How to Source 25 iPads with No Money

iPad B and W

This week l began using iPads in my English for Academic Purposes (EAP) ESL reading and writing class; we’ll have them for the next seven weeks. My intention is to reflect here on my blog about what we’re doing and what’s working/isn’t working.

Some Bonuses

Most of the students know me, so they’ve been exposed to my techie enthusiasm and had to deal with it. They’ve dealt with it. Period.

I have access to an ID support staff member for iPad reimaging and technical issues.

I got around the “no extra funds” issue by buying some styluses with petty cash funds.

The variety of free iPad apps is super.

How I use the iPads is up to me. No conditions except a debriefing afterwards.

The librarian doesn’t have to come during a mutually-agreeable scheduled lab to deliver her “Using the Library Database” workshop. Sweet!

The Purposes               

To provide an EAP advanced reading and writing class access to iPads, used for collaborative writing, reading, and vocabulary activities

To see if using technology (a personal device) influences student motivation to do things they don’t usually enjoy doing

To observe whether edtech provides learners with the ability to manage linguistically challenging material successfully, with some teacher guidance

The Objectives

  • incorporate iPad use in the classroom to enhance classroom learning
  • replace some of the need for textbooks by using online sources for reading
  • offer alternatives to paper-based writing tasks
  • provide collaborative spaces for students to read, write, and share research synchronously and asynchronously
  • foster motivation in learning by employing iPads
  • develop research methods through the use of iPads for essay writing
  • use sketchnote apps to annotate and illustrate reading texts (this will be a blog entry on its own)
  • empower students by showing them how to develop their own study tools through iPad apps.

The Apps

The Google Drive “suite”


  • gFLash+
  • Flashcards
  • TOEIC vocabulary
  • Dictionary


  • Paper 53
  • iSketchnote
  • Notepad+

Test Prep

  • TOEIC Vocabulary
  • IELTS Skills


  • Nearpod
  • Socrative


  • Nearpod

Collaborative Writing

  • Zoho Writer
  • Evernote
  • Edmodo


  • EssayBuilder
  • RefMe


  • Padlet
  • Popplet
  • Simplenote
  • SimpleMind+
  • Stickyboard
  • OneNote

Good-to-haves in Anna’s Class

  • ThingLink
  • NPR News
  • EnGrammar
  • Poll Everywhere
  • Pocket
  • Voice Record
  • Twitter
  • Skype
  • Audiobooks
  • Oxford Books
  • Kindle

I’ve given the class a pre-project survey and plan to check in with them once midway and again at the end to get some anonymous feedback.

One sad note: these iPads have been sitting untouched, in plain sight, for six months before today. No one else asked to use them. I have decided to think of this positively and put it out there as a message of encouragement for teachers; there are opportunities lurking to use mobile devices and technology in educational institutions even when there is no money for additional funding. All that is necessary is a set of observant eyes and the right question:

“Can I use these in my class?”

Stay tuned as I report back periodically about my experiences.


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