There are several options to choose in the tablet market. Some apps are better at creating learning objects, some are better for displaying materials and some are productivity tools. I have looked at dozens of new apps that are designed for the instructional marketplace. Here are the best. Chris St.John (DAU P/M) ________________________________________
Bento for iPad Filemaker, Inc. brings its wildly popular productivity application Bento from the iPhone to the iPad. With 25 different database templates to choose from, the harried teacher can organize anything and everything he or she needs to rein in the occasionally overwhelming chaos. Some of these, such as the student list, directly address the needs of educators. People of all professions take advantage of Bento’s fantastic features to ease the stresses of everyday life, making the small price tag a worthy investment in peace of mind. Cost $4.99 Video tutuorial also available $1.99
Board Cam LiteUse your iPAD2 as a Document Camera. The nice part of having the iPAD2 is that it displays everything. That includes the camera on the front and on the back. Board Cam allows the iPAD2 to become a Document Camera. You may want to invest into something with a cradle to hold the iPad upright and in the same location. I like to use the iPAD keyboard dock. This app allows annotation on what the camera is viewing or to have a laser pointer to show something specific. Cost: FREE
Collaborate in GroupsUse Shareboard or Whiteboard VGA Out to have student link together. Students can share whiteboard space, and draw on one screen. Whiteboard VGA Out can allow one drawing space to be displayed through the VGA Connector. Shareboard Cost $7.99; Shareboard Client (Reader) FREE
Conference PadThis amazing app allows a student (or multiple students) to connect to a teacher device and see the same thing that they see, at the same time. It is simple, fast and high quality, and it allows the “receiver” to zoom and scroll around. Automatic mirroring, panning, zoom, laser pointer, etc. Connect an iPad to a projector too and communicate while moving freely from anywhere in the wifi. Each device needs to have the software loaded. I have used it with PDFs of presentations, and it is a fantastic way to share information, albeit only 15 simultaneous devices in a wifi are supported (5 in Bluetooth). GREAT technology, and another one that makes me ask ‘How do they do that?’ Cost $4.99, but only need to purchase one time for all your devices.
Docs AnywhereAs its nomenclature implies, Docs Anywhere allows iPad users a high degree of portability for their digital documents. Capable of reading Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF files, rich text, plain text, HTML, and other file formats, it allows transfer between desktop and portable device using USB and iTunes. Instructors who prefer working on their home machines can very easily transport their work to the classroom on their iPads, which also provides e-mailing capabilities for an added dimension of file preservation. Cost $1.99
DoD News ReaderThe Department of Defense News Reader grabs the top stories from the DoD and delivers them to your iPhone/iTouch. Keep up with the latest News feeds: Cost FREE• AFPS News Articles• DoD Press Advisories• DoD News Releases• DoD Contract Announcements• DoD Transcripts• DoD Speeches• DoD Blogger’s Roundtable
DropboxDropbox is useful before, during and after class. This free, universal cloud storage service is great for storing your lesson plans, items you wanted to share with the class, SMART lessons, and more. No need to remember to burn CDs/DVDs, or email things to yourself. Simply drop everything into your Dropbox, and it’s just there, on any computer you use, on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or even other smartphones. Set up shared files and folders with other teachers or with students. The possibilities are quite numerous, and a quick Internet search will reveal all sorts of ways that instructors are using Dropbox to streamline their workflow. Instructors who come across great bits of online multimedia to enhance a lecture can save their valuable findings for future offline viewing and organize them into specific galleries. Use Dropbox as a means to send file to students to complete using whatever document editor that is loaded. (I prefer to use Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite.). Rename the file and upload back to Dropbox to be graded. I’ve been using this service for years and never come close to using up the free 2GB, but if you are storing a lot of video and other storage-intense media, you may need a premium subscription. Cost FREE
Dragon DictationVery easy for you AND students. Convert your speech to text, then email, save it as a TXT file, or copy and paste to another app (you can even post the text as a comment on Facebook or Twitter). I have found Dragon Dication to be very accurate every time I have used the app…rarely do I edit to the text produced by the app. One thing I like to do with this app is “take notes” as I read articles on my iPad. While reading I will switch to Dragon Dictation, then say a summary of the article or points I want to remember, then say the website where I found the info. Cost FREE! (Opinion: Shouldn’t be…)
eClicker Audience response systems aka “Clickers” are becoming all the rage in classrooms. The technology makes realtime survey and assessment possible through devices throughout the classroom. The instructor displays a question and the students respond anonymously with supplied devices providing the class with instant feedback. With the eClicker Host, this advanced technology can be produced all from your laptops, iPhones or iPads, thus saving the cost of buying a commercial-grade product. The app is universal and works over wifi. The beauty of eClicker is that students can use any wifi-enabled device with a browser to interact with the class. From surveys to pop quizzes, eClicker can make a class or meeting more interactive and exciting. Students with iDevices can use the free eClicker app to formulate and send their responses to eClicker Host questions. Cost FREE!
