iPads in Education

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I recently had a group of 4th grade teachers ask for a list of "essential apps" that they could install on a new batch of iPads that were just purchased for their classes. I thought it might be interesting to open the topic up to discussion.


What is your short list of apps that you deem "essential" for your classes? Please indicate the level of class that you teach and keep your list to no more than 10 apps.



Sam Gliksman

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Words with Friends HD Free by Newtoy Inc (free app, paid version available)

My year seven class have been playing this (essentially it’s Scrabble) for ten minutes or so at the beginning of every lesson. About half of the class have also chosen to play against me, and some have added family members and family friends also. I “banned” random opponent games, and we’ve had some excellent discussions about suitable topics for chatting, and when to turn off notifications.  We spent a few fun lessons looking up words that the game allowed but we thought weren’t really words. (So it goes without saying that you also need a good dictionary app on your device! If you're not going to pay $10 for a dictionary app, make sure you have several free ones.)


Pupet Pals HD by Polished Play (free app, in app purchases available)

This was the app I was using with my year seven class when the principal brought the regional director through for a sticky beak! Record your voice as you move puppets about the stage, then hit play to view your performance. Great way to have reluctant public speakers present to the class. In app purchases allow you to have a wider choice of characters and back-drops, and some of my students chose to purchase; those that didn’t were still able to create a fantastic movie. (We presented by plugging iPads into the projector using the VGA adapter.)


Tour Wrist by Spark Labs  (free app, free content)

View 360-degree photo “tours” that move as you move. Do a quick search for “ruins” and imagine how you could use that in a history lesson.


Popplet Lite by Notion (free app with limits, paid version available)

My year seven students use this to present information with pictures and brief text boxes. Free version limited to one “popplet” but once the kids have created it and exported it (emailed as jpeg in lite version) they can start again.  Great way to make use of text-book images.  



Fuzzy Clock HD by InGenius (free app)

Customisable clock, displays the time in words. Can change the phrases to relate to your classroom, eg Nearly lunchtime. I displayed it on my iPad and the year sevens went nuts for it!


Garage Band by Apple (paid app)

I’ve had a play with this myself, and think that I am going to use it with my year seven class later in the year, to make podcasts. Last year I was lucky enough to have access to Garage Band in the mac lab with my (then) year sevens, and they produced some great podcasts. (And I would much rather listen to podcasts than mark another dozen posters!)


Comic Life by plasq LLC (paid app)

This in another app that I have used on the macs with previous groups of students. A fantastic way to do end of topic reflection in the form of vox pop. Take a photo of each student (I told them to “look smart” for the camera, with some crazy results!) and used a speech bubble to present their response to one or two of the sentence starters I had written on the board. If you want to check out Comic Life without paying, I would recommend installing the trial version on your mac or PC, and then you will know that you want it on your iPad also!

Flashcards (free or paid app) - I can make flash cards to assist students with revision, but also students are able to make their own cards as part of their revision, especially VCE students.


Lemonade Tycoon (not sure of cost) - version similar to Lemonade stand, use for business / commerce subjects for stock, price, reputation.  There is also Oil Tycoon and am going to try Gas Tycoon.


Dropbox (free) - set up areas to be able to share files with students, I use as a back up in case of school servers going down and students not being able to access intranet


Attendance (paid app) - maintain marks, attendance, lesson plans, all in one app.

Year 3/4 Class

1. Pages

2. Keynote

3. iMovie (iPad2)

4. Comic Life

5. Dictionary

6. ComicStrip

7. Bump

8. GarageBand

9. Chicktionary

10. Scrabble

I would love to get in touch with any MS social studies teachers.  Will be incorporating 1:1 iPads in the 2011-12 school year.  I've been looking for social studies-specific apps and have struggled to find many.

Hard pick choosing 10 at the moment but these would be them in no particular order!


