Below you can find the current apps on my school’s iPads. After the trial, I went through what we’d done and what people liked, downloaded a bunch of stuff, and deleted a bunch of stuff. So here’s how it stands right now:
I’ll go through each page and highlight some of my school’s favorite/most useful apps
- Dragon Dictation: Free speech to text app. I don’t really need to say anything more.
- Pages: We tried a couple of other word processing tools, but Apple’s is really the best and easiest to use. The only feature that some other apps have over it is that there’s no inline drawing tool built in.
- Popplet: Great for making quick, great-looking idea webs. We used this in a math class to show factorization of numbers. Lets you write by typing or finger/stylus.
- Toontastic: Probably my single most favorite app. Kids create cartoons either with a set of toys or from their own drawings. I love how this app introduces and reinforces knowledge of basic story structure.
- Storyrobe: This app is the utility player. Take a set of pictures, then narrate a story over them (up to 3 minutes). You could use this app all day long in every class. Kids can create their own pictures or look for pictures online. Designed for the iPhone/iPod Touch, I really wish this app had full iPad support with some basic controls over the images like rotation and cropping.
So far, math apps really seem to mostly be focused on drilling basic facts. Depending on your school’s math program, this could either be overkill or a great supplement to instruction.
- Maths Mania: basic facts. drag the answers up to match with the answers. Fast-paced, fun sounds.
- Pearl Diver: Practice number line skills. Starts off basic with 0 to 10, second level moves quickly into negative numbers.
- PopMath: another iPhone app, you need to pop pairs of problems and answers
- Clock Master: manipulate an analog clock to match a digital clock, or vice versa
- Rocket Math: this turned out to be my favorite of the math games. Very robust, deals with lots of subject areas, plus it has a component of building onto your rocket that would keep kids coming back to it repeatedly.
- Maps/Google Earth: Great way to get a picture of our world. Especially with younger kids, I’d tend towards Maps, because it always maintains North/South, while it’s easy for a kid to flip things around in Earth. Pinch to zoom/move really shines here for kids to easily manipulate the maps.
- Stack the States: very fun game for learning about the states. Perfect for 4th grade geography.
- 3D Brain: the kids loved looking at the inside of brains.
- MirrorPaint: very easy to produce good-looking results. Great way to teach about symmetry.
- Pottery HD: cool app that lets you sculpt, fire, paint, and sell your creations
- Doodle Buddy: this is probably the most KidPix-like painting app
To some degree, a lot of these have been supplanted by the $5 GarageBand. These are free and appropriate for quick play, though.
- Virtuoso: Pretty basic piano app.
- Soundrop: create music by drawing lines around the screen. Very cool.
- Classical Guitar: basic acoustic guitar app.
- BarrelTones: basic drum kit app
- Baby Scratch: sound like a DJ scratching records
- TanZen: Manipulate Tangrams to create shapes.
- Special mention here goes to Chicktionary, which was definitely the favorite game for teachers.
- Spell Blocks: App tells you a sightword, you try and spell it with mixed up blocks. Has levels from Primer to 3rd grade
- Word Magic: App says a word and shows you a picture, you fill in the missing letter
- PocketPhonic: I love this app for how it helps the kids work on their spelling and their letter formations.
- DinoMath: Basic addition and subtraction skills, but this app will show the kids pictures to represent the numbers so they can start counting them.
There’s a bunch of fun, interactive picture books. I think my standout recommendations on the free front are the StoryChimes books, because they have a whole ton of fairy tales books that are ad-supported. Of the ones you can pay money for, I’ve particularly enjoyed A Present for Milo and Food Fight.