Back to School – Top 5 iPad Apps for Educators

What apps should I use?

The number one question when an educator receives an iPad. Whether it is training colleagues with the technology, or educators finding their own way, the ‘best’ apps always find a place in the discussions.

With that in mind, these 5 applications may help with integration of the iPad into the classroom.

1. ESSENTIALS

‘Introduces you to the iPad, exploring the working parts and touchscreen interface. The app is highly effective in showing you how to carry out each task or function via a series of screens that have hot linked regions that must be touched or swiped in order to progress to the next step.’

The most impressive feature of this app is that the user cannot move on unless they tap the right area of the screen that relates directly to iPad functionality. In the second section there is a very useful guide to using the mainstays of the iPad in terms of work production – Pages, Keynote, Numbers. A very useful starting point for any educator or student.

2. EXPLAIN EVERYTHING

‘Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design tool that lets you annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations. You can create dynamic interactive lessons, activities, assessments, and tutorials using Explain Everything’s flexible and integrated design. Use Explain Everything as an interactive whiteboard using the iPad 2 (and the new iPad) video display.’

Explain everything has the added advantage of students being able to show their work with annotations and also have a sense of pride as it is easily displayed to the rest of the class. Any Explain everything slide can be shared via a number of means –  email, YouTube, Dropbox, which lends itself to classroom participation. An impressive collaboration tool with multiple implications.

3.  SOCRATIVE

‘Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.’

Put simply, Socrative is a superb ‘assessment for learning’ tool. An educator can ask a pop quiz at any point and have the answers from students graphically represented for feedback and to display if required. Educators can also pre-load a quiz that can be assessed straight-away. The beauty of this app is that it is cross platform which means that students can be on existing desktops or laptops whilst the educator has the iPad at the front of the class displaying results.

4.  EDMODO

‘Edmodo makes it easy for teachers and students to stay connected and share information. Use an iOS device to send notes, submit assignments, post replies, and check messages and upcoming events while away from the classroom.’

Again the beauty of a Edmodo is that it is cross-platform so can run as an application on your iPad alongside existing IT equipment. It is a great way to contact and interact with students as well as being a workflow solution. The ability to annotate through dictation provides an excellent time-saving function for any educator wishing to feedback in detail to students. As soon as the educator finishes any annotations students can see and indeed improve on their work.

5. NOTABILITY

‘Notability powerfully integrates handwriting, PDF annotation, typing, recording, and organizing so you can take notes your way! Discover the freedom to capture ideas, share insights, and present information in one perfect place on iPad.’

As well as being a superb app to collate notes, Educators and students can organise their work in the same way they have with written notebooks. The sharing options make this app stand out with export functions to Dropbox, email etc. It is very easy to add pictures and highlight text, within the app, which makes it very functional for all users. It came out on top during our test with 60 students and staff.

There are many, many apps that could be on this list, however these five allow existing practice to be enhanced without too much adjustment. Allied to subject specific applications the iPad can very quickly become an integral part of teaching with a functionality that enhances learning for all.

About Daniel Edwards
Director of Innovation & Learning at the Stephen Perse Foundation schools, Cambridge, UK (stephenperse.com). Interested in global connectivity for all and risk taking in education. Keen to discuss all aspects of learning and digital strategy. Also @syded06 on twitter.

39 Responses to Back to School – Top 5 iPad Apps for Educators

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  7. I would agree with this list. All are used daily for me in our 1:1 with iPads at the HS level. But what I love most about Notability is the ability to record audio as a lecture is going. This has helped many students with studying issues. Also, as an English teacher, I use the feature to annotate student writing, and then record verbal feedback about their paper. Then I can email it to back to them as a Notability file, and the audio feedback will be attached to it. Students say this is much more helpful than just written comments.

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  12. Jane Kilpatrick says:

    Thanks for the list – I hadn’t used “Explain Everything” but have no got it and am planning uses for the new term. One I found at the end o last year is “Teacher Kit” – very powerful even for a SIMS and Excel using UK teacher where the grade book/attendance aspects aren’t really of interest. Class photos and using these to sort out groups for different lessons/purposes, the ability to record notes on the hoof and individual and mass emails to students/parents make it a fantastic tool.

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