So you opened up a shiny, new iPad on Christmas morning. You lucky dog you. But at this point you may be staring at your new iPad with curiosity, wondering what treasure this miracle of technology beholds.

If you are a teacher, holding a new iPad in your hands may be intimidating. But just remember, it’s like riding a bike. Practice makes perfect, and the more you explore your new device, the more opportunities you will discover on ways to use an iPad in the classroom.

For a beginner, the best approach is to first gain an understanding of the basic functions of your iPad. Have a question? Get stuck? Chances are others have once been in your place and have sought and found answers to even the most basic iPad questions online. There are even video tutorials that walk you through basic functions.

Once you’ve become comfortable with basic use of your iPad, you may be thinking about how to use an iPad in the classroom. Instead of overwhelming yourself by imagining a wizard of a teacher who runs his classroom effortlessly at the touch of a finger, think about how you would like to improve your classroom.

Image: Allison Carter / Chattanooga Times Free Press

Are you looking to organize grades, students, and assignments?

Are your looking to travel light by syncing your laptop at home to your iPad?

Are you looking for apps that your students can use with their own iPads?

-Science, Labs

-Art, creating story boards

-Studying tools

-Assignments, group work

-Video demonstrations

-Class participation

Looking for apps for the classroom that fit under these categories? Check out technology for teachers in: Bring in the New Year with Apps for the Classroom.

After thinking about how you want to improve your classroom, you can now turn to your iPad and ask how it may help you achieve this goal. The best place to start is searching the Internet. You may not believe that you can lecture and have your iPad type out the words that you say, but you can. When in doubt, check the Internet; there tons of apps for teachers out there, you may find exactly what you are looking for.

A few search engines later you may come across an app that looks like the right match. Getting to know the app may take time and practice, but doing so may pay off in the end that first day you bring your iPad to class with you.

Remember, your new iPad is supposed to assist you in your teaching, making your work more efficient, easier. Don’t feel compelled to glue yourself your new friend. Yes the iPad is high-tech, and yes it can do wonders for some teachers and their classrooms, but not one gadget or one app fits all.

Your iPad should be there for you in times of need. So if you reach for an old-fashioned attendance sheet—there’s no reason to feel like a caveman.