The best iPad accessories for the the classroom must be versatile, stand up to kid hands and abuse, and be cheap since you will most likely be buying more than one. Here are some of my time-tested go-to iPad accessories for the elementary classroom.
This post contains a few affiliate links, which means that if you click on some of the links included, I will receive compensation. Although this post is sponsored, all of the thoughts are my own and I do indeed own and use each of the linked products.
Now that I have had access to an iPad or classroom set of iPads for several years, I have a good sense of what works and what does not work for my 3rd graders. I have learned a lot about flexibility and planning and made several mistakes along the way. In addition to trying hundreds of apps, I have also used a variety of products and iPad accessories made for just the iPad – cases, cleaners, headphones, cords, chargers, stylus types, stands, etc.
This is a list of my must-have iPad accessories for classroom use.
There are many stands and cases-that-are-also-stands, but these are inexpensive (only $1.99), stack-able, lightweight, and work with both horizontal and vertical orientation. The white matches any classroom decor, which is a plus too. I keep a stack of 10 on our iPad cart and I have few stashed around our house too.
The lip is deep enough for my Otterbox case and my iPad stays put in the stand regardless of which way I have my iPad orientated. If you are a regularly reader of this blog, you will recognize the stand in many of my pictures. So I guess it is photogenic too!
This is a must-have item for any elementary classroom with iPads. By plugging this into the audiojack of the iPad, you can now insert up to 5 headphone jacks into 1 iPad. This was essential when I had just one iPad, but we use this all the time with our class set too if students are watching a video together or listening to a story in small groups.
During our math rotations, I always leave one iPad with the splitter on the back table and a bunch of QR codes linking to reteaching videos on Khan Academy, YouTube, and IXLMath. Small groups of students can link up and watch a video together. My students began calling these “spiders,” which makes it even more awesome I think.
I love my students, but wow are their hands coated with grime! I probably always knew this and that was why we made sure to ask for plenty of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer on our school supply list, but now I have seen it smeared all across the iPad screen. I remember reading that old-timey actresses would ask the director to smear vaseline all over the lens to soften it and make them look younger – really they should have asked children to wipe their index finger across the lens for the same effect.
Anyway, once I realized that wiping them on the inside of my shirt 800 times a day was nasty and ineffective, I looked for various cleaning products for the iPad screen. These cloths are cute, work well, and are washable. Plus, my students were able to use them on their own to clean the screen without me worrying about them damaging it.
At roughly $50, these are not the cheapest keyboards you will find, but if you have any money in your school budget for these, I do recommend a plug-in-play keyboard over the cheap wireless ones for two huge reasons. One, you never have to worry about batteries and two, there is absolutely no set-up.
I know technically a blue tooth keyboard only needs to be set once, but I have nightmares of syncing 24 keyboards multiple times a day. Using a standard keyboard will also help your students practicing typing skills. We have 10 of these on our cart that we use on an “as-needed” basis.
Some of my students prefer to do all of their typing via these keyboards so I can attest that they work across many apps and are structurally sound. And I have to type it once more because NO batteries!
Another Ikea favorite that I have at school and home, this patterned lapdesk is perfect for students who want to work on the ground (or teachers who want to work on their couch!). The bean bag part is comfortable and the top “desk” has plenty of room for the iPad and keyboard if needed or other work.
If you have an iPad cart with a dock, this item may not be necessary, but those of you in a BYOD school will definitely want to consider having a small USB charging station ready in case students need to plug in. I own both the Bolse and Sabrent station (pictured above) and both work as advertised.
I like the Sabrent station for school use because it allows more devices to link up and the top-down USB plug-in is easier to do although can get tangled if you are not careful. Even though we have a cart, I still use one of these at school for my devices since I am often using a Smartphone, 2 iPads, and some students may bring Kindles from home.
Since outlets are scarce in my classroom it has been helpful having a second dock when needed. Both chargers do fill your devices faster than just plugging them into the wall too.
What are your can’t-teach-without-them iPad accessories? Unlike me, do you shop at other places besides Amazon and Ikea? Share below!
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