10 of the Best iPad Apps for Teachers
iPads in the Classroom
Whether you have one iPad in the classroom, or one for every student in your school, the dilemma of which apps to get remains constant.
The ten apps listed below are iPad apps for teachers. They will increase your productivity, enhance your classroom workflow, and generally make your life that little bit easier. Some are free, some are paid, but all are great for teachers.
1. Notability ($2.99)
Notability is one of the most versatile apps available for the iPad. It currently costs $2.99, but it is well worth the investment for both students AND teachers. At its core, it is a note taking app. You can type or write notes on notebooks and organize them into folders inside the app. However, it also lets you annotate PDFs, which can be great for grading student papers.
Notability also records audio and lets you take notes at the same time. So, you could be having a reading conference with a student, or testing their reading fluency with the audio recorder, while taking notes at the same time on your iPad. Word docs and PowerPoints can be imported into Notability, and you can sync or share your notes with cloud services like Dropbox, Drive, Box or WebDAV. Overall, a great app, well worth checking out.
2. Class Dojo (Free)
If improving your classroom management skills is high on your list of priorities, then Class Dojo is the app for you. This app is extremely popular with elementary and middle school teachers, because it lets them track, record, and analyze the behavior of students in their class.
It is very simple to use. Just add your students, and select the types of behaviors (good or bad) that you would like to record. Whenever you see students exhibiting one of your chosen behaviors, you tap on their name and award them Dojo points. These points accumulate over time. Parents can log in from home and see the progress of their child, teachers can log in and view reports on individual students or the class as a whole, and students can also log in, view their progress, and customize their individual avatar.
Check out Sam Gilksman's iPad Manual for Educators!
3. Haiku Deck (Free)
If you have ever been to a conference and seen a speaker present with an array of slides that had great full screen images and just a smattering of text, they were probably using Haiku Deck. This innovative presentation app is similar to Keynote, but much simpler to use.
Haiku Deck has a built-in library of searchable Creative Commons images that you can use in presentations that you create for your students, but you can add your own images too. It has modern presentation layouts, the ability to add charts, and the option to sync to the Haiku Deck website where you can access your presentations on other devices.
4. Twitter (Free)
Are you a connected educator? If so, the chances are high that you are on Twitter. There is a wealth of information for educators on Twitter with some thriving iPad communities of educators who are sharing good practice and helping each other out. Isn't it time you joined them?
Of course, there are several Twitter apps you could use. The official Twitter app is getting better all the time, and will always likely be free, but you may also want to take a look at Tweetbot, TweetCaster, Hootsuite, or Twitterific 5 for Twitter. Once you find one you like, search for hashtags like #ipaded, #ipadchat, #edapps, or #mlearning to get a wealth of iPad information for educators.
5. ExplainEverything ($2.99)
There are a lot of screencasting apps for the iPad, but none are better than ExplainEverything. Yes, it is a paid app, but it is one of those apps that should probably be on every teacher's iPads. It has a wealth of options that allow you the ability to create some stunning instructional screencasts that you can use with students. This makes it great for flipped, blended, or online classrooms and gives the teacher a huge amount of flexibility in terms of the type of video they can make.
You can import PDFs, Office or iWork documents and record yourself as you annotate over them with the various markup tools. This can be useful for providing examples to students of what you are looking for in an assignment. ExplainEverything also lets you record yourself as you annotate over a live website and even a video. Your completed screencasts can be exported to the camera or any number of cloud services.
6. Wunderlist (Free)
I used to use a lot of Post-it notes. I stuck them on my desk, on my laptop, on my textbooks, and just about everywhere else I could stick them in order to remind me of the important things I just had to get done. However, since converting to Wunderlist, I no longer felt the need.
Wunderlist will keep you organized when all else around you seems like chaos. Teachers are busy people. They have a lot to do, and a lot to organize. Wunderlist helps with that. It is a to-do list manager that lets you create lists for all the important tasks you need to get done. It also syncs these lists to the web and mobile devices to you can add to, or view, your lists anywhere and at any time. You can set reminders for tasks, add sub-tasks, share lists with others and more. I would be lost without Wunderlist, and certainly a lot less productive!
Many educators prefer a keyboard to the iPad's touchscreen
7. Zite (Free)
If you talk to any educator who uses technology in the classroom, they will doubtless tell you that they love using it, but that it is hard to keep up with all the latest trends and tools. This is where Zite comes in. It is a personal magazine that you can customize to display topics of your choosing.
Zite pulls in relevant articles from all over the web, and if you read one you like you tap the thumbs up icon. If you see one you don't think is relevant to you, give it the thumbs down. Over time, Zite learns what you like and what you don't and it will give you more of the articles you want to read about and less of the ones you don't want to read about. Anything you read can be shared to social networks like Twitter, Google+, Facebook and more. The app updates several times a day, so you will always have something new to read when you want it.
8. Showbie (Free)
Do you struggle to establish a proper workflow for students to turn in assignments they completed on the iPad? If so, you need Showbie. It was created for just that purpose and is a staple in many iPad classrooms because of how easy and effective it is at simplifying the assignment workflow process.
Teachers create a class, and give the unique class code to students so that they can join. Once a student completes an assignment, they choose the Open in another app option to open a copy of their assignment in Showbie. The teacher can then access all the assignments at once, grade them, and leave text or voice comments as feedback, or open the assignment into another app like Notability to mark it up and then send it back to the student. Simple, but effective. More info on Showbie here.
9. Dropbox (Free)
Today, many educators work with multiple devices. Even if their students all have iPads, the teacher often retains a laptop, and has a computer or other mobile device of their own at home. So, how do you make sure you have the files you need on all your devices? Dropbox.
Dropbox seamlessly syncs all your files between all your devices, and even if you don't have access to your Dropbox device, you can still access your files at Dropbox.com. Everyone gets 2GB of storage space for free, but it is easy to earn more Dropbox space when you are running low. Good alternatives to Dropbox include Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive.
10. Apps Gone Free (Free)
There's no such thing as a free lunch, right? Well, there might be, but it is often only for a limited time. Everyone loves a deal, and when you can get something for free that you usually have to pay for, you know you are on to a good thing.
This is what Apps Gone Free does. It scours the App Store for paid apps that are currently free. Often these apps are only free for the day, so you have to act fast, but there are some great bargains to be had if you check this app on a regular basis. Educational apps are often featured in this service, but so are productivity apps for teachers, so keep your eyes peeled!
What is Your Favorite iPad App for Teachers?
Is your favorite app listed above? If not, why not leave a comment below to share the apps that make a difference to you in the classroom.
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