Deploying iPads in Schools

Since receiving a comment under the iPad Videos post about the deployment of iPads in Schools I thought I would post the following list of resources.

I have found a few resources on the web that have helped me to understand how people are using the iPad and what applications they are using. The best resource for philosophy and strategy I’ve found is by a guy named Fraser Speirs who is implementing a 1 to 1 program at Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock, Scotland. His blog is pretty awesome. And, I just found out about this resource he’s put together. It’s a question and answer site and covers a lot of ground so if you are deploying iPads in any way this is a great resource.

The Canby School District in Canby, Oregon is writing about their experiences deploying iPads and iPods. This is a pretty good resource for the kinds of things you are looking for about deployment.

Here’s another resource from a school librarian about the experience of implementing iPads in school.

There are a few school districts writing about their experiences using iPads in the classroom. They are: Berthoud Elementary School and Franklin Academy High School.

There are probably more but that’s a good start! If you know of other resources that can help people deploying iPads in schools understand some of the complexity and solutions available please leave a comment below.

iPad in Schools Videos

Believe it or not, as of today there aren’t a lot of videos on YouTube showing how the iPad might be being used in schools. Here are a couple that I found where people (mostly adults) are expressing their excitement for the iPad in Schools or showing the use of iPods in school (which as I’ve written about is an obvious step in the direction of using iPads in schools).

St. Andrew’s School in Georgia

From St. Andrew’s web site:
The Apple iPad extends our student’s learning opportunities beyond the school day and is another tool for the students to use as they develop the skill sets necessary for the 21st century. The iPad is used by our students in a variety of ways:

  • Note taking and organizational tool
  • Research tool
  • Presentation tool
  • Homework tool
  • Sharing and collaboration tool
  • Reading tool
  • Discovery tool

What looks to me like an iPad in elementary school.


Some 8 and 9 year olds using an iPad in school.


A review by an adult about using the iPad in schools.


and a group of adults that received iPads as part of a business school experience (through IMD, International Institute for Management Development) - instead of a folder or notebook that would traditionally be provided.

iPad Apps for Elementary School

Here are iPad and iPhone apps that can be used in primary school.

Alphabet Fun Learning the A-B-Cs was never like this. Alphabet Fun makes the most of Multi-Touch technology on iPad to teach kids letters, numbers, and colors. They’ll swipe through colorful images and easy-to-read text. They’ll trace over letters with their fingers right on the iPad display. They’ll even write entire words. Kids think it’s a game. Parents think it’s educational. Everybody wins. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

Math Magic – Don’t you just love how much your child has improved in adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing? You never get tired of hearing, “Can I do math?” from your six year old, do you? Of course you don’t. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

Star Walk is a winner of APPLE DESIGN AWARDS 2010 for technical excellence, innovation, superior technology adoption, high performance, and outstanding design! Star Walk is installed for demonstration on iPads at Apple Stores! Try it out in the shops! Enjoy NEW Picture of the Day and Bookmarks sections, share your astronomy observations via Facebook and Twitter! iPhone best astronomy app *Featured by Apple – Best Apps of 2009!* is now available for iPad! On a bigger screen starry night sky looks fantastic with 3D graphics and one of the user-friendliest interfaces ever. Star Walk is your personal planetarium that can answer to all your curiosities about the sky! For anyone who is interested in stargazing, amateurs or professionals Star Walk makes discovering more than 9,000 stars, planets, constellations, messiers as beautiful and easy as it has never been before! (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

National Geographic’s World Atlas HD – Designed specifically for the iPad, National Geographic’s World Atlas HD puts our best maps in the palm of your hand. Unlike other map applications, the National Geographic World Atlas HD utilizes our highest resolution, press-ready images, providing you the same rich detail, accuracy, and artistic beauty found in our award-winning wall maps and bound atlases. The app is preloaded with 3 different styles of world maps, down to country-level detail. With an internet connection, you can continue zooming through continent-level maps to detailed Bing maps – close enough to see your home! (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE) and – The free app delivers trusted reference content from and, including nearly 1,000,000 words and definitions and 90,000 synonyms and antonyms. No Internet connection is needed. The app also features audio pronunciations, similarly spelled words and’s popular Word of the Day that is enjoyed by millions of people. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

