The iPad “Can Dos” Students Have Developed Over 8 Weeks of iPad Driven Lessons

Our students have 20 hours of English per week. In weeks 7 & 8 they took a progress exam which tested the fours skills, grammar and vocabulary. As yet, there is no part of our assessment which evaluates their up take of digital literacies. Wikipedia defines digital literacy as ” the ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies…. Digital information is a symbolic representation of data, and literacy refers to the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently, and think critically about the written word.” ( retrieved 3.11.2012). I personally do not have a clear idea in my mind of the digital literacy learning outcomes I am trying to promote. As an institution we need to work on a taxonomy of these and incorporate them into assessment criteria, as a substantial part of our classroom time is being taken up developing iPad skills. So in the interim I have compiled a list of iPad Can Do Statements that iPad based workflows require my students to perform, and that I have observed them carry out. I have not given this list to students to fill in, as the terminology would be a barrier to its completion. Hence, the list has been compiled from field notes, impressions of the classroom and an analysis of learning outcomes. Field notes were  based on an iPad Orientation Checklist created by Tony Priest, Andrew Blackmore, Sheila Andon and Peter Waters.

Students can or are developing the ability to:

Core Processes

Navigate between iPad panes including the home screen, additional panes and the search page left of the homescreen

Turn the iPad off completely and put it into sleep mode

Use iPad switches to control volume and luminosity

Set up auto-lock

Set a screen saver and background which personalizes the iPad

Use multitasking finger gestures to operate the iPad effectively

Split the keyboard and add or delete multi- language keyboards

Use the home screen dock and navigation bar to move between a number of Apps

Turn on and use Location Services and find my iPad

Use Accessibility to alter font size on built in Apps such as Notes, to make work visible to a group of people

Project onto Apple TV using mirroring

Print using air print


Set up an email account

Move between a number of email accounts

Specify which email account they wish to send a document from using the ‘from’ tab

Use the search bar to locate specific emails quickly

Create VIPs to be alerted to important sources of information

Email from a variety of Apps such as Creative Book Builder, iMovies

Delete emails

App Store/Itunes

Set up an iTunes account and use Apple ID to acquire Apps

Delete Apps

Use the spotlight search to find Apps quickly

Manage passwords by saving them in a table or by taking screen shots on which passwords are written in Skitch

iCloud/ File Share

Set up iFiles and eBackpack

Download files from  iFiles and eBackpack

Set up a WebDAV connection between eBackpack and various Apps to enable files to be uploaded to eBackpack

Navigate the hierarchical folder system on file share platforms


Understand the generic function behind frequently reoccurring iPad symbols. For example, an arrow coming out of a box means move on to another option, + means insert something, a house means home page, a book means bookmark for easy access.

Organize Apps into folders

Use the set Apps including Note, Pages, Keynote, Puppet Pals, Creative Book Builder, Numbers, iMovies, Neu Annotate, Skitch, Spelling City, Quizlet, Audioboo

Decide which App to use depending on the function required e.g. annotate a PDF, write creatively, record

Arrange files into folders within an App

Use word processing functions such as select, cut, copy, paste, change the font, highlight, define, replace etc                                                                                                                                                     

Annotate a PDF document or image using Neu Annotate

Set up and use calendar appointments

Photos and Images

Use the camera  to take photos

Download images from the Web

Use camera roll to insert them into various documents

Save photos or videos into albums

Create slideshows


Create iBooks in Creative Book Builder

Access institutionally made iBooks via email or eBackpack and open them on the correct iBook shelf

Refer to instructional iBooks such as one providing step by step accounts of how to use specific Apps, or carry out specific functions in order to work independently

Refer to course book unit specific iBook dictionaries 



Abilities we have not developed yet

Using tags

Using Explain Everything

Using Popplet

Systematically adding  reminders in a calendar

Co authoring with wikis

On reflection, the students and I have followed a steep     learning curve and it has very much been a joint venture. I was asked if my students saw me differently, now that I am teaching with iPads. My answer was that they must see me as more of a joint learner on our iPad journey. We are very dependent on each other to solve technical glitches and to remember how to do things within certain Apps. As my students also have 6 hours of tuition from another teacher, they have become more expert in the Apps she frequently uses than I have. I believe that this puts us on a positive equal footing. I have a genuine opportunity to model a ‘growth learning mindset’. When I do not succeed I explore alternative ways of approaching the task, ask for help, or look at reference materials. Hence, I am demonstrating the resilience and resourcefulness that my students need when improving both their English and digital literacies.



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