A Day in the Life of an iPad Student

7.00 am: Woken by fancy chime and skyscraper illumination on iPad. Switch off and go back to sleep.

7.15 am: Woken by beeping Angry Bird effect and grudgingly get up for school. Head down to breakfast to find Dad has somehow got hold of the iPad and is catching up on ‘that Piers Morgan and Lord Sugar arguing about grammar again’?

7.45 am: Mum waves goodbye as Dad brings iPad charger out ‘just in case the battery runs low’. It is charged overnight but Dad’s laptop is always running out of power. Strangely the iPad hasn’t run out at school yet.

7.55 am: Find seat on bus and use famous ‘inside PE shirt, inside bag’ technique to play Temple Run on iPad. Not allowed to take the iPad out on the bus but no-one has caught me at it.

8.25 am: Arrive at school and remind friends that the ‘iPad lost it’ excuse doesn’t work. Not sure how it does it but it remembers everything that is put into every app. Eat cookie satisfied that geography homework was completed a day early.

8.45 am: Registration and while we are answering our names the ‘iPad teacher‘ comes in to remind us about sharing folders in Dropbox and how to use the Edmodo conversation wall. It’s all very easy but he keeps telling us over and over again!

9.05 am: First lesson and we have to do a quiz straight away. We use the Socrative app and we answer five multiple choice questions and a short answer question with our name on. I could have told the teacher I knew all the answers but she wants to ‘keep the information on her iPad’. We put the iPads away and then have a discussion with prompt questions that are put on our desks. Every now and again we have to suggest the most important points for the board. The information helps as we get our iPads out again and complete an Explain Everything slide to show what we have learnt. I remember pictures better so I include three and record an audio sentence to help me later. They will be shared with the teacher later apparently, probably Dropbox.

10.05 am: Second lesson and the teacher tells us off for getting our iPads out. Put iPad back in bag and remember last time I got caught with it on my desk. The textbooks have our activities in and although it is heavy it is easy to read. One of my classmates is sent outside for trying to look up the meaning of a word on his iPad. It was so obvious I promise to show him the ‘inside PE shirt’ technique. Homework is relatively easy as we just have to complete classwork.

11.05 am: Break-time and whilst eating my lunch, I sneakily show my friend the iMovie trailer I made for French. I know he is jealous of the editing and promise I will show him how to fade the visuals – I won’t.

11.30 am: Third lesson and as usual we use loads of material. While we are completing our artistic impression we use the pictures/help sheet in our shared Dropbox folder to assist with our work. I use the ‘define’ option on the iPad as I don’t understand many of the terms although my teacher does help me. We are encouraged to take a number of photos of our work as we are going to put together a portfolio. There is so much going on I keep taking photos and video of my friend explaining the last part of the lesson. The teacher encourages me as I struggled a couple of weeks ago. We are visited by a Senior teacher in the lesson and he asks me about my work. He laughs when I reply ‘I’ve got a lot going on but it will all work out’.

12.30 pm: Fourth lesson and we know not to get the iPads out. I’m always amazed how well the teacher can talk and how interesting his stories are. We take notes that we will revise from. There is a lot of stuff on the whiteboard but it is quite easy to copy from the slides. Hopefully I will do well in the test next week.

1.30 pm: Lunch and the usual wait in line to buy food having eaten everything at break-time. Thankfully, I have remembered to put the iPad in my locker as I observe my friend being told off for having it out at lunchtime. See my French teacher and tell them about my iMovie project – can’t wait till the lesson tomorrow. Join in tennis club for twenty minutes, so glad I had my kit. There is a senior boy doing a skills analysis activity on an iPad. I’m a little bit jealous as he annotates the video and compares his friend to an elite sportsman. Apparently the app is called Tennis Coach Plus HD!

2.30 pm: Last lesson and we know we will be using a lot of apps as it’s the ‘iPad teacher’. Yet again he is introducing something new as we open up Audioboo. I enjoy the notes we make in Notability, with internet photos, and the use of Wordfoto to illustrate key terms. Our homework is set on Edmodo and we will upload it by next week. I like that way of doing it as it is marked by the teacher electronically and I receive it before next lesson. Apparently he dictates his annotations using his iPad and it appears on my work. I don’t really understand how it works it but his feedback is much longer now.

