iPads have revolutionized my teaching!

Hanna Fontell has been a special teacher for decades. Read how iPads has revolutionized her teaching in few years time and what kind of projects her class is doing.

TeacherHanna Fontell



School levelSecondary school


For example, we have created our own books to study the English language. My students require a lot of repetition when learning the English language. Here is an example of one of our English study books. We have used Papunet image bank (http://papunet.net/materiaalia/kuvapankki). Students have added different pictures from the databank and then inserted a title for each picture both in Finnish and in English. This type of exercise is easy for the students to create and use. A student can mix all written words and then practice by combining each picture with the corresponding word. This diversifies the method of study: first the students create the materials themselves and then they use it as many times as they wish. There is a lot of repetition and more learning takes place compared to the traditional study with printed study materials. Technology itself is not the solution, but in my experience it motivates the student and makes studying more interesting. iPads are portable and easy to take anywhere which is a huge advantage. We started a garden project in our school yard a year ago and since that we have planted many plants and followed them grow throughout the year. We have taken pictures of our school garden and made various quizzes (similar to Kahoot) of different plants. Pupils also sometimes use their mobile phones instead of iPads, taking advantage of all mobile devices in a creative way. As an example, in geography our starting point was a customised approach to this subject. This means that student’s own important life experiences are in the centre of learning. Every student received a map and at home, together with the parents they explored places that were important in their life, cities they had visited themselves, cities where their parents were born in, grandparents were living in etc. Using iPad and Book Creator, every student created their own presentation and presented it to the whole class. This way the student was able to share their knowledge and practice their social and presentation skills, and not only their cognitive skills. One recent project we have been working on is our own movie production. The movie will be filmed and edited using iPad. Students themselves have created a script in PowerPoint, so we use traditional PCs as well. The script is very detailed and it includes all the scenes and actors involved. Through this work we have learned how to make films and what kind of process it is. The theme of the film is bulling at school and it was suggested by my own students. I find the concept of the film very touching. The students had so many ideas, so many things they wanted to express through their movie. This illustrates my new teaching style very well: I pick up many ideas and thoughts from my students and then we discuss together what is essential and important and what we wish to communicate through our work. I have described how we have created our own materials using iPads. In addition to this, there are many apps that can be used in teaching, for example to teach the Finnish language and mathematics. With these apps one can study at their own pace, practice more if needed and be rewarded for the work. While I see the value of using these apps, as a teacher I am currently very enthusiastic about the concept of customized learning and creating our own study materials. I see two dimensions of learning being of importance: the usage of established, traditional materials and the creation of innovative, customized materials.


I see a huge difference in teaching and learning practices when using iPads. Personally, I could even say that iPads have revolutionized my teaching! Every pupil in my class now has their own iPad and it has changed the way we study. We explore things together and create our own study guides. Traditional study books are still being used but mainly as supporting materials. The emphasis is on creating and customising study materials ourselves and students learn through that process.


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