I have only had an iPad for the past month or so. It’s not mine, it belongs to the school district. I earned the right to use it by winning during a lunchtime rap battle on a professional development day. (I won’t deny it was cheesy, but I really wanted the prize, and I am proud of rhyming “social media” with “Wikipedia.”)
As such, I am still quite the newb when it comes to apps and things, but these are my five favorite apps I have been using. I am absolutely and completely open to hearing more recommendations, though!
ChatterPix Kids: A very easy to use app that lets you lend your voice to an inanimate object. I used it to make a can of sliced mushrooms tell about the school canned food drive for our morning announcements. I can’t wait to use it for other things. (There is also a non-“kids” version of the app, and the only difference I can find is the inclusion of a martini glass sticker.)
Pic Collage for Kids: Another easy to use app that allows you to make collages. You can take photos and include them; you can use the stickers that come bundled in the app; you can also use images obtained from simple web searches. Be careful the the web searches, though – even using the kids version, I have managed to find web images that had some bad language. And at least once I couldn’t find anything related to my search term anyway. (I was searching for “snow leopard” and got pictures of snow and Snow White.) I made collages of our November students of the month and turned them into a slideshow for our morning announcements and school website.
Zoombinis: My family’s collective favorite computer game from the nineties is back as an iPad and Android app! And it holds up, too. Solve logic puzzles to help weird little blue folks safely reach a new homeland. It’s the kind of game you dive into and figure out as you go along, without reading a manual – so it may work pretty well with even pre-readers. I of course still love it, but I allowed some third graders to try it out and see if it still holds up. They’re intrigued. It’s worth the $4.99 price tag, in my opinion.
Khan Academy: Okay, so it helps that I was already using Khan Academy in my classroom with students. So I’m not judging the app as a standalone; I am already positively influenced by other experiences using Khan Academy. The login on the computer is easier than with the app, but I can see some positives about the app too. The interface is slightly different – in fact, many of the check-answer entry methods remind me of using a Nintendo DS. (I play a lot of Professor Layton games in my spare time.) So while I think I overall prefer using the website on the computer, I think the app is pretty great too – it makes Khan Academy more portable, and could perhaps reach kids just a little differently.
Book Creator: Okay, so this isn’t one I’ve used yet, but it is one I am looking forward to using with my after school group. We’re hoping to publish at least one ebook this quarter. One of my colleagues in my district has helped students publish 63 books online , and Book Creator is one of his favorite engines for that. So while I haven’t used it quite yet, I have been a witness to its great success!
I am realizing that I have two photo manipulation apps, one game app, one strictly educational app, and one book publishing app on my short list. I would love to hear more recommendations!