Ten tips for using tablets in the classroom...
1. Desensitise - The term came from Sway. However, it's something that I've always done with each class as we use the devices for the first time. The touch screen on any device takes some getting used to. How hard should a tap be? which directions can be swiped in? what multi-finger gestures can be used? This will possibly become less important as touch screen technology becomes the norm.
2. Prediction - When typing, the predictive element can cause typos or (depending on spelling ability) incorrect substitution of words. Schools need to decide what predictive text is turned on or off and ensure the children are able to utilise it properly. I'm still to get to gripes [sic ;-)] with it!
3. Copy & Paste etc. - Ensure children know how to select a work, or a section of text and then cut or copy it before pasting it somewhere else. Indeed, the same with images. This is essential if any App Smashing is to take place.
4. Orientation - filming / photography - If footage or images are going to be edited together as part of a film, as a minimum, ensure they're all captured in the same orientation. Ideally, do them all landscape. It works much better in modern widescreen outputs.
5. Microphone - Do the children know where the microphone is? For example, on the iPad Mini it's at the top, not the bottom like a phone (most phones). Sound is much better when directed towards the microphone. Particularly in a classroom, with say 29 other children doing similar...
6. Sharing between apps - App Smashing! Sometimes copy and paste works just fine, but sometimes saving to 'Camera Roll' or 'Gallery' may be required to then input the object into another app. Theach this once and it'll then be useful over and over again!
7. App missing? How to put it back - "Sir, I don't have the app!" Often this can easily be resolved (dependant on management system in place) if children know how to. Not installing apps, not buying them, just putting one back that's for some reason gone missing.
8. Search - At the time of writing, only know of this on iOS (happy to update if told different). Instead of scrolling through looking for an app, swipe down in the middle of the screen and type in the app's name - it'll then appear. If I set up an iOS device for my use in the future, I'll not set up any folders, for me all I need is the search.
9. Turing off apps - Saving the battery. Tablets that charge over night? Used five hours a day by children? Let's make sure they make it. Double tap home button (iOS) or hold home button (Android) to see which apps are running. On iOS, swipe each to turn off, but (wait for it) on Android, press the 'close all button' :-). This will save battery power.
10. It is not a rock - They break. Two hands! Don't throw! It's not yours. You get the idea.