Sunday, May 11, 2014

iPad Intrigue-- Pinpointing Phenomenal iPad Apps for Your Classroom

Looking back at a post from my old weblog, I wrote about receiving and setting up an iPad. The post had over 100,000 views alone, which amazed me beyond belief. Expanding upon what I wrote then, I believe having at least one iPad is important because--
1. It generates enthusiasm for learning.
2. Using well-designed, informational apps enhances and reinforces your instruction.

This morning, I decided to revisit that list and add new apps as well (because it is now two and a half years later, and technology keeps evolving).

Barefoot Atlas-- Price-- $4.99-- I have never downloaded the expansion packs for this app and plan on keeping it that way because without them, this is one of the most phenomenal, artistically exquisite apps out there. Students are able to "explore" the world in a manner that engages them, and hopefully in the process of exploration, their geographical knowledge is solidified. There are numerous clickable components as students make their way around the virtual "globe" that offers real photographs and sound bits as well as informational quips. I recommend this app for students in grades K-8 because honestly, even the youngest students can benefit from being exposed to our continents, countries, and states early.

Bill Nye the Science Guy-- Free-- This app does not have a plethora of content, though I cannot demand immense amounts of content for a free download, making the application worth trying. Students can "explore" Bill's desk by watching video clips, checking out a few experiments that can be completed at home, and playing a few games (Get Your Rocket to Pluto and Dig for Science Treasure).

Presidents (An app from Disney)-- Cost-- $3.99-- This app has amassed a few awards-- Parent's Choice Award Winner, Scholastic Instructor's *50 Best Apps for Teachers*, and Entertainment Weekly's Best of 2012. It is visually appealing with a great deal of information covered about each president in the "Oval Office Scrapbook". The preview you see on this page is the "scrapbook spread" about Abraham Lincoln. Here is more information covered about the app at Best Apps for Kids.

GarageBand-- Cost-- Free-- I have been a fan of GarageBand for quite some time. This app transforms your iPad into a "recording studio" of sorts with a plethora of instruments made available at your fingertips. There are ways in which you can play the instruments together to create an original "orchestrated" composition. It is also appalling (in a wonderful way, of course) that this app is free, with all it offers.

Virtual Manipulatives-- Cost-- Free-- Seriously, take a look at this app. It is PHENOMENAL for being free! As you see below, this app gives students the opportunity to compare fractions, decimals, and percents in a "concrete" manner. Here is a blog post elsewhere that explains even more about the app.

Math Dictionary (A Maths Dictionary for Kids)-- Cost-- $2.99-- I was always an advocate of the book, so when I saw it presented in app form, I had to download it. Also, the cost is fine for all the app offers!

MoonPhase by Peter Smith-- Cost-- Free-- The MoonPhase app shows students the upcoming as well as the current moon phase. Students can have a countdown (to the minute) to the next phase of the moon. They can also see a simulation of the moon as it appears to them because they can pinpoint their precise location, not just choose the "nearest city".

Solar System-- Cost-- $13.99-- This app is beyond gorgeous in its presentation. There are more than 150 story pages that are "lavishly illustrated with interactive scenes, 3D objects and videos-- now Retina compatible and stunning on the iPad screen" (their words). There is information about the latest space missions and the orbits, interactive simulations that help students to see images like the Oort Cloud or tectonic plates up close, and live data from WolframAlpha. Also, WIRED Magazine wrote-- "There is so much to this application that I can only begin to scratch the surface on its offerings. As with The Elements the content and presentation truly make learning fun and inspiring."

Solar Walk-- Cost-- $2.99-- A 3D Solar System Model-- This app has an extremely high rating and offers exactly what is indicated in the title. This Best of 2012 award winner offers an exquisite, high-definition, three-dimensional "journey".

Wonders of Geology-- Cost-- $12.99-- This virtual book offers stunning, engaging images and a plethora of valuable information that can enhance ANY study of geological features. There are interactive features as well that cannot be a part of just any book.