1. Popplet - Brainstorming/Posters and more

2. Dropbox - Store and retrieve documents via iPads/Computers

3. Writepad - Handwriting to text tool

4. Evernote - Record and store notes/audio etc

5. Whiteboard - Like a whiteboard that is visible by all linked iPads

6. Puppet Pals HD - Record plays with audio

7. Fotobabble - Record audio about an image or drawing & links to online account

8. ArtRage - Visual Arts

9. iCanWrite - handwriting app

10. Pulse - A visual RSS Feed & we have loaded all our school Blogs into it


Oops sorry - I have a Year 4 class!

Good Reader is our lifeblood for all text books and worksheets

Course Notes is their exercise books. Used in every class

Sketchbook X - Free version used to create good graphics

Dropbox for backing up files

For K-1

iPad App and Use:

1.  ABC Tracer - wonderful for Zaner Bloser handwriting practice and printing numbers

2.  Word Families- has many (not all) word families and works great as you're practicing a new phonogram that can be isolated...

3.  Pocket Phonic- great because it says a sound, has the user choose the correct written sound and fills in the blank to create new words

4.  Alphabet Car- student fav! You have to tilt the iPad to steer and drive a bus to spell words that are given.  You work up to different levels of difficulty.

5.  Coin Math- great app with lots of differentiation on coin recognition to counting money to making change

6.  Talking Tom-simple, but fun way to practice reading fluency with emerging readers.

7.  Voice Memos-when some may be frustrated with talking tom interrupting them - this one is great to record and play back. Or to record a "fluent" reader from another group read a story as a more "at risk" learner hears a peer do the reading as they follow along!

8.  Undersea Math - great app for practicing addition and subtraction in a game situation.

9.  Shapebuilder - great app for English Language Learners!  Use puzzle pieces to complete a simple puzzle, once it's complete, the item comes to life and makes noises.  (i.e.  violin= plays a few notes).

10.  iBooks- used to drop scanned pdf's of original student poetry into iTunes Store on the computer in which I sync... once all iPads had been synced, students used them during a poetry tea to share projects with their parents!  Yes, first graders!


Ah, I have more favs... but alas, I'll follow the request and stop at 10.  Looking forward to hearing other ideas for K-1!


Dropbox, GoodReader, Diigo


Our school's breakdown of preferred apps is on our wiki:


My top ten for Junior Primary are:

Keynote - essential for creating individual work in literacy; can be used as a flash card, stories, etc.>

Puppet Pals - My kids love this...using characters can create aweome stories, drama skits etc.  Excellent for speaking and listening.

Montessorium - Intro to Maths & Intro to LettersI can't rave enough about these apps.  They are great and have more than one component to the apps; students can read letters, listening to the sounds, trace over letters etc. 

Touchy Books - Gorgeous interactive books..some are free and then you can purchase others for approximately $2 AUS

SpellBoard - Brilliant app where you can add your own spelling lists for students to practice and also be tested.  There is also an audio facility where the teacher can add their own voice to the words and dictation sentences. 

MathBoard - Similar to Spellboard, this app can be tailored to suit the student's individual level. 

Pictello - Can add pictures and audio to create individual stories.  Very good for social stories.

Story Patch - Can add pictures and symbols to create stories, sentences etc.

Math Magic - Another math app that uses all four operations and can be tailored to the student's ability.  Is also interactive.

Baby Writer - Can be used to practice handwriting.

The Calgary Board of Education has classrooms using mobile technologies from k-12. These are my overall top ten apps.

1. Pages-this facilitates a move into ePub

2. Storykit

3. Doodlebuddy

4. iBook-so many accessibility features built in

5.  Comic Touch/Strip Designer

6. PS Express-crop and edit photos

7. AudioNote-type, draw, record

8. Dragon-speech to text app that will allow users to copy/paste into other apps/email

9. I-nigma-QR Code reader

10. SmartNote-type, draw, record, share


Oh-and honourable mention to Photospeak-animate digital portraits and add audio (like the pictures in Harry Potter)-good for short recordings

I made a excel  list of apps from Avery Middle school hope Michael Wells likes this! Yes I know it is more than ten flog me with a wet noodle later Hope someone can use this excel spreadsheet!


Henry Danielson




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