Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fishing for Good Classroom Apps

UPDATED 6-20-13

One of my all time favorite, educationally appropriate proverb...

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Everyone knows this proverb, but its applications go so far beyond fishing.  If I share with a teacher an amazing website that she can use that day in class, both she and her student's will benefit that day.  If I teach her how to use Twitter and RSS feeds to find resources for herself, she will be so much further along.  The same goes for iOS apps.  I am often asked "what apps should I download?"  That is a very subjective question.   The idea behind this post is to provide classroom teachers with some good fishing holes where they can return time and again to "fish" for new and useful classroom apps.

Blog posts that contain lists of suggested education Apps - A collaborative blog/community devoted to finding, reviewing and sharing education apps.

Teacher time saving apps - A list of apps with descriptions of several quality apps for managing your class and students.

20+ Free Student Centered Learning Apps - A nice collection of cool apps with descriptions.  You may find a few gems here (Journal Jar is not an app.  You bookmark the webpage and it acts like an app).

Websites devoted to Apps

iPadcurriculum - This is basically a blog where the blogger post reviews of various iOS apps for use in the classroom.  Post are not created on any regular basis, so be sure to check the archive.

Appshopper -  Apps fluctuate in price. Large developers typically hold app sales around the holidays, but many times, price drops are random and only last a day or two.  To take full advantage of these price fluctuations use Appshopper.  Simply create a free account and tell Appshopper which apps you “want.” When the price drops, you will be alerted by email of the price change. *All apps, not just education related apps can be found on Appshopper.

iPadsforeducation - A very well designed website devoted to education apps.  All apps are organized by subject.   All apps may not be available in the United States and links take you to the Australian itunes store. My suggestion would be to do your research on this site and then do a keyword search for the app in the US itunes store.

Appitic - A massive directory (currently over 1800) of classroom tested education apps.  What sets this site apart is how the apps are organized.  Of particular interest are the Blooms and N.E.T.S sections.

Kathy Schrock’s iPads in the Classroom - Kathy Schrock is a force to be reckoned with in the world of education.  This page is constantly updated with articles and resources from around the web about integrating iPad’s in the classroom.  You would be remiss if you did not find the time to explore non-iPad related pages on Schrock’s Guide to Everything.

Appchronicles - This mainstream blog/website is devoted to app news, reviews, and the like.  While not specifically devoted to education apps, some do pop up from time to time.  One of the best features of the site is a daily “Best Free Apps of the Day” post written by the site editors.

Digital Storytelling with the iPad - This site contains some good information on how to create traditional digital stories (pictures, text, and student voice) using the iPad. Storyboarding apps and more are also reviewed.  I personally like less traditional digital storytelling (think Puppet Pals or Toontastic) and find that  Storykeepers list of storytelling apps offers a wider variety.  Perhaps a combination of both of these sites is the answer.

Apps in education - Nice collection of apps by subject area.  Some of the apps have links to the Australian App Store, so some leg work may be necessary.  

Mac Worlds App Guide (Education section) - A simply massive selection of education apps, by subject. All apps are independently rated too. 

Database List of Apps (most found on iEar website)

Acalanes Union High School District’s list of suggested iPad apps

White Oak Independent School District’s spreadsheet of apps by subject-  Links are not active.  You will need to manually search for the listed apps by name.

Westlake High School list of suggested Apps

Kathy Schrock’s list of suggested Apps - These are not hyperlinked, you will need to manually search the App Store for download links.

Horry County Schools list of in use apps - While not a spreadsheet like the others, the list is impressive and descriptive.


Conference presentation from a Music teacher- A pdf of a slideshow created by a music teacher about using the iPad in a music classroom.  Some fantastic resources mentioned. A link to his blog for further reading.

Education Hashtags- Nice collection of very active education related hashtags in on Twitter.  Add these to your Flipboard account for easy monitoring. #edapp, #edtablet are good ones to find apps.

50 sites for using iPads in the classroom by ZDnet -  Just as the descriptions says.  This one could take you all day.

My personal must have teacher apps

*Update 1/28/13 - The Puffin Web Browser - is a steal at $2.99. Utilizing a special proxy service to render flash applications, it opens your iPad to MILLIONS of free flash games and animations on the web. Additionally, I find that many of the sites that do not render well in Safari or Chrome on the iPad (ie google docs, Gmail, various web forms), do just fine in Puffin.
*Dropbox - A very popular online file storage service.  The desktop version automatically saves and synchronizes files saved to the special Dropbox folder on your computer to your online Dropbox account.  These files can be accessed online or from your iPad using the app.  Installing this app on your iPad also gives you the option to save files (pictures, pdfs, etc.) from your iPad to your Dropbox account directly.   Dropbox files in all three places (computer, iPad, and online) are completely synchronized.  (Free)

Flipboard - Named Apple's "App of the Year" for good reason.  Any website with a feed can be subscribed through Flipboard.  Flipboard turns these feeds into a magazine like reading experience.  Not using Twitter?  Use Flipboard to subscribe to the following feeds: #edapp, #edtech, #education.  For what it’s worth, this is my all time favorite app. (Free)

Zite - Apposed to telling Zite specific sites to pull from like you do in Flipboard; Zite in true semantic fashion uses a system of “likes” and “dislikes” (think Pandora) to learn your interests and then delivers you a personalized “newspaper” based on those finding.  A little creepy? Yes.  Cool? Definitely.  (Free)

Google Translate - Type or speak into the iPad’s microphone and this app will do a darn good job translating it to a number of different languages.  Translations are produced in both text and audible versions.  Could you use this app to have a basic conversation with a limited English speaking student or parent?  Maybe. (Free)

Splashtop Remote Desktop - This one is pure genius.  Install the app on your iPad and then download a small program to your computer from the developer’s website.  Run the program on your pc and use this app to view and control your pc from anywhere on your school's network!   A username and password on the pc side keeps the connection secure.   ($.99 - $4.99)

Kindle Amazon is a leader in the digital distribution of books, textbooks, magazines, and newspapers.  Do not have a kindle? You do not need to miss out.  Typically, Kindle books cost less than their paper counterparts. You can also “borrow” Kindle books from your local library.  All this and the ability to email .pdf files to your kindle account, make the Kindle app for iPad an ideal digital reading platform. (Free)

Other random goodies (updated 6-20-13)

62 Interesting Ways to Integrate iPad in your Classroom - A nice presentation with app and apptivity suggestions.

iPad & App Binder - This binder is slap full of app lists and suggestions.

One iPad in the Classroom - One teachers suggestions of what can be done with just one iPad in the classroom.  

Cool Apps for Schools - A massive collection of education apps, organized by subject area.

Palm Beach County Collection - A one-to-one iPad district offers app suggestions by grade level.
ipadapps4school - Richard Byrne's website devoted to education apps.  Most if not all apps are free and Richard offers implementation suggestions in each review.

PixnTell - Very basic picture story maker. Take a few pictures, record narrations. Done.  Use up to five pictures in the free version.


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