Essay GraderMany courses have writing requirements and essay-style homework assignments. With Essay Grader for iPad, grading can be streamlined with meaningful feedback comments for students. The app provides criteria checkboxes to quickly evaluate essays and writing assignments, which generate a graded evaluation form. Each step can be (and should be) personalized for the student with more specific comments. It walks through a paper from introduction to conclusion, and allows for in depth commenting through a checklist system. While this app is preloaded with more secondary feedback items, each comment can be adjusted to your specific criteria, which means it could be used at many levels with consistency throughout. The app then allows for exporting to your computer and you can send students their feedback directly through email, based on the details you have set up for each student. If you teach a subject with serious writing assignments, Essay Grader for iPad could save you time and enhance the feedback to your students. This app clearly has had a great deal of thought put into its development, and is very detailed. There is also a separate version for the iPhone. Cost: $5.99 Lite version FREE
gFlashPro Dedicated to the distribution of knowledge anywhere, any time, gFlashPro serves students, teachers, and trivia junkies alike. Download flash cards assignment, quiz, and test inspiration, store images and audio for reference or incorporation into a lecture, and much more. The little quizzes even allow educators to test their own proficiency in the fields they teach and help them build up on the areas where they could use a nice, quick boost. When using this function, gFlashPro also keeps track of progress made when testing oneself! Works with iPad and iPhones. Cost $3.99
Good ReaderI use this one all the time! You can save, view, annotate, and organize PDF, Office, iWork, HTML, audio, and video files using Good Reader. I frequently find files online that I would like to save for later. All I do is open them in Good Reader and I have it on my iPad for good. The files are easily organized and you can connect to DropBox, MobileMe, or other cloud services. Cost $4.99
HP ePrintPrint to any HP printer on the same network as the iPad. NOT AirPrint! Yes, that’s right, you read it right, no need to buy a new printer just to print with your iPad. HP ePrint will print PDFs, .txt, .jpg, .png, .tiff, and .bmp files on any HP printer. I print to a 7 year old HP LaserJet 1320 with this app! It is sloooowww…but it gets the job done. Cost: FREE
iCram Ostensibly for students, iCram actually offers quite a few benefits for instructors as well. The multiple choice, flash card format saves resources, time, and energy when it comes to whipping up a quick assignment, quiz, or test. In addition, users are granted the ability to access an online database of questions as well as pre-established assignments. iCram boasts its own benefits for all elements of education, though, making it a well-rounded application to download and use. Cost $2.99
iPAD Audio/Video Podcast Studio AppsStudents can use iPrompt Pro on one iPad and DJ SoundBox Pro on another iPad near the recording device (iPad using iTalk Lite if creating an audio podcast). The iPad with iPrompt Pro acts as a teleprompter with the text that scrolls on the screen. DJ SoundBox and Soundbox Pro (more effects) plays sound effects such as radio news breaks and other sounds. The podcast can be recorded and uploaded to a storage site. iPrompt Pro Cost: FREE DJ Soundbox/Pro Cost: $0.99
Keynote Teachers looking for a few visual aids to go along with their lectures would do well to explore what Keynote has to offer them. For ease of use, they can choose from 12 premade themes and sprinkle their notes with animations, pictures, tables, charts, videos, and other multimedia touches. Keynote offers a tutorial to explain how to create a presentation file, but Keynote is very intuitive and user-friendly. There are only a handful of themes to choose from, but they are all classic and aesthetically pleasing. The iPad hooks up to external displays, projectors, desktops, and laptops so the presenter can reach a large audience; nobody has to crowd around the tiny display screen, though files can easily be bounced from machine to machine via e-mail and PDF files. Keynote offers standard editing capabilities, including animation. It is also compatible with PowerPoint, so you can open and edit PowerPoint files — and the presentation can be emailed in Keynote, PDF or PowerPoint formats. Cost: $9.99
KindleLets you read all Kindle books on a very clean and user-friendly interface. It automatically syncs your last page read, bookmarks, notes and highlights. Read over 775,000 books. Get free book samples. Search for something specific in the book: A character, a topic or a section. Cost: Free
LanSchool Teacher’s Assistant With technology and internet access becoming more and more mainstream in the classroom, one of the more pressing concerns involves how to monitor computer use to curb abuse and distractions. Fortunately, LanSchool’s extremely valuable Teacher’s Assistant application caters to these issues, providing educators with the ability to black out any distracting or offensive screens, limit what their students can and cannot do on their machines, send messages to students, allow silent, individualized help sessions, and take quick polls. Allowing teachers to monitor computer usage helps bolster productivity for all involved. Cost: Free
