5 Ways to Use Your iPad to Teach in the College Classroom
Photo credit: Sean MacEntee
When thinking of iPads in education, typically the first thought that comes to mind is an iPad for every student. But, iPads and their Android-based counterparts have plenty to offer the college classroom in the hands of instructors, too.
The tech savvy professor can finally teach without the need to spend the first ten minutes of class locating a working dry erase marker or achieving the seemingly impossible feat of configuring an overhead projector to project both large enough for students in the back to see, as well as in focus.
In many cases, the iPad enables you to interact more with large groups of students and facilitates more engaging means of instruction. Here are 5 ways to use the iPad as an instructor in higher education:
1. Control your laptop remotely
Some of the primary criticisms of the iPad are that it does not offer the same level of functionality as a laptop running either Windows or OSX. The iPad does not allow you to multitask, nor does it offer an SD card slot or a USB port.
But, while teaching your class, you can control your laptop wirelessly using an iPad. This means you have access to the same applications that you do on your Mac or PC, and by controlling a laptop that is connected to the classroom projector, you can thus navigate and project your class PowerPoint slides using your iPad.
2. Present interactive activities to your students
Admittedly there isn’t too much advantage to simply using a remote desktop app like Splashtop or LogMeIn if all you are doing is advancing PowerPoint slides – remotes for this already exist, and they are substantially cheaper (and smaller) than iPads.
Take the opportunity to stop lecturing at your students and start engaging them. Present interactive activities, like free response questions, using your tablet, so that your students can engage with the material you are presenting to them. They’ll pay more attention, too.
3. Open a backchannel and reply to questions
One of the worst things about teaching a large lecture course is that oftentimes it is difficult to know if students understand anything you say. Additionally, students can be too intimidated to raise hands in front of their peers, or simply don’t have a chance to ask a question without interrupting.
There are many methods to open a backchannel for your classroom using your iPad, some more elegant than others. Browse forums or a chat room built into your LMS with your iPad while continuing to present lecture slides using the podium PC and a presentation remote. Or, adopt a more seamless interactive presentation tool.
4. Draw or annotate your slides
It’s tough to draw diagrams or graphs using a mouse. Use your electronic slate to draw on your slides using your finger or, better yet, a stylus.
When remotely controlling your PC using your tablet, you should have no trouble drawing graphs or sketching out important points. No more need to bring a package of wet erase markers and a box of overhead transparencies!
5. Catch off-task students by roaming the aisles
At times it can be tough to engage students when you stand guard next to the lectern for the entire class session to access a mouse and keyboard. But, when you have a remote connection configured using your iPad, you can easily walk up and down the aisles of the lecture hall.
This will inevitably wake up students who thought the distance between you and the seating area represented an impenetrable fortress of safe space for an early-morning nap, and lets you see which students are actually typing comments on their friends’ Facebook albums instead of notes on your course.
Free eBook: Lecturing with an iPad
Students are far less likely to stray when you are able to roam the aisles. Download our free eBook and learn how to use your iPad to untether yourself from the podium and start teaching more interactively.