iPad Apps for Schools

Mr. Martin’s reviewed iPad Apps for Schools

This is the SUMMARY / QUICK OVERVIEW of iPad apps I’ve reviewed for classroom use. For each app, I’ll write a separate post (or several) on how to actually use them in school, in the classroom, effectively. But sometimes you just want to see which ones I’ve looked at – or haven’t tried yet.

This page is a work-in-progress

Links to apps reviewed by other teachers

Classroom apps – good ones

Learning Tools .. (N @ StP) Free
Simple app that lets students make the screen go all Red, Amber, Green … or display a smiley of Happy, Unsure, Sad … etc.
Perfect for “show-of-hands” style voting / whole-class answering
Alternatives:
Reflector App .. N/A Free (ish!)
The leading “display your iPad screen wirelessly on the projector” app.
Alternatives: Buy an AppleTV (small black box that plugs into the projector/IWB) that does the same thing at more cost, direct from Apple
Socrative .. N/A Free
Alternatives:Use it in a web browser, on the desktop – it’s faster, easier, and all-round better. Only use with iPads if you’re in a classroom without computers. Which, admittedly, is most of them (in most schools today)
GoodReader Fancy PDF viewer with improved performance and better copy/paste controls + scribble-on-the-PDF n/a Purchase: £4
Not purchased yet. For students, if you’re getting your classes to read / comment on PDF files, this appears a good option to try (but I believe there are literally thousands of alternative apps that do the same things!). The only problem: you have to buy it for each of them.
Looks like a good candidate for if you need to work with PDF’s – e.g. if your Keynote/Powerpoint doc has failed, or an external person comes into your classroom with an incompatible presentation format (so you use PDF as a backup).
Alternatives: All Apple devices have PDF viewers built-in, but where Apple desktops have a powerful PDF viewer, iPhone and iPad have a very weak one, which is slow (it used to crash often!), and has very few features for annotating and sharing.

Classroom aps – Rejected ones you may like / find useful anyway

Padlet .. N/A Free
On the web, this works as a shared-pinboard, where anyone can create a post-it note, and it appears for everyone at once on their web browser

However, on iPad, it’s poorly-implemented. It works, but feels like a cheap rip-off of the web version – it clearly was NOT written by iPad/Apple developers (feels like the company cut-corners on development here).It doesn’t work properly unless you give the email addresses of all your students (boo!), and uses some very poorly-thought-out sharing systems – e.g. to share a page, you have to type URL’s on the iPad as long as this: “http://padlet.com/long_username_here/secret_code_long_here” – which is ridiculous.

Other major problems include: there’s no display of who wrote which post-it notes, but you can’t edit other-people’s. This is VERY confusing, especially with a classroom full of users.
Note: there’s a pay-for version for schools that adds privacy features, backups, teacher-centric features for managing classes, etc. I haven’t bought it, but the feature list is convincing, appears written by someone with strong familiarity with real classroom teaching: https://padlet.com/premium/backpack. This MIGHT solve the serious problems present in the main, free, version
Alternatives: Google Docs Word document looks less pretty BUT is a lot clearer, a lot easier to edit, and works correctly.
iDoceo Simple class lists + register + markbook all in one app J R @ St Cecilia’s Purchase: £8
Popular, very polished app, but … main part is incompatible with UK schools, most of whom are using school-wide, centralised Registers. However, using it as a glorified Excel spreadsheet with easy tap-to-edit controls gives a decent 100% customizable Mark Book.
No free version, can’t start using immediately – requires significant setup work + learning + reading instructions to get it working. Try it on a colleague’s iPad first – if you like it, it’ll probably be awesome for you, and feel like a bargain price
Positive reviews I’ve read seem to come from teacher’s with relatively light workloads / small classes compared to UK mainstream state schools. Reviewers seem to have luxury of a lot more spare time per lesson than is average.
Alternatives: Google Docs spreadsheet does most of the core features as well or better on a desktop, but is very weak if you lack desktops in classroom, and doesn’t let you wander the room while using it

Apps supported by pedagogy / research:

Find Me (help autistic students develop understanding of social cues, behaviour): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/findme-autism/id491925436?ls=1&mt=8

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