Top 5 iPad Apps for the (Experienced!) Educator #edchat

I know. I know, the (Experienced) part doesn’t quite fit.

The majority of apps for the iPad are so intuitive that they are very easy to use. Indeed, developers who are successful, concentrate on simplicity to allow those of us with little technical know-how to use their product.

This post is in response to a request for a follow up to the ‘Top 5 Back to School Apps‘. The apps below have multiple uses in school and have become integral to classroom practice for staff and students alike.


‘Annotate, edit and save your photos & scribbles… fast. Skitch, the popular desktop app has gone mobile. Annotate an image with arrows, shapes and text. Sketch something new and markup an existing photo, then save your creations to Evernote or share them with other applications.’

For the educator sketch has excellent implications for producing classroom material and other resources. The ability to annotate over any image enables the educator to tailor material for the individual as well as the class. Skitch allows you to add or take away annotation and share with a group or individual to enhance learning. A truly wonderful app.


‘GoodReader is the super-robust PDF reader for iPad. With GoodReader on your iPad, you can read virtually anything, anywhere: books, movies, maps, pictures. Use it once and you’ll be hooked. Soon you’ll be wondering how you ever managed to use your iPad without GoodReader.’

As well as being an excellent place to store material to read later, Goodreader allows you to annotate PDFs very easily. It is particularly useful for annotating student work and also material for them to review. The interface does take a short while to get used to but Goodreader quickly becomes the ‘go to’ PDF reader.


‘iBooks is an amazing way to download and read books. iBooks includes the iBookstore, where you can download the latest bestselling books or your favorite classics – day or night. Browse your library on a beautiful bookshelf, tap a book to open it, flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark or add notes to your favourite passages.’

At first glance iBooks wouldn’t seem particularly revolutionary as a classroom aid. However, it is when you couple this with iBooks author that the true implications can be found. True, you do need a Mac to use this application. Trust me it is well worth the investment. In short you can create your own resource that looks like an iBook using existing material. Presentations, video, text etc can all be dragged and dropped alongside using ‘widgets’ that make the experience more intuitive and user-friendly. Take a look at this ‘how to video‘.


As educators we are familiar with twitter in the social media world, but not that many schools are using it with their students. Alongside information giving, the real power of twitter can be found in a department or class account. As long as the students follow back with an ‘academic’ account the group can interact with each other and debate a topic, or seek guidance. The most successful use of twitter has been via a ‘twitter chat’ at a designated time that replaced the normal homework. The ability to question each other as well as the educator serves to enhance learning in a very different way to the norm. The account can of course be private and secure so the educator and the students can feel free to comment without outside influence.


‘Flipboard turns your Facebook and Twitter account into something that looks like a magazine. It also lets you build a custom magazine, either by choosing from Flipboard’s pre-built curated “boards” or by importing Twitter lists.’

If you are using an iPad I’m sure you have encountered Flipboard and it may seem like it is just a social magazine for browsing interests. However, as a way of collating information, it has become particularly useful for students. The ease with which they can browse articles and look for balance of opinion on a subject, makes it a useful tool. It can also act as a useful starter and/or plenary for a lesson with the most up-to-date information being displayed. If you have a class twitter account you can also use it to display information from the group and act as a prompt for collaboration.

Any suggestions for educational apps are gratefully received.

About Daniel Edwards
Director of Innovation & Learning at the Stephen Perse Foundation schools, Cambridge, UK ( 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.

16 Responses to Top 5 iPad Apps for the (Experienced!) Educator #edchat

  1. Pingback: Top 5 iPad Apps for the (Experienced!) Educator #edchat

  2. patbranson says:

    I agree with you, Daniel. They are great apps. I would also add Creative Book Builder. It’s great for creating epubs containing text, videos, audio, web links, quizzes. The developers keep working to make it more flexible and more powerful.

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  6. Bianca says:

    HI. I´m loving your suggestion. I´m a educator in Rio and we will start to use I-pads with Elementary. Whcih is you first advice? What about the best apps for 1st graders students? thankss

    • syded says:

      Thanks for commenting. Unfortunately I teach 11-18 so not sure about elementary apps, although I’m sure puppet pals would go down well.

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