Arcademics Apps-- These apps, which cost .99, offer the interactive math games that are featured on the Arcademics (formerly known as Arcademic Skill Builders) website. A few of them are Multiplication Grand Prix and Drag Race Division.

Sky at Night-- Man in Space-- Cost-- $5.99-- This is also one of the most beautiful apps I have come across, documenting 50 years of mankind's quests in space.

WWF Together-- Cost-- Free-- This app, from the World Wildlife Federation, is beautiful because it offers a wealth of information about animals around the world. The organization and presentation of this app is out-of-this-world, realistic and intriguing. It, in my humble opinion, is one of the ten best free downloads iTunes has to offer.

The Rock Cycle-- Cost-- Free-- A unique simulation of the rock cycle is offered in this app. It can be enhanced by an app like Folds and Faults, which costs .99.

iTalk-- Cost-- Free-- This is a free recording app that serves its purpose, wonderful for podcasting in the classroom.

NASA App HD-- Cost-- Free-- This interesting and informational app focuses on numerous aspects of NASA's space program.

Win A Spin HD-- Cost-- 0.99-- designed this app that lets teachers type in options that show up when a wheel is spun.

BrainPop Featured Movie-- Cost-- Free-- I have been a fan of BrainPop for quite some time. Knowing they have an excellent app like this excites me. I am grateful the featured movies are free- and I hope they correlate from time to time with what I have taught so I can bring a small group of students aside to explore. Check out this app here. 

Ansel and Clair's Adventures in Africa-- Cost-- $4.99-- I love virtual vacations, and this is no exception! The interface is vibrant, sparking your adventurous spirit. Here is an entire blog post dedicated to this app. 

My Bird World-- Cost-- $1.99-- In this app, students test their knowledge to "win" up to 24 different kinds of exotic birds, place them in one of six habitats, and play four fun games to keep their minds well-nourished. You can learn about birds like the American avocet, hummingbird, and yellow warbler.

Motion Math-- Cost-- $1.99-- This $1.99 app is appropriate for ages 7-8+ and is WONDERFUL for reviewing number sense. It reviews concepts like number lines, fractions, percentages, pie graphs, and decimals, which are important for any 3rd-5th grade student to learn. There are wonderful encouraging sounds to keep kids engaged while they play this game as well.

Slice It!-- Cost-- $1.99-- Divide various shapes into equal parts. This colorful $1.99 app is great for all elementary-aged children, giving their brains a geometry-related workout!

English Idioms, Illustrated-- Cost-- Free-- English Idioms, Illustrated is an AMAZING free app that works well for reading and writing classes. We must all cover figurative language in our Language Arts curriculum. 

K12 Timed Reading Practice--
This $1.99 purchase can track 1-minute fluency readings for you. 

National Park Maps HD from National Geographic--
These maps seem great for reviewing text features with your students. Click here to learn more about this $1.99 app. 

Multiplication and Division Flash Action--
This is an awesome $4.99 app that reviews multiplication and division, recommended for ages 8+, though younger students can use it as well. Very colorful.

Middle School Math--
This $3.99 app from Interactive Elementary has some elements that are quite appropriate for the upper elementary audience. 

How to Make Origami--
It is important to review chronological order and the author's purpose of explaining, so this free app can be a great resource to brighten your reading curriculum a tad. The folding for each animal is explained step-by-step.

Great Migrations HD--
This free National Geographic app seems VERY impressive and can be a great tool to teach science. 

Strip Designer--
Digital Storytelling is amazing, so Strip Designer is worth $2.99, in my opinion. You choose a layout, upload photos, and then insert captions. 

I can hardly believe this app is free, but it is. It seems easy to navigate as well. 

Of course, there was more I could have mentioned, but hopefully, this was a sufficient introduction, especially if you new to the world of iPad apps. Mention more in the comments section, if you would like! Have an enjoyable week.