First point I’d like to bring up is typing on the iPad. Typing on the iPad is a lot more cumbersome than it is typing on a regular keyboard or on a smartphone. The keyboard is big and typing on a big touch screen keyboard is awkward so if you are expected to write paragraphs, short stories, or multiple-page papers it may take them much longer than just using a computer with a regular keyboard. Some people hold their iPad portrait style and use the pointer finger to type. Others lay their iPad flat on a table and put it in landscape to try to type like on a regular keyboard. Every person has their own preferences which also depends on what mood they’re in or what it is they’re actually typing. If time is always a factor then typing in either way you may get easily frustrated. So in many situations typing on a computer or laptop is simply the way to go.
My next suggestion then (and the free method) is to use the split keyboard which would mean you or the student would hold the iPad with each hand on the sides of the iPad and using your thumbs to do all the typing. This does take a little getting used to but it is still a much faster typing experience than using your pointer finger.
All you have to do to enable this is when the keyboard is on the screen just place two fingers in the middle of the keyboard and swipe away from each other from left to right. (The motion of your fingers would be similar as if you were zooming in on a webpage in Safari.) This action will split the keyboard to allow typing with both thumbs which may be faster for students.
To bring the keyboard back together all you have to do is “squeeze” them back in with two fingers (or take two fingers and swipe them closed).
If that option is not there then click Software Update and download the latest update.
Hope this helps!