5 Reasons to LOVE the iPad in the Classroom

We’re welcoming Julie from The Techie Teacher to the blog today. As an Instructional Technology educator, Julie firmly believes that teachers should embrace the technology that surrounds us today, like iPads. Read on to learn her five reasons for using the iPad in the classroom!

Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

Hey everyone! I’m Julie from The Techie Teacher, and I am so excited to be guest blogging for Rachel Lynette. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher at four elementary schools in Henrico, Virginia and absolutely love working with all of my teachers and students.

Today, I want to share five reasons why you should learn to love the iPad camera app on your classroom iPads. Anytime I do sessions on apps, app smashing, or even iPad basics, I always start with a “disclaimer” about that one tool on the iPad that makes many teachers cringe as soon as they see the icon: the CAMERA! I have run into so many teachers who want to hide the camera from their students so they cannot access it during their iPad time. I know, I get it…I’ve been a classroom teacher for many years, but don’t roll your eyes when I say:

Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

This one tool can be SO powerful in your classroom for five reasons:

Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

That’s right, a file cabinet. When your students create meaningful digital creations, their work is typically saved to the camera roll. The camera roll is super handy for app smashing (when students use two or more apps to make ONE project) because their work is stored on the camera roll and pulled into the final app that pieces their app smashing project all together!

Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

Kids LOVE selfies. This is typically the reason why many teachers ask me to hide the camera app on their iPads. If you learn to love the camera and embrace the idea of taking selfies, then I promise you will maximize student engagement in your classroom by taking something they find fun and exciting and using it to promote learning and creativity. For example, have your students:

  • take a selfie with different geometry figures
  • take a selfie with something that has an acute, an obtuse, and/or a right angle
  • take a selfie with books you have read or books you would like to read
  • take a selfie with an even number of items/an odd number of items
  • take a selfie with objects that have a short vowel/a long vowel

I could keep going…

Once they take their pictures, have them upload the pictures into a FREE picture collage app that can be transferred to your computer and printed to make a cute bulletin board. Here is an example of one I made using PicCollage:

Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

Selfie projects can even be collected for a quick and easy grade. Here is a FREE download of some selfie rubrics I created. A rubric in which you can add your own categories is also included:

Selfie Project Rubrics Freebie

Once you have completed a selfie project, explain to your class that they have had a chance to take their selfies and that you expect them to “continue” using the iPad as a learning tool in conjunction with their studies, but selfies should not otherwise be taken during class time. Hopefully they will accept this limitation.

Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

Have your students go on picture hunts around the school. This is similar to the selfie reason; however, even more can be captured through picture hunts. For instance, this was a picture hunt we did in a 3rd grade class that was studying angles and 3-D figures. We used the camera and Educreations to illustrate these angles and figures in a creative way:


Here is an example of a verbs poster that a 1st grade student made by asking friends to act out verbs while he used the camera to capture his images and the free app, Sticky, to display his work:

Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

Pictures make learning come alive and students are able to personalize their learning when they take pictures of themselves and friends (not to mention 100% engagement).

Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

That camera can also capture video, which leads to SO many awesome learning experiences. There are a ton of really cool apps out there that can make impressive videos, like Videolicious, VivaVideo, iMovie, and Telestory, but using just the basic video camera can provide for a quality learning experience. Students could:

  • conduct interviews
  • retell a story
  • explain their thinking
  • teach a concept
  • role play
  • video each other reading a passage and watch it to assess their fluency, accuracy, eye contact, etc.
  • and the list goes on…
Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

Provide the ultimate, innovative experience with your iPad camera and the free app, 123D Catch. Students can take pictures of people, places, and things and turn them into realistic 3-D experiences. This is SO fun for your students to use on field trips. All you have to do is take several pictures from each angle of your object, and the app does the rest of the work for you. Students can create 3-D experiences of things that can’t be brought back to the classroom: plants, rocks, buildings, animals, you name it! You can even 3-D print your captures, if you have a 3-D printer! 😉

Although iPads can be an incredible learning tool with tons of classroom uses, they can also sometimes turn into a distraction. Despite some teachers' fears, our guest blogger shares five reasons to love the iPad in the classroom - and specifically, the iPad camera! Read her insights in this post!

As you begin introducing your classroom routines, consider taking some time to teach your students how the iPad camera is a tool, not a toy.


Julie Smith from The Techie Teacher

Julie Smith is an elementary Instructional Technology Coach in Henrico, Virginia. She works with teachers and students in PreK-5th grade. Julie is the author of the blog, The Techie Teacher. You can also follow her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Teachers Pay Teachers.

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