Five handy iPad tips to support students

Apple has recently released the free Apple Teacher program. I would like to become an Apple Distinguished Educator at some point, but I’m not yet familiar enough with Apple products. The Apple Teacher program is a perfect introduction. To sign up, click here.

The program offers two options: the iPad course or the Mac course. They each include eight lessons with a quiz at the end of each one. I have so far only done the first lesson of the iPad course, but I have already picked up these handy tips that I didn’t know before. Many of them are useful in my everyday life, but they could also be used in class by you or your students to support learning. The bottom three would be particularly useful for children with individual needs.

Slide Over (available on iPad Air and later, iPad Pro and iPad mini 2 and later)

I had no idea that multitasking on an iPad is so easy! It is possible to view two apps simultaneously. A swipe from the right side of the screen will open the Slide Over view. Another app will be shown in a thin column. In both Slide Over and Split View (below), you can access different apps by swiping downwards from the top of the screen.

Split View (available on iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and iPad mini 4)

With many apps, it is possible to take Slide Over further by sliding the column divider into the centre to enable Split View (as shown in the screenshot above). This is really useful for students during certain learning engagements. It’s often helpful to be able to see two screens at once to make work more efficient and to stop the slow, frustrating process of switching between apps. My students used this feature this week during a research task. They had the internet research on one side and their Google Slides presentation on the other. This made it easy to find, sort, organise, present, paraphrase, etc.

Reader view

Using Safari, it is possible to simplify web pages by removing distracting content and advertisements. This leaves the text in an easy-to-read format, as shown in the image below. The arrow below indicates the icon to look for. If these lines appear next to the web address, it means that Reader View is available. Simply tap the icon to enable this feature and tap it again to turn it off. Furthermore, changes to the background and text can be made whilst in Reader View to make the text even more accessible. I will encourage my students to look for the Reader View icon and use it whenever it is available. This will make the content easier to access and keep students focused on what’s important. Consider how Reader View could support your students, especially the ones with special needs such as dyslexia.

Speak Selection

Using Speak Selection, students can hear text being read by the iPad. When text is highlighted, select ‘Speak’.  This is a fantastic feature, especially for low-ability readers or those with dyslexia. Turn on this feature through Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech. From here, you can also consider more options such as the language, accent and the speed of speech.



Double-tap with three fingers to enable Zoom. This will hover a magnifying window over a particular part of the screen. Slide up and down with those three fingers to zoom further in and out. Tap three times with three fingers to see the options. For example, the size of the Zoom window can be changed. Simply drag the Zoom window around the screen to zoom in on different areas. This feature is perfect for visually impaired students. It could also be used by teachers to focus students’ attention on particular parts of the screen. Enable Zoom through Settings > General > Accessibility.


What other iPad tips help you as an educator? Which others will support students? What are your favourite Apple products? Please leave your thoughts below.


  1. I’ve not tried any of these yet, but I like the sound of them. I can see them being more beneficial in upper years and I have a p2 (year 1) at the moment.
    My favourite thing I learned to do though was guided access. It disables the function of switching apps.
    To set it up, go to settings>accessibility>guided access. You can add a password if you like. To activate it (once set up) you simply click the home button three times. To end, click the home button three times.
    Within guided access you also have the opportunity to draw shapes on the screen to mark over any point you do not want the students to be able to click. Handy for adverts that will take you out of the app, if you want to restrict options in the app or if you want them on a particular webpage (tablet friendly games on sites).
    Hope this helps someone 🙂

    1. Hi Mrs, P,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, I teach upper primary as you can tell! Thank you for mentioning Guided Access. I actually learnt about this a while ago and then totally forgot about it, so thanks for the reminder!



  2. I have tried the text to speech function on Mac, it works in Chinese as well. (Putonghua/ Cantonese) Select the article you want to read and right click “Add to ITunes as Spoken Track”. Choose “Ting Ting-China”/ “Sin Ji- Hong Kong”/ “Mei Jia- Taiwan”. You will then have the audio track in your ITunes. You could use it for flipped classroom. It might benefit the students with reading difficulties/ CAL. 🙂

    1. Hi Steph,

      Thanks for the comment. It is useful to know that similar features are also available on Mac. After the iPad course, I will do the Mac one. Even though you only need to do one course to be an Apple Teacher, it would be useful to learn more about Mac too.

      Thank you also for the tips regarding Chinese and the different dialects. As you said, this will be very useful for our CAL students. It’s very interesting that text can be added to iTunes! I had no idea!

      Thanks again!


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