What Device Should Your Students Use?



I'll never forget it. A student was rushing home from school, and he couldn't make it to my lesson in time, so the mom used the cell phone to have the lesson in the car. Yes, the cell phone. It didn't take me long to figure out that this was not the best device for the student to use. Did we get part of the lesson completed? Yes. Was it successful? That would be no. 😔


I often get asked in coaching calls, "What device should my student use?" So, this week, I'm sharing the pros and cons of working with a laptop verses an iPad.


Most of my students use an iPad when I work with them online, and here are the reasons why.


Why Students Should Use An iPad



  1. The number one reason is that it provides students a touchscreen which allows them to mark up a new anything that I am sharing under the document camera or if I pop onto a website for a decodable. Though I keep my lessons low tech, the marking-up tools allow for elevated engagement, and they are easy to find on the iPad.

  2. The second reason my students use an iPad is that it's most likely that there's an iPad in their house somewhere. If a student is using a Chrome book for their schoolwork, I'll ask parents if they have an iPad to switch to for online work. There are many restrictions on the Chrome book. For example, when working in Zoom, the Chrome book doesn't allow for any use of marking-up tools.



Reasons You Might Not Want to Use an iPad


  1. If you are intending to use the remote-control feature, it can be really tricky for the students to access and use the remote control on the iPad. I don't use the remote control or share it. If you want to get more tips about this, join a small group coaching class or a one-on-one. Here's the link, or join the wait list for a Saturday morning group coaching.

  2. The iPad is really easy to switch to FaceTime. If technology starts to not cooperate and not be our friend, because a lot of my lesson is in video, we can switch to FaceTime and have the same kind of lesson.

  3. It makes it really difficult sometimes for the student to share their work. This is really dependent on which case the student has on their iPad. What I have found, though, is that students are really quick to figure out how to work the camera in the iPad, and they will learn quickly how to show you their work just like they would on a laptop.

Pros to Working with a Laptop



  1. If you are going to share the remote control, it's a lot easier with a laptop. For some reason, the remote control is easily accessible on a laptop much easier than the iPad. So, if you are planning a lesson where you need to share remote control access, this might be a better tool for the students to use.

  2. The number one reason you might want to have a student on a laptop is that it's really easy for them to share their work. All they have to do is bend down the screen that's on a hinge device, and they will be able to share their work with you. So, let's say you're doing a Dictation lesson and you want to see their writing and their work, it's really easy for them to bend down and show you it verses in an iPad where it's not on a hinge and some kids might find it difficult to share their video.


One con of working on the laptop is that you lose the touchscreen ability unless you're working with a device like a surface pro. With a laptop, a student is going to have to manipulate the mouse 🖱 to do any writing or marking up. This can be really difficult for some students, which is why you might want to suggest the iPad.


Have a Meeting with Yourself


Whatever device your students use, my number one tip for you is to have a meeting with yourself. 🤷🏻‍♀️ What does that mean?


Set up the devices, or if you can't find a device like an iPad, definitely get online with a friend so you can really know what a student experiences. It also helps you to be able to guide a student towards working successfully on the device.


I'm also sharing a FREE "Collect the Apples" 🍎 word card activity/game with you this week. Grab yours HERE!


Get a guide to all my favorites for teaching reading and spelling the low-tech way by clicking HERE.


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