3.30 pm: Hometime and I’m glad to get on the bus. I’m very thankful the iPad case is zipped up as I drop my bag when a bigger boy is causing trouble. The walk from the bus stop to home is a bit easier now as I have less books.

4.45 pm: After snack time I start to complete my homework. The Edmodo assignments are easy to access and there are notes to help us from the teacher. I upload the work, complete with pictures from the internet, and know I will receive my feedback next week. Whilst completing another assignment I ask my friends about a tricky technique on the Edmodo wall. Thankfully they know the answer and I change my Skitch annotation to suit. The final homework is in my exercise book and I know I have to hand it in next week. It normally gets marked before our next set of grades so it will count I think.

6.00 pm: Dinnertime and I am keen to tell my parents about my iMovie trailer. I hint that my French teacher is looking forward to seeing it and I should get an achievement point. At least I think that’s what she said! Try to explain Audioboo to Dad but I don’t think he understands. End up telling him I will be able to listen to my voice to help me revise. He seems happy.

7.15 pm: Overhear my parents having a ‘discussion’ about the fact that something is not a toy and should be used to help ‘our son’. If it’s ‘Angry Birds’ that I showed Dad last week then I wish I hadn’t shown him. In fact, come to think of it, whenever I turn the iPad screen on the ‘Angry Birds’ music starts up.

9.00 pm: Bedtime and just remember to put the iPad on charge. Thought I had lost the charger and then remembered Dad had made me take it to school so it was in my bag. Can’t wait for period two French. The Appletv thing lets me show my iMovie to the whole class.

(Disclaimer – Author is the teacher of period 2)

About Daniel Edwards
Director of Innovation & Learning at the Stephen Perse Foundation schools, Cambridge, UK (stephenperse.com). Interested in global connectivity for all and risk taking in education. Keen to discuss all aspects of learning and digital strategy. Also @syded06 on twitter.

40 Responses to A Day in the Life of an iPad Student

  1. Pingback: A Day in the Life of an iPad Student | iPad in Education! | Scoop.it

  2. Steve says:

    A really nice narrative. Would be really useful to share with any 1:1 sceptics to show them 1:1 is a mix of techniques and that there is still text books and writing and sports clubs and … And… And… And iPads!


  3. Joy Kirr says:

    Thank you! This is great insight into a student’s mind (even though you are not a student), and it was great to be able to go to each link while reading. I’m surprised there was no FaceTime or chatting between iPads! Do you ever witness this? Thanks again for such a fun, informative post!

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  8. Reblogged this on unlocktheteacher and commented:
    A good reflective read for teachers, administrators…and parents too!

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  17. patbranson says:

    Thanks. A timely post. Will share with our Yr 7 teachers.

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  28. Greg Hughes says:

    Brilliant as usual, Dan – very close to how I think it’s been for our iPad-enabled sixth formers the last few weeks.

    It has also made them a lot more organised, especially some of the statement ed students who have been incredibly positive!

  29. I re read this entry with interest. I would be keen to see here an account of a similar format produced by your student themselves, using the technology they have at their fingertips. If technology supports learning, where are they at with understanding their own process of learning and its development? Your blog would be enhanced further by showcasing student voice as it would no doubt support your argument.

    • Thank you for commenting. I should point out that this isn’t a serious commentary on a real day for a student. It is intended to highlight options for a student for learning. It certainly isn’t an argument for or against anything. As a tool, the iPad can enhance learning just like a textbook or colouring pencils. There are certain tasks it supports and others it doesn’t.

      • I read it just as that Daniel 🙂 I was just thinking I would be interested to read a student’s perspective and how/if the technology makes a difference to his/her learning in her/his own eyes, comparing it with other experiences s/he may have over the course of a day. After all if the student can highlight themselves and make sense of all the options they have at your school for learning, then you are indeed onto a good thing! Thank you for reading.

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  35. I enjoyed reading this post and look forward to using some of the apps mentioned in your post. I may even have my staff read this at our first staff meeting of the year to get the technology conversation going! I like to be able to see what teachers are doing with their iPads in the classroom. I have a small group of 7 iPads that I integrate in my daily teaching. I teach Grade 2 in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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