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Using the iPad in the Classroom: The Ultimate Guide

Updated on September 11, 2014

More and more schools around the world are beginning to use iPads and tablets for classroom and study aids. And there's a good reason: with over 1 million apps in the app store, there are so many different apps that one can use to help out in the classroom.

Whether you're a teacher or student, the iPad can be a powerful tool for you to use. Read more for the ultimate guide in using your iPad in the classroom!

Also, if you don't have an iPad but rather have a Surface, Android, or a Windows tablet, many of these apps have counterparts in the mentioned systems' respective app stores, so feel free to continue reading and let that tablet work for you.

For Students

All apps listed I use myself on a day-to-day basis on my iPad, all geared to use in either a high school or college level classroom.

  • Notability

    Quite possibly my most used application on my iPad. You can draw handwritten notes, record lectures, type notes, highlight notes, and import PDFs and other files. And for ease of mind, Notability lets you back up your files to Google Drive, Dropbox, and other cloud storage. This is an amazing app particularly if your teacher uses online notes, in which you can download to Notability. I use this app for all of my notes and homework at school.

    Check out Notability here.

  • Google Drive

    Like Peanut butter with Jelly, Google Drive goes with Notability. The Google Drive app also allows you to view and edit Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files within the app, and also allows you to create new word files, slide shows, and spreadsheets. And with offline viewing and the ability to share files, this app is a must have for school.

    Log in to your Google account to access your free Google Drive.

  • Evernote

    Evernote is scientifically proven to reduce your random-scraps-and-pieces-of-paper-and-notes by 79% (not really), but it certainly has for me. This is a must have app to jot down quick notes, pictures, and ideas throughout a lecture or just throughout your day. Evernote comes with built-in cloud backup and synchronization for all your notes across all of your devices.

    Check out Evernote here.

  • Pages

    If you're looking for a desktop quality word processor in a mobile package, look no further than Apple's very own Pages. Pages comes with built in templates and iCloud synchronization, so you can start your essay on your Mac and finish it on your iPad.

    To learn more about Pages, check out

  • Kindle / iBooks

    Skip the paper books and use the powerful Kindle or iBooks application to get your reading done. Both come with cloud synchronization, in-text highlighting, built-in dictionary, and annotations.

  • Wolfram Alpha

    If you're taking any mathematics or science based classes, this app is a must have. With an encyclopedic knowledge of almost every fact in the world and the ability to process natural input ("how many calories in a banana?"), Wolfram Alpha can help with almost any subject in school. It is also available in a universal iOS app in the App Store.

    Check out Wolfram Alpha and see what you can learn today!

  • Khan Academy

    Didn't understand a lecture? Then visit Khan Academy and see if there's a video lesson over the material! Khan Academy has helped millions of students (including me during honors chemistry) learn new material outside of the the classroom.

    Check out Khan Academy and see how Sal Khan can help you.

  • Documents 5

    Documents by Readdle is probably the closest thing we will get to having a file viewer for the iPad. Documents allows you to store and view various file types including PDFs, word, mp3s, pngs, you name it. Not only will all your files be saved on all your devices, but it also has a built-in PDF viewer and editor, allowing you to highlight notes and lectures. I use Documents 5 as a way to read lecture notes when I don't have any internet connection at the moment.

    Take a look at Documents 5 on Readdle's website here.

For Teachers

Teachers- you are not left out! Here are the many apps I find would be useful when delivering lectures or assigning homework.

  • Notability

    With Notability, you can replace your whiteboard/chalkboard with digital notes and have the notes always available online through Google Drive. And with a projector and an Apple TV, you can take notes and have students follow along through Airplay mirroring. And with the built-in voice recording, you can record voice notes and hand out and collect assignments through email or AirDrop.

  • Google Drive

    Google Drive allows you to store notes and lectures in one place. You can then share the notes and lectures with students so that they can always access them wherever and whenever.

  • Scanner Pro

    Need to make a scanned copy of a document? Just use Scanner Pro by Readdle! Scanner Pro comes with the option of saving documents as images or PDFs, in which you can save to your Google Drive and keep them there for sharing or storage.

  • Quizlet

    Using Quizlet, you can create quizzes, flashcards, matching games, and other interactive learning devices on your computer, mobile phone, or tablet. You can create a classroom and allow students to join and share their own sets of cards. And with the easy-to-use clean, iOS 7 interface, Quizlet is not only useful, but it is also fun to use, whether you're the student or teacher.

    Check out Quizlet for Teachers on their website.

  • Keynote

    Wish you could work on finishing a lecture when you're out and about? Keynote lets you do just that! With a multitude of themes and templates, Keynote allows you to create beautiful and informative slideshows. Already have a Microsoft Powerpoint file ready? Keynote comes with Powerpoint importing and editing abilities. And with the seamless Airplay mirroring with the Apple TV, you can present your lectures on the full screen with just a tap!

    Check out Apple Keynote on

  • Socrative

    Socrative allows you to create interactive exercises and quizzes that students can participate with their mobile phone or computer. With Games, quick responses, exit tickets, and reports, there are so many different ways in which you can get your students to become more involved in the classroom.

    Check out Socrative on their website.

For Students AND Teachers

  • This may seem obvious, but before you throw out the books and papers, practice using the various apps at home or outside of school! For Notability, there is a bit of a learning curve and you WILL need a stylus.

  • Speaking of Notability, Notability itself is such an essential part of the iPad in the classroom experience that I will create a entire separate article just for using Notability.

  • While many of the apps listed are free, there are some that do cost money, but I feel that each one is well worth the price.

  • You may need an internet connection for some of these apps (Wolfram Alpha).

Here are some products that can help your iPad to classroom experience!

amPen Stylus Pen - Ultra-Sensitive Capacitive Stylus with Lanyard (Black)
amPen Stylus Pen - Ultra-Sensitive Capacitive Stylus with Lanyard (Black)
Super reliable stylus that I use for taking notes on Notability.
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover Mini for iPad mini - Black
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover Mini for iPad mini - Black
VERY handy mobile keyboard that uses Blutooth the connect to your iPad or iPhone. This one fits perfectly onto your iPad mini thanks to the magnetic hinge.

As you can see, the iPad has a great amount of potential for use in the classroom. Whether you are a college student, a freshman just starting high school, or a teacher looking for an efficient way to teach your classroom, look no further than the iPad.

If this article has helped you, please like it and share it with your friends and family- I would greatly appreciate it!


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