Guidelines for teachers in exploring iPad Educational Apps

   In my pursuit of integrating technology and iPads in the classroom, I have begun to identify the associated problems. On my previous blog I wrote to the problems involved with providing effective and useful Professional Development.

      Another problem associated with integrating technology into the classrooms is providing useful and effective exploration time for teachers and iPad Apps. When exploring iPad Apps for the classroom, it can be helpful to provide guidelines for what and how to look for quality educational apps, tried and tested, that are connected with curriculum learning outcomes. 

  Here are some guidelines and questions that currently help frame my exploration of iPad educational Apps to be more narrow and purposeful in my App selection:

  1. What does the iTunes App Store say? What are the reviews?
    • are the reviews from teachers- are they positive, tried and tested, what is the reception
  2. What kind of internal motivation does the App provide?
    • this will show how long the App will last in my class, and how rewarding
  3. How many levels of difficulty are contained within the App?
    • to meet the levels of each student in a class, or across different grade levels, personalized learning
  4. Do I think the graphics are engaging?
    • this is a subjective measurement but still matters for level of student engagement and fun, and whether the students will want to use the App or not

       In any case, iPads are built to be a personalized tool that can be designed to meet to needs of each individual user. The use of my class set can and will look differently than a class set of iPads at a different school. Our class set is shared across kindergarten to grade 5 classrooms and I am currently not spending any money on any Apps because of the multi-user licencing issues. (In Canada, there is currently no arrangement for multi purchasing of Apps, and I am waiting before multiplying every paid app X30)

      On top of looking in the iTunes Top Education Apps catalogue bestsellers, I also look at different iPad app blogs. Here is my current shortlist of websites that I have found through Twitter to provide useful feedback and recommendations for iPad educational Apps for K-5.

Also, here is my Educational iPad App catalogue that shows all the Apps that are currently on our K-5 iPads.
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4 thoughts on “Guidelines for teachers in exploring iPad Educational Apps

  1. Thank-you for this timely post. Just this am I emailed a few staff with app recommendations. I would love to hear more about the intrinsic motivation, or the lack there of, that you see in your classrooms with iPads. Very curious about this. Thanks again, Paul.

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  2. Thanks for the comment Paul. I have found that instead of dismissing the way that iPad Apps can provide an alternative motivation to learn, I have put my effort into harnessing the highly engaging learning tool that an iPad can be and adding as a supplement to the classroom. The confusion lies in the idea that iPad Apps are to replace classroom learning, when really Apps can serve as an addition to the learning that is already takin place. In our school, I am the computer teacher and act as a supplemently teacher to our schools learning. I see all the students once a week and use the iPads during this time. I see the ultimate goal as to use the iPads with the classroom teachers, in the classroom, to more integrate the iPads. So in this way, the iPads are in addition to, and not as a replacement to what is happening in the class. I think it is safe to say that as educator we are to embrace the technology around us, and allow it to add color to our classroom. Agree?

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  3. A curiosity for what's new and an eye for the innovative helps. A healthy app-itite for what comes out daily for free using an app aggregator doesn't hurt either. I dwnld way more than I ever end up using and prune things back to the necessary after a week or so of non-use.

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  4. Thanks for your post here – always re-reading blogs I enjoy. Now that summer is here I have some time to get to the apps that have been recommended to me. Keep the app-etite growing!

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