Unit 1: Features and Functions of an iPad

Return to: ETAP 623 Fall 2017 Section 5420 | Integrating iPads into the K-5 Classroom

GIF 1: iPad Front Screen and Back Cover

Unit 1 Overview

Before we begin this technology using process we must go over the primary functions/features of an iPad. An iPad is a tool that will enable you to receive and communicate information that will further enable you to become creative individuals, critical thinkers, communicators and collaborators. The ultimate goal of iPads is to increase productivity within the classroom through effective teaching strategies, such as educational applications, or utilizing teaching resources to enhance the learning experiences. You are probably wondering, "why iPads?" and "why integrate them into my classroom?", as technology advances it is essential to keep in mind the skills elementary school aged-children need in order to be life-long learners. The importance of technology integration within the classroom setting stems from what Maloy et al. (2017) concluded about this generation of learners, "Today's students, born after 2004, are members of a population cohort sometimes called "post-millennials," "Generation Z," "2Ks," "Screeners," or, more simply, an iGeneration" (p.11) iGeneration can be defined as, "students growing up using digital technology in all parts of their lives" (Maloy et al, 2017, p. 321). Lastly, you may consider the following quote as the driving force to this course:

"As a future teacher, the more informed you are about how iGeneration students are using technology, the better you will be able to understand their backgrounds, their learning needs, and the types of educational approaches you can implement to successfully teach them" (Maloy et al, 2017, p.11).

To begin each unit, we reflect on what we know prior to engaging with the course content.

Pre-Unit Activity 1

Take a moment to think about your previous experiences with iPads, what features or functions are you aware of? Have you utilized iPads to accommodate learners in your classroom? If so, please take a moment to elaborate.


  • Learners will be able to recall and identify the basic features/functions of an iPad.
  • Learners will be able to utilize the features of an iPad to accommodate student needs.

Lesson 1: iPad Features/Functions

Physical Items/Buttons

Figure 1 -Physical Features of the iPad

Figure 1 shows the physical items and buttons that are on the exterior parts (front screen and back cover) of an iPad.

  1. Home Button: The Home button is used to take you to the Home screen of your iPad. The Home button will can also be used as a method of unlocking your iPad, accessing Siri, and returning to the Home screen.
  2. Front Camera: The Front Camera is used to take photographs and record videos. Additionally, the Front Camera can be used during a FaceTime video call.
  3. Sleep/Wake Button: The Sleep/Wake Button has several features. This includes to wake the iPad up, lock the iPad, or unlock the iPad.
  4. Back Camera: Much like the Front Camera, the Back Camera is used to take photographs and record videos. Additionally, the back camera can be used during a FaceTime video call.
  5. USB Power Adapter (New Models- Lightning Connector): The USB Power Adapter port may also be referred to as the Lightning Connector for newer iPad devices. This feature is to charge or connect iPads to different devices (Computers/Laptops, SMART Boards, etc.)
  6. Microphone & Headphone Jack: Newer models of the iPad no longer have a Microphone/Headphone Jack, instead, you need a Lightning Connector to utilize audio through headphones. However, older models have this port for users to plug headphones/microphones.

iPad Home Screen Features

Figure 2 -iPad Home Screen Features
  1. App Icons: There are application icons that are used to distinguish between different applications installed on the iPad, beneath each icon is the title of the application or the title of the folder of icons.
  2. Control Center: The control center is a quick way to access some of the basic features on the home screen. By flicking the iPad from the bottom of the screen upward (in a vertical motion) users are given access to the screen Brightness, Audio Control (volume, pause, play, and song selection), Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do-Not Disturb, Locking the Screen Rotation, Camera, Calculator, and Timer.
  3. Dock: The dock is located at the bottom of the Home Screen and can hold up to 4 applications at a time. iPad users may select what applications are shown by pressing the icon and dragging it onto/off of the Dock.
  4. Multi-Touch Screen:  iPads are designed to be touch screen activated. Meaning, different finger motions activate different features and can be altered for the specific needs of your students. More information on the touch screen features can be found under the finger motion settings.
  5. Search: The Search Bar is access by flicking the Home Screen to the right until the Search Bar is loaded. From here, iPad users can search for information stored on the iPad.
  6. Status Bar: The status bar is located on the top of the front screen. There are several different icons that may appear this includes, Wi-Fi, Airplane Mode, Lock, Alarm, Bluetooth, Do-Not Disturb, Battery Life, etc. For a complete list and explanation of the vast number of icon features please visit http://help.apple.com/ipad/10/#/iPad9940e50c.

Finger Motions

Figure 3 - Finger Gestures retrieved from: http://www.ecomputerz.com/ipad-manual.html

iPads use touch settings to perform a vast number of unique features, Figure 3 shows these Finger Motions/Gestures. iPad Finger Gestures taken from Harrison (2017) as shown above:

  1. Tap: Briefly touch surface with fingertip.
  2. Double Tap: Rapidly touch surface twice with fingertip.
  3. Drag: Move fingertip over surface without losing contact.
  4. Flick: Quickly brush surface with fingertip.
  5. Pinch: Touch surface with two fingers and bring them closer.
  6. Spread: Touch surface with two fingers and move them apart.
  7. Press: Touch surface for extended period of time.
  8. Press and Tap: Press surface with one finger and briefly touch surface with second finger.
  9. Press and Drag: Press surface with one finger and move second finger over surface without losing contact.
  10. Rotate: Touch surface with two dingers and move them in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Lesson 2: Accommodating Learners

Accessibility Features

The accessibility features on an iPad were designed to support the needs of individuals who access (hence, accessibility) iPads regularly. When designing instruction, it is critical to understand the diverse needs of your students in order to provide additional support tools and resources for him/her. Renkman (2015) concluded the most useful accessibility features on the iPad include, “speak screen/selection, support for braille display, assistive touch, subtitles and closed captions, and guided access” (p.1). For those of you unsure of where to access these features and their purpose, do not worry this information can be found below. I strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with these features seeing as you may find yourself needing to utilize these tools throughout the length of any school year.

Each year, Apple updates its technology devices and the features that are included with these products. In late 2016, iOS 10 was released along with its new features. Nations (2016) addresses the accessibility features/functions released last year. With the information you learn from Nations (2016) article, you are then required to watch the 5 minute YouTube video that focuses on some of the newly added features for iOS 11.

Read: https://www.lifewire.com/ipad-accessibility-guide-1994516

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grW8Kuy0gpI

Learning Activities

There are three learning activities you must complete prior to moving onto Unit 2. These activities include:

  1. Pre-Unit Activity: Reflect on your understanding and previous experiences with iPads prior to the beginning of the unit via Google Slides.
  2. Post-Unit Activity: Reflect on what you have learned about throughout the Unit, while paying close attention to whether or not your perception/understanding of iPads changed from the pre-unit activity via Google Slides.
  3. iOS 10 compared to iOS 11: Learners will watch a four and a half minute YouTube video on the newly updated iOS 11 accessibility features and compare/contrast the features to what was available in iOS 10. For this activity, be sure to construct your findings in a two paragraph response. Your first paragraphs should focus on the similarities between iOS 10 and iOS 11, and your second paragraph focuses on the differences between the two.

Where do I go from here?

If you have completed reading all of the information for Unit 1, responded to the pre-unit activity post, responded to the post-unity activity post, and have uploaded your two paragraph response you have just finished Unit 1!

You are now ready for what information is presented in Unit 2: Increasing Productivity !

References and Resources

Scholarly Articles/Resources

Digital Images/Videos