP (there is a separate app for educators. LearnZillion for students allows students to complete assignments on their iPhone or iPad. Students can also manage their classes, search through the entire video library, and review their scores on past assignments.

    Khan Academy (Free) - Khan Academy allows you to learn almost anything for free. The app is the best way to view Khan Academy’s complete library of over 4,200 videos and articles.We cover a massive number of topics, including K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even the humanities with playlists on art history, civics, and finance.

    IXL (Free) - Make math tangible with IXL Math Practice! Over 2,000 standards-aligned skills provide comprehensive coverage of K-12 math content, while hundreds of colorful awards celebrate important milestones. From skip-counting with pictures to multi-step story problems, IXL's interactive practice formats bring the joy of learning right to students’ fingertips.



    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.


    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.

    Basic projects:
    Alternatives to a book report -
    Classroom feedback -

    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]

    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 Communities? 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, PBS Kids, Discovery, or Safari Montage. The websites can be bookmarked to the home page for quick access.

    • Station 1 - video delivery
    • Station 2 - Create discussion, and/or a What if? discussion using Doodle or Idea Sketch

    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 and accessed via the iBooks app.
    • Station 2 - 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. The Video tool on the iPad device works great or use 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.

    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.

    Resources! Resources! Resources!

    Mobile 1 688.jpg
    There are over 500,000 apps - this is both a good and bad. 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). I recommend using a search engine to find apps. Use terms such as 1st grade Math apps. This is much easier than searching the iTunes App Store.

    App Websites

    There are numerous resources for those looking for Apps and iPad resource just a google search away. Below are some sites that have been vetted and offer a great variety of educational apps.


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