Mathematical Formulas For only $0.99, math teachers (or even those involved with sciences requiring the manipulation of numbers) have a quick conduit for referencing the various formulas from various disciplines. Students can throw their educators for a loop sometimes, so it helps to have the information on hand to answer any questions that crop up during a lesson. Users also have access to examples that illustrate how the equations work, making this a handy tool for cranking out quick assignments, quizzes, and tests as well.
Mobile Air Mouse Turn the iPhone or iPad into a viable wireless remote or track pad using Mobile Air Mouse, which fortunately sports far more uses than these. Instructors with a love of incorporating technology into the classroom will appreciate how it functions as an all-in-one tool with a number of excellent remote control, trackpad, keyboard, and foreign language functions – they can even place a computer into sleep mode and wake it back up! The application comes very much in handy for controlling the visual aids during lectures by reducing the amount of necessary equipment. Cost iPhone: $1.99; Cost iPad $2.99
NoterizeTaking Notes on Notes. Most instructors have their notes in a downloadable PDF format. Open the PDF in Noterize app. Students can highlight and place comment notes on the PDF. Files can be saves to a device or back to a cloud storage. Noterize gives similar functionality to Adobe Acrobat Reader 9. Cost: Free
Outliner for iPadOutliner serves a couple of different uses for instructors, who can also discover their own creative applications the better acquainted they become with the interface. Users create and streamline lists and outlines for various projects, making this an excellent resource for writing up lecture notes, keeping grade sheets, drawing rubrics, and more. Because education is a dizzying field with much to organize and track, any workers with access to an iPad should take advantage of Outliner’s offerings to stay on top of everything. Cost $4.99
Pages Create gorgeous and effective handouts, tests, quizzes, assignments, notes, and presentations using Apple’s own word processing application. With 16 templates for everything from cards to fliers, users start working on what really matters right off the bat. Teachers who take advantage of everything it has to offer can incorporate graphs, charts, videos, and photos into their projects to add interest and better illustrate information. Capable of file sharing, Pages also allows for saving files in convenient Word and PDF formats as well. Cost $9.99
PenultimateThis is a great app that allows you to make freehand notes, draw diagrams and stores your work in handy ‘notebooks’ that you can rename to keep your work organized. One of the great parts of this app is the ‘ink’ that it uses. As opposed to other drawing apps, the developers have created a realistic flow to the pen that makes it feel very fluid and realistic in its movement. I really enjoy drawing in this app, and it has also spurred similar apps to include some of the same features. I really like this app for taking notes, particularly in meetings where I am not writing a great deal. It is comfortable and works without setting up a ‘keyboard’ orientation. It’s even better if you pick up a Pogo stylus for more control, and realistic writing. Cost $1.99
PlanbookLesson Plan app! Create lesson plans that can be emailed or printed. One reason I promote this app is the developer is very responsive to suggestions and requests. I “liked” his Planbook page on Facebook where I have found he answers all questions. The app is not perfect yet, but it’s close. There are 6 customizable text fields which I have named: Overview, Standards, Objectives, Opening/Explicit Instruction/Modeling, Guided Practice, Close/Review/Reflections. Cost $9.99
Power Presenter Power Presenter lets you display a presentation (Keynote and PowerPoint included) that’s been converted to a PDF file. There are two ways to open the PDF file on your iPad—you can upload it via the file sharing function in iTunes or you can upload it from an e-mail by holding down the attachment icon. Once the file is uploaded, you can present it, mark on slides using the pen and erase markings, and email the marked-up slides to your audience. The app also has a whiteboard feature and provides access to the web with one tap. Cost: $1.99
ShhmoozeAn app that helps you find and connect with useful and interesting people at conferences and events. Use it by creating your professional profile on Shhmooze and share with other colleagues on Shhmooze. Check into the event, check out who else is attending, wave or send a message and then meet up for a chat. Cost: Free
SG Project SG Project is Simple Genius for project schedule management. Most of us manage projects of one form or another, whether at home, at work, or at school. For professionals, Project Management is a discipline that takes years to learn and the requisite tools can be daunting to use. SG Project was designed specifically to take advantage of the unique features of the iPad platform and deliver a touch-based, easy-to-use tool for both professionals and non-professionals. The app has been featured in New and Noteworthy, What’s Hot, and has been on the Top Charts of the Business category since it was introduced.
