Creating a Tech Savvy Classroom On A Budget

So, I know what you’re thinking.  Getting funds for 6 iPads is NOT a budget I can handle.  If you’ve read my previous posts, you are aware that my classes received funding through GoFundMe for 6 Apple iPads.  Yes, I understand, 6 iPads may not seem affordable.  I am going to take you through basic steps of how I started my journey toward a 1:1 environment.  Then, I will tell you the CHEAPEST way to get started with Apple technology in the classroom.


Setting up my current classroom:

  • Purchase of a new MacBook Pro
    • I already owned a MacBook Pro that I purchased in 2009.  I called it my dinosaur.  My previous school provided new MacBooks in 2016.  Call me selfish on this purchase, but I saw this as a need and my husband actually agreed.  Therefore, this was my first purchase from Apple knowing I was giving up provided Apple Technology.
  • Next, a donor funded my classroom with 6 Apple iPads.
    • This allows me to teach students to work with iPads in groups of 6.
  • Next, I purchased the necessary cords to connect my MacBook Pro to my school projector and a cord to connect my MacBook to my printer.
  • Later, 6 iPad cases were purchased for the classroom. Find those cases here.
  • After the school year started, a sweet family gave me a $25 gift card.
    • I call this Christmas for an Apple nerd. 🙂

How my system has worked thus far (Remember, we are only one week into school):

  • I display my MacBook in the classroom using cords purchased from Walmart.  I am still able to use the “separate display” feature on the MacBook, so I can email families and coworkers while students look at a separate display.
  • I teach 3 sections of 5th grade ELA.  Students walk in to the room with a display showing what they need to accomplish as soon as they get settled.  This was created in Keynote.
Beginning Display

Beginning Display

  • Next we begin class.  I’ve built presentations on my MacBook using Keynote for lessons covered in class, and I use one of the 6 iPads as a “remote” for the Keynote displays.  You can easily do this by opening Keynote on your MacBook and iPad. Directions on how to do this can be found here.

Keynote Lessons & "Cheating" with Presenter Notes

  • Using the iPad as a remote allows me to see presenter notes. These are notes that I want students to think I know by heart, but I have to “cheat” and see notes. :). Using the iPad as a remote also allows me to use a pointer and highlight notes displayed on the screen.  I can also use pens to write on the Keynote from anywhere in the classroom.  I could see this being especially beneficial for math teachers.
  • The first Friday of school, students visited small groups.  Here, they were able to interact with iPads for the first time in our classroom.  It was interesting to see how evident it was that some students had never used an iPad before.  They were EXTREMELY engaged and all we did was send a PDF into an PDF annotator app.  I explained this was the most basic thing we would do with iPads, but until we understood the basics, we couldn’t move onto advanced iPad projects.   The students were very careful while working with iPads, and I can already tell we will move on to advanced projects soon.

Having Keynotes created on my MacBook and using an iPad as a remote allows me to move about the classroom while I teach whole group lessons.  I store all Keynotes and other resources on our class webpage found here. If you’re interested in making a classroom website, look over this post. Going forward, I know I’ll need to invest in a PDF annotator, so advertisements don’t pop up while we work in small groups.

By the 2018-2019 school year, I hope to have a 1:1 classroom through donations of “old” iPads that I can wipe OR donations to my class GoFundMe.


Need to set up a classroom with technology as CHEAP as possible?

Purchase the following (You can buy with “Education Pricing”: $499.22 )

1 – Apple TV (This can be connected to a projector that may already be in your classroom)

2 – One Apple iPad (You can airplay this to your Apple TV, so anything displayed on your iPad will display on your projector). You may already have an iPad at home that has Airplay capabilities!

If you buy these two pieces, you can teach from anywhere in the classroom while displaying what is on your iPad.  You will most likely run out of data on your iPad QUICKLY.  I suggest storing all presentation on a webpage, like a wiki.  This will save you storage on your iPAd.


So, for under $500, you can invest in the beginning of an Apple ecosystem.  Have further questions or on how to save on apps for your classroom, send me an email, I am happy to help!

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