Wikipanion – Accessing Wikipedia has never been faster and easier than with Wikipanion, designed for easy, search, navigation and display of Wikipedia entries. Streamline your browsing with history grouped by visit date, and bookmarking that not only bookmarks individual entries, but individual sections within an entry. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

Miss Spell’s Class is an original word game that lets players test their spelling skills against the most commonly misspelled words on Players must quickly decide whether each of 20 words is spelled correctly or incorrectly, as speed and accuracy count to get to the top of the class! (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

ArithmeTick – How fast can you add and multiply? Solve math problems against the clock! ArithmeTick is a challenging math game where you solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems! The objective in ArithmeTick is to solve as many problems as possible before time runs out. You are awarded up to 10 points and additional time for each correct answer. A practice mode is also included to help sharpen your math skills! With five difficulty levels, ArithmeTick is perfect for kids and adults! (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

Read Me Stories – A new talking picture book EVERY DAY teaches your child new concepts, new words and how to say them. Your child can practice reading – anywhere, anytime – while you’re driving, shopping in the grocery store, or having a quick coffee at your favorite cafe. Our books are fun and entertaining – so your child will look forward to reading their new book, every day! Imagine that – your child reading a new book everyday! You can spend quality time with your child while teaching them the core skills of reading and speaking that are so necessary for every child in today’s modern world. Bedtime reading will become something extra-special. Or, you can have a break while your child practices reading. With our books in your pocket, that can be when and where it fits into your day. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

VideoScience – Science Class Experiments brought to you by Science House and featuring Science Teacher Dan Menelly, winner of the NSF Einstein Fellowship in Cyberinfrastructure! These videos are 2 to 3 minutes in length and demonstrate the steps of simple science experiments. The experiments are designed to inspire and excite kids of all ages, with very little set-up time and using only low cost materials. So whether you are a public school teacher, private school teacher, or home school teacher; we hope you use these videos and the many more on our website to ignite the scientific passion in your kids. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

All Subjects/General:

Language Arts:


Social Studies:


iPods to iPads

iPod in school

Until recently I didn’t realize that numerous schools were using iPods for learning – not just for listening to music but as a study tool/aid and as part of classroom learning. If this is true, that teachers and schools are finding real learning value from iPods, it makes sense this can lead naturally to finding iPads in these same schools at some point.

It makes sense that people would enjoy the small form factor – however in my opinion, the iPad is a better learning tool because of it’s larger screen and better user experience. If the iPod makes a good learning tool then the newer, more powerful, iPad should make a better learning tool.

In a recent article about the iPod in school, Joe Morelock, the director of technology and innovation for the Canby School District in Oregon, shared how he started a pilot program of iPod Touch devices in a single third-grade classroom. The pilot’s success led to the district setting a goal of providing every third-grade student with access to an iPod Touch.

This graph, just one from that article, shows the number of students that meet or nearly meet the math requirements on a standardized test are much higher for the iPod Touch classroom (left circle).

The Canby School District is extending the iPod program by providing iPod Touches for all third graders district-wide during the 2010-2011 school year. In addition, pilot programs using iPads will run at the elementary-, middle- and high-school levels.

Perhaps most importantly, both students and teachers love using the devices:

You know that little boy who came up to us this morning? He loves the iPod Touches. They have made an incredible difference in his math work. He has Asperger’s, and before the iPods, he could never sit through a math class. The kid absolutely loves math now and gets As. He sits himself up at the front of the room — he likes to be by himself — tucks his foot up, leans on the desk and goes to town on math. It’s simply amazing. — Gale Hipp, sixth-grade math teacher. [Note: Link added.]

And simply:

This is the most fun I have had teaching in the last 25 years. — Deana Calcagno, fifth-grade teacher.

In another article I read about some Vancouver schools testing the use of iPods as learning tools.

