5 Free Apps for Classrooms with a Single iPad
Posted by Ryan Schaaf on“Often times, 1:1 tablet programs aren't financially feasible. However, classroom teachers can still utilize a tablet creatively and work on essential standards of the Common Core. Monica Burns, an insightful New York City educator, highlights free apps for learning and promotes collaboration in the process through small group work.”
You don’t have to be in a 1:1 classroom to infuse technology into your instruction. If you have one iPad in your classroom, turn it into a technology station during literacy or math small group work. A group of 3-4 students can work collaboratively on one iPad with these fantastic free apps:
1. Toontastic: Students can work in small groups to write a script based on a story they know or one they’ve created. Toontastic allows users to tell their story by choosing a setting, creating characters, and moving each character while they record dialogue. Students must identify the tone of a story, sequence events, and act out the different parts. Each child can play the role of a character, or take on jobs like set designer and director. Using Toontastic students can draw and record their tale, creating a final product that’s perfect to share with the class or on a back-to-school night. These videos are also great for digital portfolios.
2. Math Fluency: Instead of having students use paper flashcards to quiz each other on math facts try one of the free iPad apps – there are many to choose from – that quiz students on addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Using just one iPad (or iPod Touch) students can work in teams to quiz one another to reinforce these basic skills. Fluency is an important foundational skill and digital flashcards are an easy way to create a technology math station.
3. Camera: The iPad camera offers many opportunities for students to work together collaboratively. Students can snap pictures of their group acting out scenes from a story or describing the feelings of a character. Whether they’re filming public service announcements, retelling a story they’re read, giving a book recommendation or conducting interviews, small groups can work together to complete a task using the iPad camera.
4. Screencasting: Doceri and ScreenChomp are two fantastic free apps that students can use in small groups. Have a team solve a math word problem and document the steps they’ve taken to find their answer. Students can each take on a role (as speaker, writer, timekeeper, director) or each model a different part of the problem. These tutorials can be shared with the whole class or included in digital portfolios. Differentiate the task by having students work on problems at their level or in a heterogeneous group. These screencasts can be used as a form of assessment to see if students can explain their thinking – and work collaboratively.
5. Teleprompter: Students can practice choral reading to build fluency using the iPrompt iPad app. Choose a famous text – or one you and your students have written – and cut and paste it into the app. Change the font size and speed of delivery to meet the needs of your students. Have students read in unison or act as a timekeeper for another child. It’s a great way to connect to the Speaking and Listening anchor standards of the Common Core.