Best iPad Apps for the Classroom
"Variety is the Spice of Life"
Idioms and cliche's have become so because they are well used. This particular idiom "variety is the spice of life" is the integral element in incorporating iPads in the Classroom. How do we dig through the wealth of information to form an organized curriculum for our students? How do we write lesson plans when it takes hours and hours of research just to decide on which tool is useful? My goal is to build my lesson plans from the Common Core State standards using the iPad minis as my tool. Here are more apps that I have discovered that I plan to utilize in my lesson plans.
Productivity and Classroom Apps:
Evernote (free): This is the first app that I downloaded. Why? Because it was free and because our training instructors told us to. Really! They gave us several apps, but this one I continue to see all over the Internet. It is an amazing app that will help you actually organize your thoughts. I am just getting started with it, but already I can easily see its value. This app can be downloaded and synced with any computer, iPad, iPhone, MacBook Air, etc. to fully integrate and keep you organized.
Skitch (free): You simply can't mention Evernote without also adding Skitch to the mix. Skitch is the creative companion with Evernote. It uses shapes, arrows, drawings and text annotation to add to your pictures and documents to get your point across to others. It is fun to use and best of all a free app. Yayee!
Educreations (free): This is the second app I downloaded. Firstly, because it was free; and secondly, because our training team recommended it. What a totally fantastic app! Love, love, LOVE it! I will use this relentlessly with my classroom. You can draw on it with whatever color you select, you can incorporate pictures and draw on them, and you can type using text boxes. All of this can be recorded for future use. I plan to use it instead of the whiteboard for lessons up on screen. I can record them for playback in my other classes, and to upload and use year after year (theoretically) on youtube.
iBrainstorm (free): I must admit that this is one app that I am truely excited about using in my classroom. If it works the way it says it will, students will simply swipe what they've written on their iPad onto the teacher's iPad. You can show this on screen and interactively check for understanding, add brain power to the lesson and utilize new ideas.
Google Earth (free): I will consistently use this to look up locations. One thing about the English Language Arts classroom, we are consistently reading fiction and non-fiction text. In order to give students more insight into setting, we will look up locations so they get a feel for the different cultures and locations. In addition, Google Earth is a great tool to teach the vocabulary term "perspective", including Author's perspective and Point of View and how the "picture" in any story can change with how you change the "perspective". Author's perspective is a Common Core State Standard for K 6-12.
Emodo (free and paid): This is the free app that allows students and teachers to stay connected. It develops a blog in which the teachers can control what students upload to a blog page. This blog page can be private or public. This organization has done a great job in anticipating what students need to learn and what teachers need in order to help them be successful. This is a powerful free product with a lot help for the productive classroom.
Pages (not free but well worth it): Is described as the most beautiful Word processing app available on iPad. It was designed by Apple as "the" Word proccessing app for the iPad. This app costs $9.99 but is so well worth the cost. It is very, very powerful. Our school has purchased this for our classroom minis, and I'm so glad they did. I am just getting started using it, but so far I'm highly impressed. Here is the link for the Video training you can purchase for $4.99 in order to better use Pages:
Numbers (not free but well worth it): Designed by Apple from the ground up, this is their answer to Microsoft's Excel Spreadsheet. Again, this is a powerful productivity app for the iPad. I doubt I will use it much in my classroom; however, I use spreadsheets all the time for rubrics, grades and keeping track of my students. I will use this app myself that way. I haven't discovered how to incorporate it yet into the ELA classroom. If you have ideas, please share. Cost is $9.99.
Keynote (not free but well worth it): Once again, Apple's answer to Microsoft's PowerPoint, this is truly an amazing app. I have already used it with my kiddos for their morning information. It is very easy to use and functual beyond belief. There are some extensions to this app that you can download as well. Cost is $9.99 as well.
All three of these, Pages, Numbers and Keynote are called the iWork Suite from Apple. Our school purchased them for us to use. They have continued to request information from us regarding any other paid apps that we might want to purchase. If you know of any, please include them in the comments below.
As you can see, there is a wide variety to choose from...literally millions of apps...but when pared down for the classroom, this list becomes much more manageable. Join our site now to keep abreast as I muddle through and push forward. Leave a thumbs up rating or comment if you have any sites you think I should look at or have some insight.