15 Engaging and Creative Ways to Use iPads in a K-12 Classroom

If you are looking for unique and innovative ways to use the iPad in your classroom, then you have come to the right place. In this post I teamed up with Stephen Lai and Meg Wilson to bring you 15 ideas that will help you think outside the box and bring new levels of creativity to your iPad classroom.

1. Use your iPad as a document camera! – @jonathanwylie

With the Stage Interactive Whiteboard and Document Camera app, and the help of a dedicated, or DIY, mount you can easily use your iPad as a document camera. Better still, you can annotate over anything you set under the camera, and even record what you show. Got another $10? Make your own microscope attachment for up to x175 magnification!Ā It is a great way to use iPads in the classroom.

Stage Interactive iPad app

2. Review academic topics! – @sly111

Quizlet is a completely free app that allows you to create flashcards for your students. Interactive games can also be done on the web. Project them over Airplay for a great review opportunity as a class! An optional Teacher account with extra features is available. Students can also practice individually at home for review for upcoming tests. You do not necessarily need the app, as it is a web-based service as well. Run it on your browser.

3.Ā Collaborate with other classrooms! – @iPodsibilities

We should never let our students think that their classroom is just the four walls around them. It is essential that students know that the world is their classroom, and the iPad is a great way for students to connect and collaborate with students anywhere in the world. Whether students video conference with FaceTime or Skype (both free) to discuss a book in they read together in Subtext (a social reading app), or to do a Mystery Skype, the iPad opens doors to collaborative learning experiences for students of all ages.

4. Create a special effects movie! Ā –Ā @jonathanwylie

One of my favorite new apps isĀ the Doink green screen app. Recreate your favorite Sci-Fi movies or your own mini blockbuster with the aid of a green sheet and this innovative app. Film your scene in front of a green screen, then layer your background on top if it to create an awesome special effect! Export your video to the Camera Roll and it is ready to be edited further or combined with more clips in iMovie. You might also want to take a look at theĀ Action Movie FX app.

green screen app

5. Use your iPad as a “game show” style soundboard! – @sly111

Play review games (with the aide of technology or without) and use special sound effects in your classroom using iPad apps such as theĀ Game Show Sound Board. Younger students will love these special audio effects.

6.Ā Augment reality with Layar or Aurasma! – @iPodsibilities

Augmented reality can change the way your students see the world by offering additional digital information to real objects that can only be seen via apps like Layar (free) or Aurasma (free). Post a blank map or timeline, where teachers and students can add different types of multimedia content that can be viewed depending on age, ability, and/or curriculum.

Layar app

7. Create 3D models! –Ā @jonathanwylie

With the freeĀ 123D Catch app, you can create 3D models of anything in your iPad classroom simply by taking a series of pictures of it. The pictures are composited into a 3D model you can view on the iPad or upload to an online account to share. Has your school invested in a 3D printer? Use your favorite scans to print the 3D models you create in this app!

123d Catch

8. Create Artistic Posters! – @sly111

Using great photography apps likeĀ Diptic, Pic Collage and Over. Have lots of interesting photos to share? Stitch them together using these apps, print them off to display in your classroom! Your students can create poster projects containing multiple images displaying what they have learned. It’s a creative and fun way to use iPads in the classroom.

iPad collage apps

9.Ā Capture metacognition with Explain Everything! – @iPodsibilities

We talk a lot about differentiated instruction, but not enough about differentiated assessment. Using Explain Everything ($2.99), students can show you (and tell you!) what they know in a way that works for them. Explain Everything is a screencasting app that allows students to ā€œannotate, animate, narrate, import and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere.ā€ Whether students demonstrate their understanding of a math concept, summarizing skills, or phonemes, Explain Everything allows you to capture studentsā€™ thoughts while viewing their work.

10. Record Podcasts with USB Mics! – @jonathanwylie

The iPad is a great multimedia device, but the microphone is not of the highest quality for recording professional sounding audio in video or for podcasts. However, with the help of Appleā€™s Camera Connector kits, you can connect good quality USB mics and other peripherals to use with your iPad. Classroom videos also sound great when you use external mics.

camera connector

11. Use your iPad as a playlist manager! – @sly111

Do you sing and/or listen to a lot of songs in class? Ā You can choose to use iTunes to create playlists but did you know that you can create playlists in YouTube as well? Find essentially any song you wish on YouTube and play it on your iPad! Better, use apps such as Musi to stream your music if you have a strong wifi signal, or Instatube to save your music for offline viewing/listening.

12.Ā Share your studentsā€™ learning experiences using Instagram! – @iPodsibilities

Looking for an easy way to share your classroom with families and other educators? Join Instagram (for free)! Using the iPadā€™s camera, you can capture photos and videos to quickly post to Instagram, where families and other educators can celebrate your studentsā€™ learning right along with you.

instagram app

13. Use your iPad as a classroom management tool! – @sly111Ā 

Have pre-determined songs for transitions/lining up/cleaning up/deskwork using the Pocket Pied Piper app ($1.99). Primary-aged students can be guided to follow certain commands based on what is played. Songs can be changed to your own personal collection as well to suit the tastes of older students. You can also use visuals on a projected iPad with the app Silent Light ($3.99). The app will monitor noise levels in your iPad classroom while you as the teacher can set what level is appropriate for each particular activity.Ā Set a goal for points for the class to achieve to earn rewards.

14. Create multimedia eBooks with Book Creator! – @jonathanwylie

One of the best uses for the iPad in education is digital storytelling apps, and they donā€™t come much better than Book Creator for iPad. Over 3 million multimedia eBooks have been created with just this app! You can add text, images, video, audio and more. Ā Choose from over 50 fonts, draw your own illustrations, and send your finished product to iBooks, Dropbox, or share by email. Try it out for free!

book creator for ipad

15. Let the iPad choose! – @sly111

Ever have trouble deciding who gets to answer your questions in class? Do you have difficulty choosing people for group projects?Ā I still see teachers with 25 names on popsicle sticks. Well, there’s an app for that! Check out Pick Me! ($1.99), which lets you keep a standing record of correct and incorrect responses that the students give.


This post is a collaborative piece that was written with the help of Stephen Lai and Meg Wilson. Steve is a talented iPad teacher from Canada. You can find Steve on Twitter asĀ @sly111Ā and readĀ his blog atĀ teachingwithipad.org. Meg isĀ an Apple Distinguished Educator, special education teacher and technology specialist from, Connecticut, USA. Please take time to check out her blog atĀ http://iPodsibilities.com. Find Meg on Twitter asĀ @iPodsibilities.


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