Ten iPad Apps every Student should have and how to use them.


Increasingly, schools are adopting the iPad as the student computing device of choice due to it’s flexibility, hardiness and price point.  The fact is that even with such a great tool you can’t actually do anything substantial on the iPad without some great open-ended apps for students to create content with.

These apps are what I would call essential apps every student should have if they want to source and create content that supports god quality teaching and learning. 

These are open ended, and offer numerous learning opportunities.  They are not games or apps specifically related to an area of the curriculum.  They are apps that encompass all areas of learning and encourage personalized learning.

My next task is to create some lesson plans or tutorials for each of these apps that you can use in the classroom.

You will also note none of these apps include pricing as it changes so frequently.  Please refer to the iTunes link for the correct pricing for your region.

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Evernote is the do everything app for the iPad and can essentially do parts of many of the apps listed below.  It is a great app for recording notes, pictures, images and video that can be utilized for a number of purposes such as note taking and creating digital portfolios.

  • Submit Projects Online
  • Create a digital portfolio
  • Record and reflect upon a reading sample


This is a handwriting app that allows students to write on their iPad and use it as they would use a notebook. The great thing about Penultimate is that it gives students the power to organize their notes into notebooks then go on to organize the individual pages for those notes. The app is customizable as it allows the user to add their own notes and share them as PDF files and it also integrates with Evernote as a further bonus.

    • Handwriting lessons on the iPad
    • Create Mindmaps
    • Digital Drawing Tool


    There is no better solution to creating and editing videos on the iPad.  It offers a number of great templates and an incredibly easy to use interface students can create a movie of their own with confidence

    • Document a project
    • Self reflection videos
    • Peer Feedback videos
    • Create an annotated photo essay
    • Slow motion analysis


    Much like iMovie. Garageband offers students to create music and podcasts with ease.  It also offers a vast array of options for the serious musician who wants to record something live or create a soundscape from loops and samples.

    • Create a Podcast
    • Record a Soundscape of your school
    • Create a soundtrack to a video

    Google Drive

    Google Drive offers iPad users FREE office functionality including a capable word processor, spreadsheet and Presentation tool.  Make no mistake it is not as easy on the eye or contains the beautiful templates of the Apple products listed below, but it does offer up to 50 people to simultaneously work on a document and integrated cloud storage which no other product can.  I believe it is a must have, even if you already own the apps listed below for it’s collaborative aspect alone.

    • Complete a team project
    • Create a class newsletter
    • Shared bulletin boards and calendar

    Numbers, Pages and Keynote

    This is Apple’s take on Microsoft Office and Google Doc’s and they do a very good job of it on the iPad.  Beautiful templates, simple navigation and iCloud integration make it the premium office suite on the iPad but you will have to pay around $20 for the complete suite.  Definitely worth it if price is not a sticking point.

    • Numerous Spreadsheet Application
    • Create a portfolio in Keynote
    • Publish written work in Pages


    Mindmeister is a beautiful mind-mapping tool which allows students to link ideas and create concept maps on their iPads.  It is very simple to use, has a great range of templates and offers students many options to export their mind map to another application for further use.

    • Create a family tree
    • Plan a Narrative
    • Create a network Diagram


    It is a little odd that the iPad does not ship with a functional calculator app when the iPhone does.  But there are a number of free and paid options to choose from.  Make sure this is one of your first downloads and you get a calculator that is age appropriate.  Seriously too many to choose from here including many great free alternatives.

    Wolfram Alpha

    Ask Wolfram Alpha a question and it will give you an answer. Essentially like the Oracle that knows everything Wolfram Alpha is connected to numerous reputable databases of useful and useless information regarding statistics mathematical, scientific formulas and facts about the world.  A pretty amazing little tool for students who need to know things in a hurry.

    Dictionary & Thesaurus

    There are a number of dictionaries available on the iPad and some of these are very expensive.  Please select a dictionary thesaurus combo that meets the age and regional needs of your students.  A couple of respectable options which are reasonably priced would be Ninjawords and the Macquarie Essential Dictionary

    Screen Chomp

    Create screen casts on your iPad using ScreenChomp.  Students can create a tutorial or explain concept they have learnt by recording their voice and drawing on the screen.  Plenty of sharing opportunities for students to share their ideas with others make it an excellent collaborative tool.