What do the iPods offer?

They allow students to repeat drills, dig up research material or view short video lessons on hard-to-grasp concepts. All at their own speed, without disrupting others, freeing up teachers for more one-on-one attention.

The hands-on activity engages brains, often better than a teacher’s monotone and overhead screen might. Students can repeat a lesson until they truly “get it,” minus the embarrassment they may feel in front of classmates. their peers can race ahead, even play one of several skill-building games.

The iPods also let students whose home lacks a device or wireless Internet access master technology and learning styles they surely will use in the years ahead.

“It’s a totally different way” of classroom instruction, said Kara Beu, one of several King teachers who received special training this summer. “It’s not so much teacher-controlled, it’s children-controlled, which has been kind of nice.”

In my point of view the iPad would be the most logical step beyond the iPod. How long with that take? We’ll see!


Libraries Using iPads

iPad in librariesA recent research study found that young people are open to, and interested in, reading e-books (more so than their parents). This makes sense to me as most young people are more comfortable with technology as a natural part of their lives. As more and more young people find value in using these types of tools it makes sense we would see these tools migrate into the library experience.

Here’s a quote from an article about the e-book study:

The 2010 Kids and Family Reading Report, released Wednesday and commissioned by Scholastic Inc., offers a mixed portrait of e-books and families. Around six out of 10 of those between ages 9 and 17 say they’re interested in reading on an electronic device such as the Kindle or the iPad. Around one out of three from the same age group say they’d read more “for fun” if more books were available on a digital reader.

Combine that research with technical revolution taking place in libraries and we can see a natural progression to having iPads and other electronic reading devices becoming a natural part of the library experience.

We’ve already explored briefly how the iPad can be used for research. Combine this idea with the fact that libraries are becoming more technologically savvy and we can see one very clear application emerging. This quote from a recent article about public libraries makes the point:

Libraries are tweeting, texting and launching smart-phone apps as they try to keep up with the biblio-techs — a computer-savvy class of people who consider card catalogs as vintage as typewriters. And they seem to be pulling it off.

The more the world changes the more schools will have to change. If young people experience their local library (which some still do) as being a ‘cool’ place to be and one in which exploring and learning is encouraged, wouldn’t they expect the same thing from their school library? And if their explorations and learning come in some way through the interaction and use of technology it makes sense they would expect that to be true in their school libraries as well.

From that same article:

In Princeton, N.J., 44 people are waiting to borrow Kindles, a wireless reading device. Roya Karimian, 32, flipped through the preloaded e-pages of “Little Women” after two months on the waiting list.

“I had already read it, but I wanted to experience reading it on the Kindle,” Karimian says.

A growing number of libraries are launching mobile websites and smart-phone applications, says Jason Griffey, author of “Mobile Technology and Libraries.” No one keeps tabs of exactly how many, but a recent iPhone app search showed more than a dozen public libraries.

It makes sense the same thing would be happening in school libraries.

I can imagine many applications being developed specifically for libraries.

Each library can have their own specifically branded application – like a library guide – that helps users navigate their way in and around the library. As more and more books are digitized it makes sense that there will be both physical and virtual versions of books so I could imagine people sitting around the library reading books on their e-book readers. When doing research it makes sense that someone with an iPod or iPad like device could ask the librarian for help – but not necessarily in person. It could be through the device – like a walkie-talkie – or even in the form of ‘point me to a specific book’ using a digital map of the library.

The image included at the top of this post is an imaginary wall of iPads – in a library. It comes from an interesting article about using the iPad in museums in libraries. The article talks about museums and libraries using the iPad to displays e-books and introducing a tactile way of accessing information.

More and more schools should find their own media centers and libraries using tools like the iPad for students.

One more thing. This may come as a surprise, but an elementary school in Pheonix has just opened the first iPad lab. So the media center could look like a whole slew of iPads instead of rows of computers!

Based on a sixth grader’s winning essay on the future of technology in education, the school decided to open the iPad lab to give the students the same interactive learning environment they are used to outside of school.