At my institution, we have a one-to-one initiative where a cohort of teacher interns receive iPads prior to starting their field placement. In this program, the iPad is mainly used as a reflective tool where the interns record themselves teaching and analyze their efforts. We also encourage the interns to use the iPads in their teaching as much as they’re able. After distributing the iPads last week, one of the interns tweeted a question asking about the best apps for teaching. While this is not intended to be a complete list of iPad apps for teaching, I thought I’d offer a list of some of my favorites. Feel free to add some of your own as comments.
1. Explain Everything. Explain Everything ($2.99 on the App Store) is an easy to use lesson recorder. The app allows teachers to record narration over a slideshow or a whiteboard and would be prefect for creating short lessons or for a flipped classroom activity. The final recording is easy to post to YouTube, share through email or project to a classroom of students.
2. Dropbox. Everyone has their favorite cloud storage system. Dropbox is mine. When you sign up for Dropbox, you get 2 Gb of storage for free. While that may not sound like a lot, you can build more storage by inviting your friends or students. Using Dropbox is simple. You simply upload documents through the free app or through the Dropbox site. Once a document is saved to Dropbox, it can be accessed through any of your devices. You can also have students submit assignments through Dropittome and grade the papers right on your iPad with an app like Notes Plus, Notability or Penultimate.
3. Google Drive. There are a lot of iPad apps that try to mimic the functions of Powerpoint, Microsoft Word and Excel. While Google Drive may not be the best Office app out there, it does allow quick access to files saved to your Google Drive account and gives you the ability to edit those documents easily. You can also share files to other Google Drive users and manage their access. It’s a perfect way to share lesson plans with teams of teachers or to collaborate on a project with other students.
4. Remind. Formerly known as Remind101, Remind allows safe and efficient communication with students and parents. Remind utilizes texting capabilities to communicate to parents and students but keeps phone numbers private to keep communication secure. The app can be used to schedule meetings, remind students of an upcoming project or send voice clips to clarify the details of an assignment.
5. Socrative. Want to get your students more engaged in class lessons? Socrative is a good place to start. Socrative functions like a classroom gameshow with the instructor asking questions and the students responding. You’ll need to download the free teacher app to get started but students can answer questions via any web-enabled device.
6. iPadagogy Wheel. While this isn’t an app, I felt I should list this awesome resource created by Allan Carrington. The iPadagogy Wheel lists a plethora of iPad apps and connects them to the SAMR model and to Bloom’s Taxonomy. It’s a great starting point for a new teacher who is wondering what type of app they can bring into their classroom. Rather than just listing available technologies, the wheel focuses on the pedagogy first.
7. Reflector. This also isn’t an iPad app but a piece of software that allows you to project your iPad via your Mac, PC or Android device. Reflector is inexpensive ($12.99) but works really well. Simply choose Airplay on your iPad and it projects to your computer screen. Reflector evens supports projecting multiple devices. I would suggest testing out the software before buying it. Some wireless networks can be difficult.