Getting Started With iPads

One of the questions I get asked the most in my current work role is, ‘What apps would you put on iPads when you first start using them with students?’

It’s actually a difficult question to answer. I’m a big believer in finding resources to achieve an outcome but this is actually the other way around – find some resources then apply them to learning.

In the end I like to point people toward apps that have potential to allow students to be creative and develop higher order thinking skills. As such, I rarely recommend ‘education’ apps as they are frequently focused on lower order thinking and ‘drill & practice’ style learning. Whilst there may be a place for this in education, teachers already have access to loads of resources that meet this need. Consider the SAMR model – there is no point using an iPad app as a direct substitute for existing practices.

Anyway, the point of this post is to provide a basic list of apps for starting out with iPads in the Classroom. Most of these apps can be used across stages of learning and curriculum areas. I do not pay any attention to the cost of apps. Let’s face it, we seem to have become rather concerned about spending $5 on an app when we have spent years purchasing software for thousands of dollars.

The Basic App Toolset (These can be used for individual or shared iPads)

  • iMovie
  • GarageBand
  • Sonic Pics
  • Creative Book Builder
  • Strip Designer
  • Dropbox
  • Popplet Lite

For iPads in 1:1 settings

  • Evernote
  • Flipboard
  • Skype

Some people are quite focused on using iPads for documents and presentations. iPads are not designed for word processing – use a computer. Keynote is quite useful for creating presentations and slide shows.

There are obviously loads of other great apps available and this list is by no means a definitive list of all the best apps for education. In the end you need to find apps that will help to achieve your outcomes.

Try some of these websites for app reviews and suggestions for apps to use.


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