    • create video tutorials
    • Explain a mathematical . scientific concept
    • Add annotations to a picture


    20 great podcasts for busy teachers

    A few years back I worked at a school that was about an hour from where I lived.  Initially the drive used to drive me insane, but then someone put me onto some really great teaching podcasts. 

    I found these in many ways superseded what I learnt about teaching at university becasue they were fresh, small managable chunks of information that came from real teachers in the classroom who were speaking about real life issues.

    The other great thing about it was that I could focus on things that really interested me and just pass on those things that didn't.

    Below I have put totgether a list of 20 great podcasts from all areas of teaching that are really worth a look.

    Be sure to make a comment below if you feel that any others should be added.

    With Students in Mind: Matt and Russ share learning with students in mind

    English for Everyone: Find vocabulary, learning guides, and more from English for Everyone.

    Classical Mythology Podcast: Investigate gods, heroes, and myths from the Greek and Roman world.

    NPR: Education: NPR: Education has perspectives on great teachers, learning, classrooms, and more.

    Grammar Girl: Grammar Girl offers quick and dirty tips for better writing.

    Smithsonian American Art Museum: This podcast highlights art and the American experience at the Smithsonian.

    Educational Insights: The Educational Insights program will help you with educational methods and instructional practices.

    EnglishPod: Find audio lessons and more for English on EnglishPod.

    Middle School Matters: Middle School educators can find news, conversation, links, and more on Middle School Matters.

    Tech Chick Tips: Listen to the Tech Chicks for information about teaching 21st century students.

    Bit by Bit: Bob Sprankle’s podcast shares discoveries, tips, and more in elementary technology.

    Science on the Wild Side: This podcast features science, nature, and news.

    Science Update: Science Update offers stories on discoveries in science, as well as answers to science questions.

    Douchy’s Biology: See interesting subjects in biology with Andrew Douchy.

    The Virtual Staffroom: The Virtual Staffroom Podcast features conversations with teachers about classroom technology.

    The Ed Tech Crew: This weekly podcast discusses technology in education.

    Foundations of American Cyberculture: Think critically about American cyberculture by following this podcast.

    3 Great iPad apps for Teachers and Students

    Here are a few more apps you might want to give youself or students a chance to explore on as they offer some great learning opportunities.

    Caster Free:  This great free app lets you create, edit  and publish podcasts in the simplest manner. Great app for students in the classroom.

    Idea Sketch:  Idea Sketch lets you easily draw a diagram - mind map, concept map, or flow chart - and convert it to a text outline, and vice versa. You can use Idea Sketch for anything, such as brainstorming new ideas, illustrating concepts, making lists and outlines, planning presentations, creating organizational charts, and more!

    Paperdesk Lite:  Leave behind your paper notebook for your next class lecture or meeting. PaperDesk is a simple, easy-to-use notebook replacement made specifically for the iPad. The entire design goal behind PaperDesk was to mimic, as closely as possible, a simple pad of paper with no unnecessary frills. Yet it still boasts features that enable quick and responsive note taking.
PaperDesk allows you to keep a "Desk" full of your notebooks.

    Showme iPad App: Learning and Teaching Made Simple

    ShowMe is a global learning community - a place where anyone can learn or teach anything.

    Their mission is to make learning as accessible as possible, while giving great teachers and experts a platform to reach even more students.

    The showme community has created hundreds of ShowMes, from chemistry to history to football strategy - and more knowledge is being shared everyday.

    Flipping the Classroom

    What if we could flip the traditional classroom model, where students struggle through lectures in class and left completely alone to do homework?

    Teachers are making the flipped classroom a reality with ShowMe. By recording lectures for students to watch at home, teachers are using class time to inspire through group collaboration and project-based learning.

    Learning by Teaching

    Are quizzes and tests really the only way to assess students' knowledge?

    As teachers know firsthand, teaching a particular subject helps you better understand it yourself. By putting ShowMe into students' hands, we can use Learning by Teaching to help students truly master a topic, not just prep for it.

    Access ShowMe here.