How do you find the “right” apps for education when there are more than 1.1 million currently available in Apple’s App Store?
Before You Begin: Apple’s Apps
Before branching out too far, get to know the applications developed by Apple. Learn how to use apps like Pages and Keynote for productivity, Garageband and iMovie for creativity, and iTunes U as well as iBooks to deliver content.
Most important, it’s good to know the Settings app on your iPad. You can find everything from general setup to app settings to accessibility features there.
Once you know your iPad, think about the type of apps you’re looking for. Is classroom management a struggle? Do you want your students to easily create works of art? Are you trying to augment a class project? If you know what you’re looking to do, it will be much easier to find helpful apps!
Classroom Management Apps
Although I wouldn’t recommend buying an iPad and a projector just for these, there may be times when your class would benefit from some visual supports like Time Timer or Too Noisy. In a one-to-one environment, you might use something like Socrative or eClicker for student response. If you’re on a budget and don’t have student devices, try Plickers. Other management apps that give you a place to start from are Class DoJo for behavior tracking, TeacherKit for attendance and organization, and Nearpod.
Content Specific Apps
There are thousands upon thousands of these types of apps. Want an app that teaches letter formation? You’ll have to choose from nearly 1,000. These apps tend to be more prevalent for elementary aged classrooms (it’s easier to find a good app that will teach the alphabet than algebra). No matter what you teach, it’s still worth looking for something that will work for you. Start by searching for relevant categories at Appolearning and Appitic.
Content Creation Apps
There are many apps that allow your students to create content to share with you and others. Students can use the built-in camera with iMovie to create great videos. Have them write a book using something like Creative Book Builder and then publish it. Toontastic is a great way to quickly write, narrate, and animate a story. The sky is the limit with these types of apps!
Augmented Reality (AR) Apps
This category has been around for a little while, but is just starting to take off. These apps are really fun and engaging. Although the content is still a little sparse, be on the lookout for more AR apps in the future. In the meantime, check out apps like Shape Quest, AR Flashcards, Spacecraft 3D, Elements 4D and more. If you want to venture into creating your own AR in the classroom, start with Aurasma.
Peter Schaafsma is the Assistive Technology Consultant for the Wexford-Missaukee ISD. He also leads the youth group at Covenant Life Church in Lake City, MI. Peter lives in Cadillac, MI with his wife and three children.