Wednesday, 13 March 2013

More Educational Apps for Teachers

Photo by sethclifford
 I've had my classroom iPad for a while now, and I've come up with a pretty good selection of apps that work really well as educational apps for classroom and teacher use. A few are paid, but most of them are free, cause I'm cheap. I think that's a universal teacher trait.

There are some apps I'm willing to pay for, though, and I've made mention of them below. Since we are now a single iPad classroom, a lot of these apps are for teacher use rather than student use. However, I still think it's valuable to have the iPad accessible to students, whether it's for enrichment, helping a struggling learner, or cycling it through the room. So if an app is REALLY good, I'll include it in my list.

I actually have quite a long list going, but I've found that if a list of apps is longer than about ten, I get overwhelmed trying to follow it. So instead of slapping every app I use into a heap, I've compiled a list of the ten most frequently used apps (to date) in my single iPad classroom. Hopefully they will be of use to you in your teaching journeys!

The Top Ten Apps in my Single iPad Classroom

If I recommend only one app to download, this is it. Every day, it lists the apps that are on sale (and by on sale, I mean free) for a limited time.  You can get some really great apps, but you do have to check it on a daily basis -- I got a fantastic free app (see below) and by the time I told other teachers about it the next day, it was back up to $4.99.

I got this app for free (see above), but it usually costs $4.99. It's a fantastic organizational tool -- like iCal for teachers. You can store classes, daily schedules, your plan book, grades, and notes, all in one place. Best of all, it's pass code protected, so now curious fingers can find their way inside if I let students use the iPad.

This one is truly brilliant. Parents send an email or text message to an assigned number (NOT yours) and you can send them texts and reminders about important due dates and events. You can even schedule these reminders, so you don't have to do this on a daily basis. If your students are old enough to text, they can sign up too.

Too Noisy is a sound meter (something along the lines of the Yakker Tracker, but free and your students can't smash it accidentally, thus costing you about a hundred bucks). It does have commercial prompts when you open it, which is annoying, but they go away quickly. You can adjust the sensitivity and put it up on your monitor for students to self-monitor noise. I give them thirty seconds to play with it first, though -- otherwise, there will always be one or two who can't help themselves from deliberately setting it off.

Skitch is the solution for those of you who like being able to write on your SmartBoard and want the same functionality with your iPad. You can write or draw over any photograph (including worksheets or other activities). It's not quite as precise as a SmartBoard, but reasonably close.

If you do want to put up pictures of written work, TinyScan is much more efficient than your iPad's camera. The camera takes more shadowy pictures. TinyScan is specifically designed to photograph documents, meaning they come up clear, easy to read, and without a bunch of shadows or variations in color and shade.

That link is to the grade 3 version, but there are several others. Singapore Math tends to be a bit past where our grade levels are at for math, so the grade 3 version will probably work for grade 4 or even grade 5. If you're not familiar with Singapore Math, this app provides a great introduction to problem solving with a visual method.
8. Educreations

Educreations allows you (or your students) to create a whiteboard lesson, record it, and play it back for one another. It's a great way to produce lessons students can review independently, or to have students share their knowledge with one another.

9. Simple Mind+

Simple Mind+ is a great mind mapping tool that does nice visuals and color coding. It would be fantastic for organizing students who have trouble with this type of thing, or for doing a sample mind map on a projector as a class.

10. TED

By now, pretty much everyone is familiar with TED Talks. Many people, however, don't realize that there are a lot of talks that apply to things we're learning in school. Older students in particular will enjoy a lot of these lectures. They're a great way to encourage kids to learn, or even to fill in gaps in class with something educational and entertaining.

These are the ten apps I foresee using the most often as a single iPad classroom.

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