8 iPad Camera Integration Ideas for 1:1 Classrooms

Many schools are jumping on the iPad bandwagon and the devices are becoming increasingly present in classrooms everywhere. Of course, every  1:1 implementation requires planning and professional development to help educators understand the benefits of use, as well as the limitations of the device. Even if these critical components are included in an iPad rollout, it’s fairly safe to say that some teachers might still feel a bit of angst when the devices actually arrive and they are faced with the reality of using them for teaching and learning.

Without a focus on changing instruction, I fear the devices could become substitutes for drill and practice or they could turn an active classroom into a place where students primarily receive instruction from a computer guided learning system to keep them focused and quiet. While I recognize the great benefits offered by these types of learning systems when used as one component of a blended learning model, I  am certain that they are no replacement for a teacher who can provide students with the opportunity to create.

My advice for teachers who are a bit nervous about a 1:1 iPad implementation is to find your comfort zone and strive to find ways to use the camera on the device to Teach Above the Line, a goal suggested by the SAMR model of tech integration, designed by Dr. Reuban Puentedura. Since I’ve embraced this model, the suggestions here are aligned loosely with the SAMR framework to provide a starting point for teachers at all comfort levels.


iPad Camera Integration Ideas at the Substitution Level

The camera on the iPad is probably the most comfortable and powerful feature available on the device. An iPad camera in the hands of students allows them to capture learning as it happens and document it through self expression, make connections and reflect.
Here are a few ways to get started.

Pics Collage 

Use this free and super simple app to add photos from the photo library to a canvas. Manipulate photos  with a pinch and arrange them on the canvas to create a collage. Write captions and share.


Students can take pictures and add them to this online collaborative bulletin board without logging in. Just double click to add a note with a thought or reflection and upload a photo from the photo library. There is no app for Padlet, but it work very well through Safari on an iPad.

iPad Camera Integration Ideas at the Augmentation Level

Once students get the hang of capturing learning through photos, take advantage of  additional iPad features to augment the learning experience. Use the Blooming Orange poster from, Smart Tudor   as a guide to challenge students to use higher order thinking skills as they demonstrate  learning. Capture a math problem , put together a series of photos to document a science experiment, and let students share and organize the learning through their unique perspective. Here are a couple of tools to get started.


Students can add a photo from the photo library, annotate it with text and finger drawings, then record their voice to explain learning. This free app is very powerful and easy for students to use. To help students organize ideas, add a script writing component to the mix to be completed before recording.


Students can use Popplet to quickly create mind maps to connect ideas about a topic. Challenge them  to assemble a series of photos to demonstrate learning or create a timeline with images and text. Use Popplet for script writing and take advantage of the opportunity to target specific Common Core Standards. The free version of this app only allows students to create and store a few mind maps, so consider taking a snapshot of a completed mind map on the iPad if you want to save it.

iPad Camera Integration Ideas at the Modification Level


Use this free app to create online conversations about any image. Upload a picture and start a discussion through comments. Invite other students and parents to join the conversation through recorded audio or text comments and extend the learning beyond the walls of the classroom. Use the web version to set up a VoiceThread for your students, then they can use the app to add comments and record voice with the click of a button.


Start with a photo. Easily create links to define the photo through multimedia.  Pack the photo full ideas. Create links to amazing sites. Let students explore, share and create with ThingLink. Use the free app to quickly add video or text to a photo. Use the full blown web version through Safari to use all of the features of this amazing tool.

iPad Camera Integration Ideas at the Redefinition Level

iMovie App

The iMovie app includes a  feature that can be used to turn images into an impressive theater style movie trailer that can include music and genre transitions. This feature rich app is easy to use and the product is impressive. Use scripts to guide the planning process and let students tell their digital stories.

Blogging to Put it All Together

When you get to the point at which students are regularly documenting their learning through images and using a wide variety of apps and web 2.0 tools to complete the task, stop and consider the many possibilities for redefining learning experiences. Combine some of the apps mentioned above to present information and ideas in any way imaginable and then publish them for the world in  a blog. At this stage, as a teacher you might need to get out of the way and let students create. Connect with other classrooms through comments and collaboration and showcase the wonderful learning going on in your classroom through a blog.

Final Thoughts

The ideas presented here focus on using photos because I believe the camera provides teachers with a  powerful and comfortable starting point for  1:1 iPad integration. Of course, that iPad camera also has video capabilities and the tools shared here are extremely flexible. It is my hope that teachers will embrace the camera, adopt some of the flexible tools presented here, explore additional ways to use those tools, and strive to Teach Above the Line.

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Robert Schuetz

Terrific post Susan! I just downloaded the update for YouTube Capture; http://goo.gl/XhhdNv Capture looks like it will support the Modification/Redefinition levels nicely. Capture / edit / add music / upload quickly - not as feature-rich as iMovie, but for quick capture and turnaround - powerful. Couple this with YouTube's embedded editing features and BOOM - interactive videos! Here is one of my favorite examples of an interactive YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JztfejhOlk#t=17 Thanks for sharing.

Louise Morgan

Excellent! I just received 10 ipads for my classroom last week so we will be 2:1. The first thing they did was open the camera and started taking "selfies". I am going to start off slowly and work in to the redifinition phase by using augmented reality apps like Aurasma - using a photo as the trigger image and then adding a video "aura". Thanks for the great suggestions!


Hi Susan,
We couldn't agree more. We started this journey three and a half years ago. You might to take a look at our iPad portal? http://ipad.redlands.qld.edu.au/

Reuben Bathgate

Hi Susan,
Thanks for the ideas! I teach at an international school in China so we're well resourced and have had iPads for a few years now. We've just started using Easy Blog Jr with our G2 and below for independent blogging. The app is so simple our 4 year olds are using it by themselves. I teach PE and I use it in every class to share a snapshot of each day's learning, the kids and their families love it - especially those extended family members who are living back in their home countries.


We're super excited to announce that the Padlet Pad app is out! Andoroid version coming soon! Click here to download: https://itunes.apple.com/ph/app/id834618886.

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