The iPad Effect: A Top-10 List

It’s only been a few months, but I’ve already noticed some drastic changes in our classroom when the iPads roll in…. I’ve labeled these Top-10 phenomena as being The iPad Effect, as they seem to occur every Tuesday and Thursday….

1.  Fewer Water Bubbler Visits

Days when there are no iPads in the classroom, students seem to ask to leave to hydrate at the bubbler far more often than they do when the iPads ARE in the classroom.  I’m doubting there is a direct link between Thirst and iPaddling, but I can say that students are “thirstier” when their focus is interrupted…


2.  Fewer Restroom Visits

We try to time our bathroom visits with regular breaks in our routine.  This rule is followed far more on days when the iPads are here in the room.


3.  Fewer Nurse Visits

Seems that iPads are the latest cure for stomachaches, headaches, hang-nails, sore arms and legs and boo-boos.  Who knew??


4. “Can I do an extra problem?”

I can say with confidence, during my eight years of teaching, I seldom have had students ask to do MORE work than what is required.  When the iPads roll in, it seems Extra Work is on the menu!  I have several students ask each day if they can do more than what is expected of them.  Bravo!!


5.  Increased Focus

In a room full of students recording their voices, and playing them back, you would think that focusing would be more difficult.  The opposite is true!  I’ve seen sharper focus among all students on iPad days, even though the room has more activity going on.


6. Getting to Work FASTER!

Face it.  Usually when directions are given for a new assignment, it often takes a classroom full of students a good amount of time before everyone is on-task and hard at work.  On iPad days, the amount of time it takes before students are settled in with their assignments is no longer delayed. Our Time on Learning is extended in all subjects, no longer lost to Transition Time.


7. Better Behavior Choices

Students who are off-target in their behavior risk missing out on part of their iPad time.  Yellow Cards are almost non-existent on tech days, as students are more responsible and make better behavior choices.


8. Clearer Communication

Speaking in full sentences is always a goal in Room 204.  When using the iPads (particularly when recording a narration of any sort), students are more apt to communicate more clearly and effectively.  When asking questions, or clarifying directions, students are using appropriate vocabulary, and more complete sentences.  The better speakers we become, the more our writing will reflect those valuable skills!


9. Increased Engagement

Having the iPads available to us so often has made a significant difference in student engagement.  Students in Room 204 have amazing ideas and suggestions, and creative ways of solving problems and sharing expertise.  They are more engaged in their learning, and are willing to share their knowledge with others.  Engagement Matters!!


10. Clearer Assessment

Some of these iPad Effects sneak up on me and surprise me in wonderful ways.  I had no idea that assessing my students would be much easier using the iPads.  When I collect a pile of papers, or grade a stack of journals, or read through a bunch of personal narratives, I am unable to hear student insight.  By recording their lessons orally and in writing, students are revealing their thought process.  I am gaining a clearer understanding of what they know, what might need some clarification, and what needs re-teaching.


If learning to mastery is the ultimate goal, then I am finding iPads to be an effective tool to help students get there.  Though digital solutions aren’t always the best fit in every situation, there are many ways to enhance and deepen both learning and understanding through the use of technology.   I can only imagine how amazing school can be once I *really* get the hang of these buggers!!  As always, stay tuned!!!

Trackbacks Comments
  • Jeff Layman:

    Honest question for you: How scalable and “regular” do you think these phenomena become if you were to have iPads all the time?

    • Suzy Brooks:

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Great question! I have come to learn that teaching third grade is anything but predictable, but my guess is that some of these behaviors might still be novel at this point. It has only been about two months, and we only use them twice a week. If iPads were in our classroom all the time, I would have to guess that some of the behaviors might return, but who knows? I’ve already had other teachers write me and say they are seeing the same results in their classes, with some of them having 1:1 every day. I hope they stick around, but I’m always aware things can change.

      I do know that for as nervous as I was about implementing a BYOD/iPad Pilot, my fears have been melting away each day. My students will only be able to reach as far as I let them go as a teacher – in good ways (managing behavior) and in bad ways (if I hold them back from exploring their potential). The faster my worries are allayed, the more we will be able to reach farther in putting these tools to use.

      I love questions that make me think, even on holiday weekends ;) . Enjoy yours!!


  • Anonymous:

    Hi Suzy,
    I am doing a small research topic on E-Learning and the effects of Ipads in the classroom. I am a Canterbury College of Education student and this ‘Inquiry Project’ completes my Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching.
    I enjoyed reading about ‘The Ipad Effect’ in your classroom – It is great to hear from a classroom teacher about the real in class effects of learning with Ipads.
    Are you able to share any more information about your experience and the school you teach at?
    I understand the ethical considerations involved and so appreciate this information all the same :)

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