The 4 Apps Needed To Run A One iPad Classroom

If you don’t have the luxury of a 1:1 classroom or even a 10:1 classroom then you might want to sit down. I have some seriously shocking news that you might not be adequately ready to hear. Ready? Sitting? Here goes: you only need one iPad to have an effective connected classroom.

Wait, that wasn’t even the big one. Here it is:

You only need four apps to run a one iPad classroom. Boom!

The idea is simple. Just use Explain Everything, YouTube, Evernote, and Penultimate. Seriously. That’s all you need. Granted, you can download other apps and install them to your heart’s content. In fact, I’d recommend that. But as the basics of a one iPad classroom go, these four apps are going to be your most important download. Don’t believe me? Check out the awesome chart and visual guide from iPad 4 Schools below. It details how you can share videos and student folders using a single iPad. Personally, I’d say that Evernote is the keystone to this four app game plan. Make sure you’re familiar with it and know how to use all of the many features.

one ipad classroom


As you can see, it’s quite easy to integrate these apps into one cohesive flow. You can start with Explain Everything to create a recordable whiteboard, then move onto creating a YouTube account for your classroom to store all of your recordings. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you build up an entire library of recorded whiteboarding sessions that are perfect for students reviewing for a test or perhaps the next year’s class.

Next, start getting familiar with your newest friend, Evernote. It lets you save and record just about anything. That means all your students’ notes and thoughts can be organized and kept on the iPad. That’s because you can use Evernote just about anywhere and don’t need to hand around the single iPad to take advantage of all Evernote has to offer. After you start using Evernote, I’d recommend working in Penultimate. Students can now create sketchpads that they can store in your classroom Evernote account. Great resources to go alongside your Explain Everything recordings!


  1. Klaus Lankalu

    November 28, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Very good thought provoker.

  2. Evan Worth

    December 2, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I guess I wonder how 1 ipad works when you have 25 kids. Do you just pass it around?

  3. Kaitlin

    December 4, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I’m with Evan – I have 93 students, so I’m wondering how one iPad can still be advantageous, even with the versatility of these apps. Are these apps available on laptops/desktops as well, so that students can access them from home? What’s the vision for using these with multiple students?

    Or am I completely missing the point, and you’re saying it’s a great teacher tool for presenting information?

  4. Mark

    December 6, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    The article seems to address how to set up a nice workflow, but NOT how to deal with having only 1 iPad in a classroom.

    Additional problem: many districts block YouTube.

    • Miguel

      January 8, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      A bit late to the party, but to your comments:

      There are many workflow, organization, productivity, classroom management, engagement, etc. apps that became a nice part of my classroom and saved me a lot of time (see:, but at the heart of it all there still needs to be a passionate person at the front of the room who knows what they’re talking about!

      If any of you have questions about how I used specific apps in the classroom, feel free to reply.

  5. E velyn

    January 8, 2014 at 8:37 am

    How do your students use Penultimate if they don’t have access to the one and only Ipad? I’m afraid this article wasn’t very helpful to me. I would like to see more on how exactly the 4 apps are used by the teacher and the students.