What apps to choose?

Not sure if there is an app for that? According to Jeff Cormier, as of April 2011, iPad alone had over 80,000 apps exclusively for its use. An impressive number for a device that started with 10,000 apps just one year earlier! Apple Education boasts hundreds of educationally related apps and has kindly categorized them by content area for us, with new apps literally being added daily. However, rather than posting reviews of the “best” apps (and believe me there are thousands of sites reviewing educational apps for the classroom ... just use any search engine), let’s create an “in house” review page of the apps we try in our district, with our kids. At Coal Tyee, we chose to limit the number apps we explored and attempted to think about how we could use them deeply and broadly. We had the iPads for two weeks (weekends included) and the iPods for eight weeks. To support and futher our professional learning, we created a blog for the teachers involved in the pilot. We used the blog to share our learning, questions, frustrations and successes. It gave us an opportunity to share without having to schedule a meeting. To view our blog, click here.

Please note: Because we have student samples using Doodle Buddy, PhotoCard Lite & Story Kit, these apps each have their own page. Please feel free to contact treynolds@sd68.bc.ca to request access to this page to add your reviews, experiences and/or student’s samples.

App or Built in Feature
Examples of Uses and Reflections
(Built in app/feature)
  • recording oral reading to improve fluency
  • practicing oral presentations before presenting
  • recording ‘mock’ interviews with a character of a book
  • Fantastic!
  • Easy ... Kids picked it up how to record, save and delete in no time
  • Important for students to save recordings with their name and division especially when sharing devices across grades
  • Have students only keep the “best” recording as the number of files grows quickly.
(Built in app/feature)
  • practicing “country presentations” before presenting, used criteria afterwards to evaluate selves
  • video club used to create a mystery movie, learned editing techniques (we downloaded the video into the lab and used “movie maker”)
  • recording dance presentations and viewing to adjust choreography
  • recording celebrating student successes at track and field meet
  • Fantastic!
  • So easy to manipulate, record, save and delete
  • Clear expectations need to be set with each class re: acceptable use – students began taping one another within minutes of receiving an iPod
(Built in app/feature)
  • capturing images that support curricular content (taking pics of ‘structures’, ‘shapes’, ‘living and non living’)
  • Fantastic!
  • Easy to operate, save, delete
  • Crucial to teach students how to ‘tag’ their photos for easy retrieval
  • practicing printing or cursive writing
  • practicing spelling words
  • Good
  • A little tricky to manipulate, save and delete. More practice time may have streamlined it more
  • Kids enjoyed, a novel way of practicing spelling words. They liked being able to erase mistakes by simply shaking the device.
7 words
Scrabble Free
  • practiced making words
  • These word games work well as ‘fillers’ while we sorted out unforeseen technical issues ... it happens!
  • Management saver!
  • Kids loved these apps and wanted to play often
  • Probability games (we used "4 Great Math Games")
  • Fun, quiet, clean
  • Play any probability game that you would play with die or flipping a coin
Here are a couple of YouTube Videos that truly reflect our experiences using iTalk: