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October 14, 2014

5 Ways Teachers Can Use their iPads Professionally – From Jennifer Carey
This post first appeared on iPad Apps for Schools.
iPads are powerful tools for teachers in the classroom. In addition to being robust, mobile creation devices for students, they help you to stay organized, be on top of your classes, create content and lessons, focus on continued learning, and build your PLN. Here are five ways to turn your iPad into a robust, education machine!

Organize Yourself

You can easily sync your Outlook or Google Calendar to your iPad by going to iPad Settings → Mail, Contacts, & Calendar → Add Account. This allows you to add multiple work, personal, and/or shared calendars to the calendar on your iPad, giving you mobile access to all of your appointments (personal and professional) on a single calendar. You will also be able to make changes on the go, and with cloud based platforms, you won’t have to remember to sync your device to your computer as all changes are updated automatically. By using the Reminder app, you can schedule notifications weeks, months, even years in advance! One of my favorite features of Reminder is that in addition to alarms based on date/time, you can set a reminder notification based on location (don’t forget to buy milk at the grocery store or to take your gym shoes as you leave your house in the morning). If you want to conquer more robust tasks, look at investing in one of the popular To-Do List apps such as Wunderlist, Things, or Trello.

Organize your Class

Even if your school does not have a formal LMS, there are numerous free tools that allow you to organize a class calendar, have students check and submit homework assignments, share content and materials, keep attendance, track students, and even send robust reports to advisors, administrators, and/or parents. Some of the most popular and comprehensive LMS’s available include Schoology, Teacherkit, and Edmodo. While Google Classroom does not yet have a formal app, you can still access it using your iPad’s browser (while Safari is the default, I find that it works best using the Chrome iOS browser).

Create Class Content

iPads are not just mobile, creation devices for students; they are a powerful tool in the hands of a teacher. You can easily build both traditional and creative lessons for your classes. Keynote, Google Slides, PowerPoint (creation abilities require a subscription to Office 365), and/or Prezi allow you to create class presentations rich with  text, images, charts, graphs, and video! Additionally, you can easily make flipped content using tools such as iMovie, Notability, Explain Everything, or Educreations. These apps allow you to share content to cloud services such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Google Drive. From there, you can post to your course website or LMS (using one of the tools listed above) or share via Google Drive.

Manage your Professional Development

Great educators are lifelong learners. It’s easy to keep up with your own learning and professional development goals using iPad. With eReader Apps such as Kindle, iBooks, Nook, or Overdrive, you can access a myriad of electronic texts on your mobile device. Even better, you are not limited to a single platform or provider. Your local library may even offer eBooks on loan! In addition to texts, be sure to check out the variety of content offered via Podcasts and iTunes U. You can readily access content related to educational theory and topics, or your own areas of interest (History, Math, Politics, etc). Also, be sure to check out the variety of resources published via iPad apps such as Ted or PBS.

Manage your PLN

Keeping up with your Personal Learning Network (PLN) can feel daunting. However, iPad allows you to access your PLN using a variety of tools. With stand alone apps like Twitter, Diigo, Facebook, Feedly, or Pocket, you can easily share and consume resources on the fly. However, I also like to use an app called Flipboard that enables me to see my Social Media, Blog posts, and News Resources in a magazine-like interface. You can learn more about navigating your PLN in this article on Edutopia. iPads are powerful tools in the educational environment, not just for students, but also for teachers. Harnessing the power of iPad can help you to stay more organized, meet your classroom goals, and manage your own professional development on a single, portable device. To learn more about these ideas, and more, check out the November 12-14 EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in Boston where I will be a Featured Speaker.