Wednesday, January 1, 2014

7 Ways to Creatively Ask Questions in the Classroom Using iPads!

The Answer Pad

I started using Go Interactive from The Answer Pad last year.  I LOVE it!  What I love most is that I don't have to change the way I teach, alter my curriculum, or jump through hoops to use the technology.  I simply ask questions as I'm teaching and the students reply just like always.  The only difference is instead of having children use their dry erase boards, erasers, and expo markers, we use our iPads.  

Image Credit: The Washington Post
The Pros and Cons of Using Individual Dry Erase Boards:

Receiving feedback during a lesson is important.  One needs to know if the students are understanding the concepts being introduced and discussed.  There are several ways to engage students and receive feedback.  One way to do this is to have students respond on individual dry erase boards.  

Each of my students have their own board, marker, and eraser.  During the beginning of the year, we introduce the items as tools, not toys.  We also have some "sandbox" time to doodle and enjoy using the materials.  As we begin using the items during lessons, we use a structure.  

Our Structure:
  • I ask a question then put my hand to my forehead to model thinking.  I say "think."
  • Students have think time (about 10 seconds). Then I say "write."
  • The class records their thinking.  Eyes meet mine once they've recorded their response.
  • I say "show" and students simultaneously raise their boards.  
We use a structure for several reasons.  One reason is to avoid boards popping up to display answers before everyone is ready to reply.  Of course, children can still see their friend's responses if they try hard enough.  The system is not perfect.

I enjoy using dry erase board in class because they offer a quick way for me to obtain feedback from my students.  They also allow for a space for students to jot notes as they're thinking without wasting paper.  Students sometimes take more risks when they feel their attempts aren't as permanent.  

One downside of using the dry erase boards is the time it sometimes takes a long time for students to set up problems.  For example, we were working on graphing the other day and it took some children a long time to jot down the graph.  Therefore, some children were finished with their bar graphs before others had began importing the data.  It would have been nice to have been able to click a button and magically have the graph appear on each of their boards.  Then, I would have been able to have the children put in the data to create the bar graph and start answering questions about the most popular and total items graphed.  

Using iPads as "Dry Erase Boards" BUT with Pre-Created Templates

- saves time so we can focus on the content - 

Teachers can quickly change out templates for students to submit responses… with one click!
As each student clicks "submit," their answers automatically begin to appear on the Teacher Dashboard (as seen below).  Now, at quick glance, teachers can privately assess their student's understanding.  

Teachers can make the thumbnail images larger or smaller simply by clicking the x, 2x, or 3x in the upper right hand corner.  Some may like to see more students at once; while others may like to enlarge the thumbnails to have a closer look at student responses.  

With The Answer Pad's free app, TapIt Free, my students are able to answer questions using templates I push out to their iPads.  Love.  Love.  Love.  

The Template Gallery is Filled with Goodies

No worries… you don't have to reinvent the wheel… once you login, there are so many wonderful templates you can use.  If you notice the question types in the image above on the left hand side (multiple choice, true/false, yes/no, up/down, fill in, and slider), you will also see the "template gallery."  You just have to simply click the template gallery to view the options.  Below are a few of my favorites…

It is Easy Peasy to Get Started

Warning: You are about to have tons of fun playing around and planning future lessons!

To get started, you need to know two things.

  1. Teachers use The Answer Pad from their computer OR the Internet (Safari) on their iPads.
  2. Students use The Answer Pad from the TapIt Free app or a web browser.
*In other words, teachers can't sign in through the app.  The app is for easy student use.

Tip: Don't let yourself get confused with the lingo.  The Answer Pad is the company that launched the app, TapIt Free.  This process of interacting live is referred to as "Go Interactive."  

Step 1 - Set Up a Free Account:
I recommend doing this from a desktop/laptop.

a.  Fill out your account information - click here.  

b.  Check your email to activate your account.

Step 2 - Set Up a Group:
a.  Click "set up a group."

b.  Click "create a group."

c.  Give your group a name.  
Hint: Make it SIMPLE.  This is what your students will enter each time they login.  For example, my group name is all lowercase.  It is my last name (no Mrs.).  klein
Select your grade level.

d.  Click your group name.  It is now a hyperlink.

e.  Enter your students.  
Hint: Older students can self register.
For younger students, I entered their information and assigned a username and password.  My students have very simple usernames and passwords.  It is important for them to remember their information.  I also need to be able to know their usernames and passwords.  So, I make this part very easy for myself.

f.  Click "home" at the top right (after your students are entered).