SG Project 3 takes mobile project management to new levels by introducing Dropbox integration, VGA projector support, data sharing with SG Project Go for iPhone, and a refined user interface. It also addresses the other top requests including tasks in hours, ability to assign multiple people to a task, parent task expand/collapse, and more. Cost: SG Project (one project) $9.99; SG Project Pro (multi-projects) $39.99 SG Project features:
• Create multiple projects and quickly switch between them• Create tasks with a start date and duration for each• Rearrange task rows using standard iPad gestures• Set Start Date, Duration, People, and Percent Done for each task• Group child tasks underneath a parent task and expand/collapse the list• Set predecessor dependencies between tasks• Table and Gantt-style Views with 3-Position split view and zoom in/out • Use integrated Dropbox support to share project data with teammates• Share data on a projector using VGA support• Export to PDF or XML and email directly to the project team from within the app• 2-way integration with MS Project using XML• Schedule projects using an 8-hour Monday – Friday, All Days, or 24×7 schedule
SimpleMindThis is an amazing mind mapping software for the iPad that reminds me of my excitement when I first used Inspiration. It is that user friendly. It is not as robust as the desktop program, but it certainly takes mind mapping on the go to the next level. Varying colors, levels and export options make this an app to watch for. I am so glad I found this, as it was the ‘missing link’ from the desktop brainstorming. Cost: Free; Pro version: $6.99
Sundry Notes Not only does Sundry Notes serve a valuable organizational purpose, it also costs nothing as well! With the ability to import PDF files, format writings, make quick drawings, run searches of Wikipedia, Google, and Google Books, snag images off the Internet, make recordings, and much more. Instructors need to download this application to help keep everything they need for class organized in one place. You will especially enjoy the ability to work on virtual graph paper. Cost: Free; Pro version: $2.99
TeacherPalSince taking attendance and keeping a grade book is a regular task for all teachers, having a great solution on your iPhone or iPad is a must. This simple, effective, free, universal app belongs on every teacher’s iDevice. Take attendance; track grades and behavior for your students. Set up a profile for each student that can even include information such as allergies. You can email parents and/or students directly from the app. Import csv files. You can link and back up to your Dropbox account. With the iCloud will come an option for syncing information between your iDevices. Why not try this app out before you try any of the paid options? Cost: Free
TeacherToolIf the free TeacherPal isn’t enough for you, there is TeacherTool — a complex grading and classroom management app for iPhone. This is a five-star program. Options and settings are a plenty and if you want more than just simple attendance, assignments, and grading, look no further than TeacherTool. In addition to the standard grading features, you can set up of checklists for events, such as tracking which students have paid for the upcoming field trip. Data is easily exported for Excel via email attachment. However, app lacks the ability to send out mass emails to students and parents, and the complexity of the interface will be daunting to some. The app comes in three pricing structures. The free version allows for only one class; the “flex” version is a pay as a you go through in-app purchase, adding features as you pay; and the full multi-course version is $30.99. We would certainly recommend trying the free version first to see if this app suits your teaching style.
Obviously, many more iPad applications exist to make the lives of instructors that much easier and creative. Take advantage of what they have to offer as well in order to provide students with well-rounded lessons that nurture them both inside and outside the classroom.
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