Saturday, October 18, 2014

iPad apps

In a previous post, I wrote about a few creativity apps that should be included on iPads for student use. During the last few weeks I've helped several schools prepare their iPads for the new school year. I thought it was time to revisit this list and add a few more apps. My criteria when choosing apps are that they allow for creativity and can be used across subjects and grade levels.

Most of the apps are free, but some are paid apps. Schools many times forget to set aside funds to purchase apps. Sure, there are a lot of great and useful free apps, but schools need to be willing to pay developers for their time and effort when they create useful apps. Apple's Volume Purchasing Program lets schools get multiple copies at a discounted rate. 

Here is my list of go to apps, in no particular order.

Edmodo - our district uses the Edmodo platform extensively. Edmodo should be installed everywhere so students can make posts and complete assignments and quizzes.

Kidblog - if your students are into blogging at all (and they should be!) then Kidblog is an excellent platform. The iPad app makes it easy to post and comment on classroom blogs.

Explain Everything - this is a paid app, but well worth the money. It is a screencasting and interactive whiteboard app that lets students narrate, annotate, and share their learning. Educreations still remains a good choice if your looking for a free app.

Popplet Lite - this is a great brainstorming app for students. Students can create a mind map using text, pictures, and video. The lite version only allows one popplet, but the paid version allows unlimited popplets plus online sharing.

Trading Cards - students can create virtual trading cards on any subject: people, places, objects, events, and vocabulary words.

Dropbox/Google Drive - these are essential for sharing student work. Secondary students can use their own accounts while elementary classrooms can set up a classroom account.
Goodreads/Biblionasium - Goodreads requires an email address and is more suited for secondary schools. Biblionasium can be used at any grade level, but has a more primary (and limited) look at feel, so it's great for elementary schools. Both are excellent tools for students to share books they are reading, write reviews, and discover new books.

Snapguide - with this app students can easily create how to guides on a variety of interests and subjects (document the steps to solve a math task).

Haiku Deck - this is my favorite alternative to PowerPoints. Students can create visually rich presentations with a limited amount of text. Because of the text limits it forces students to really know their material when presenting.

Prezi - this is another good alternative to PowerPoints. Using the iPad app students can create, edit, and share presentations they've started from the website.

Qrafter - if you use QR codes in your classroom you need a really good QR reader on your devices!

audioBoom - give your students a voice - they have a lot to say! This app is an easy way for students to share their thoughts and express themselves. There are a ton of ways to use this app in the classroom.

Pic Collage - unleash student creativity with photos, stickers, frames, text, backgrounds, and free form cutouts. Students can easily document learning with this engaging tool. There are hundreds of ideas on the internet for using Pic Collage in the classroom

Skitch - This drawing app allows you to take a photo or screenshot and draw directly on it. Students can use arrows, shapes, and text annotations to demonstrate learning or to enhance an assignment. 

Tellagami - students combine voice, photos, character customization, and a little bit of their personality to communicate in a way that's never been possible. A paid Edu version lets you use it in your classroom without in-app purchases.

iMovie - if a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth? iMovie is free for iPads purchased after Sept. 2013, but it's still worth the price for existing users. Video is a very powerful medium for students and iMovie makes it easy to use!

Page/Numbers/Keynote - Apple's word process, spreadsheet, and presentation apps are a must. They are easy to use, intuitive, and easy to integrate in any classroom. They are also free for iPads purchased after Sept. 2013.

I'm always eager to hear about other apps that let students unleash their inner creativity and can be used in almost any curriculum. If you know of another great app, let me know in the comments!

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