The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Teaching & Learning with iPads in Middle School

This year we have seen the progression of iPads with Apple Pencil support into Year 6 of the Middle School. This has provided our students and teachers with many new opportunities to explore their teaching and their learning and we highlight some of these here through the lens of Mathematics.

The device is coupled with an Apple Pencil allowing much more organic recording and creation, which has not been previously possible with the laptop.  The portability, the speed and ease to capture video or images along with the plethora of apps all enhance and extend the experience. Add in the synchronisation capabilities of Office 365 and other apps and we have an ideal platform for the students and teachers to build upon.

The teachers set up OneNote Class Notebooks for their classes and this provides increased access to classwork, from both the teacher and the students.  Instead of working through the sample exercises directly on the whiteboard, the teacher uses a digital space in the Class Notebook to complete the class demonstration.  There are a couple of opportunities through this method; first, this decouples the teacher from the front of the room and allows free movement around the class, and second, all the exemplar exercises that normally get rubbed off the board at the end of the lesson are captured live into the Class Notebook that can be reviewed and accessed by the students at a later date.

Students create directly in OneNote capturing their work, written or typed, including images and videos of their manipulatables or real-world constructions.  Teachers can review this work without needing to collect books or worry about boys forgetting to bring their work and homework to or from home.  The homework sheet cannot be lost or eaten by the dog.  Mathspace is being used as a key maths practice tool in the Middle School.  The iPad and Apple Pencil increase the usability and effectiveness of Mathspace by enabling the natural writing of the steps to the solution directly rather than trying to use a keyboard and mouse. The continued development of Mathspace means we are going to see this experience improve.

A simulation app called PhET allows a way to visualise and experiment with factors, multiplication and division. By providing multiple ways to investigate and work with concepts, both through physical manipulation, numbers and sums and simulations, the teachers consolidate and challenge the students' understandings. We are finding the boys, by using other simulations in PhET, are encouraged to explore concepts that are yet to be covered in class.  Another app that extends the boys understanding is Isometric Paper.  This app supports isometric drawings and has been used to explore volume. By keeping the lines constrained the app allows all students to successfully draw shapes in isometric view and provides the opportunity for extension and creativity.


Mr Jared Faint
Curriculum Administrator & ILT Integration Specialist