iPad Modes - recommended positions for iPad use

Our Year 7 students have moved from laptop to iPad this year, with keyboard and pencil inclusion. We noted that students were often using their iPads as if they are a laptop and we were seeking to encourage more dynamic use. One of our main observations was that students often set their iPad upright to draw or diagram, which I thought seemed awkward, so I designed the attached poster to support dynamic iPad use depending on the process (amongst other suggestions), recommending laying the iPad flat for drawing and diagramming.

Then, noticing some of the same practice amongst my young digital illustrator co-curricular group (10-12 years old), we chatted more about this and some students articulated drawing practice akin to an easel or architectural drafting table where the elevation is useful. So with my possible confirmation bias challenged, I am interested in the thoughts of others. Let me know what you think.


Poster demonstrating various possible position of iPad depending on the purpose.
iPad Modes poster


4 replies

September 05, 2022

I agree that this is a problem. Personally I say that for handwriting or drawing students should have the iPad flat on the desk or at a shallow angle using the iPad case the students have. It is a battle.

How can it be comfortable using a steep angle?

Is it just inertia?

September 06, 2022

I agree, I personally prefer the iPad flat for writing, and think it is more natural, however I was recently told by an Early Years teacher that she thought writing on an angle is actually better for small hands with the pencil grip.

September 06, 2022

Such a great idea!

June 18, 2024

I see where you’re coming from for having students draw on an iPad flat, but as an artist and someone whose mother is a digital art college teacher, it is not the best for students. If possible use someone sort of slanted surface, keep the iPad at eye level to prevent neck strain, and provide students an arm rest of sorts to prevent wrist strain or conditions.

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