Step 3 - Try it Out:
You are all set!  Now, give it a try.  Here is how I play around with it to learn and get more familiar with how to use the program.  

g.  Grab your iPad.    Download the TapIt Free App.  Click here for iTunes.  

h.  Open the app on your iPad.  You are about to play the role of a student (and a teacher).
Teacher: (you) from your browser on your computer, click the green "go interactive" button and select the group name you just set up.  You will see the student thumbnail images pop up with the question sets on the left.
Student: (you) from your iPad, enter that group name and a student's user/pass.  You will now see a blue shaded box to the bottom left titled "Go Interactive."  Click it.  Then select that class group name. Now, you are waiting for your teacher to push out a question.  
Teacher: (you) To make this first try easy, select the up/down question.  Click the circle bubble next to the words up/down.  Scroll down and select "send out."  This pushes the question to the student iPads.  
Student: (you) Look at your iPad.  You should see a green thumbs up and a red thumbs down.  Pick one.  Then click submit.  
Teacher: (you) You should see the student's reply generated on your teacher dashboard.  Fun, right?  Now, pick the multiple choice question.  Scroll down and select "send out."  
Student: (you) Select an answer and click submit.
Teacher: (you) Play around with the different types of questions.  Then, explore the template gallery.  

Other Cool Features

Upload your own images:
Users can upload their own images to the template gallery.  If there is something specific you're working on in class that your students are familiar with, you can simply add it to be a part of your gallery.  Just save the document as an image (hint: I take a screen shot - PC users just click "print screen" and paste it in Paint to save - MAC users just click command, shift, 4 at the same time to snap a screen shot).  Import that image into the template gallery.  

Train directly from the site:
The Answer Pad website has TONS of resources to help you learn.  Please click here to access the full archive of video tutorials.  

Paperless Classroom and Assessments:
The program is simple to use but robust in features.  I'm so excited about using the question features Go Interactive that I haven't explored the assessment features too much.  Additionally, I am not 1:1 iPad.  So, I'm primarily using this in small group settings right now.  I WISH I was 1:1 so that I could really benefit from the features of The Answer Pad.  I do know that many 1:1 classrooms have transitioned into a fully paperless classroom with the help of Go Interactive.  Teachers can set up answer sheets and have students take their assessments within the app.  The system scores the assessment for the teacher. 

As students are taking the assessment, they can view the PDF of the assessment within the app.  Students can drag the PDF anywhere on the iPad and pinch to zoom in or out in order to alter the size of the document.   

Alter your Templates before Pushing them Out:
Teachers can now write on the templates or add an interaction (question type: mc, t/f, slider, etc…)

For example, in the template gallery, I can select the free map template of the continents.  I can click "modify" to add text or drawing (like my circle) to the background/template.  Then, I can click "add interaction" to insert a question type like multiple choice, fill in the blank, thumbs up or down, or the slider option like I have shown above.  Then, I select "ready to send."  Once I'm directed back to the teacher dashboard, I simply click "send out" for my students to see this image appear on their devices.  I can ask an opinionated question to have students offer how much they agree or disagree by sliding the slider towards the red/yellow/green sides.  

Connect with The Answer Pad

Visit The Answer Pad Website

Set Up an Account with The Answer Pad

Check out a Free Webinar to Learn More

See what others are saying about The Answer Pad

Think about Upgrading to Access More Features

Follow and Interact with Them on Twitter

Disclosure: The Answer Pad is a sponsor of Kleinspiration.  The views in this post are my own.  


  1. This looks awesome. I have been looking for something like this to use in our 1:1 ipad classroom. So excited you shared this post!!:)

    1. I'm so glad you like this!! I think you'll love how easy it is to use once you get started. It is pretty fun. I like all the creative options.

      Happy New Year,


  2. Thank you for sharing this!!! I can't wait to try it out…how neat!
    The Techie Teacher

    1. Hi Julie,

      Yay!! This makes me happy. I'm glad you found a useful tool.



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  4. I'm similarly enjoying using TheAnswerPad, though we're using a laptop + tablet combo since we don't have iPads: