Find Educational iPad Apps Fast!

Too Many Apps!

There are at least 475,000 iPad apps in the App Store, and new apps appearing daily. Of course, not all of these are educational apps, but if you are a parent or an educator who is looking for quality iPad apps, you need some way to filter through the thousands of apps you have to contend with. The resources listed below are designed to do just that.

The App Store

No matter where you start looking, you will end up here eventually, so we will begin by taking a look at just where to look for educational apps in the iPad's App Store. There are actually a number of places to find what you are looking for, but let's start with the Education section.

  1. Start by opening the App Store
  2. Make sure that the Featured star is highlighted at the bottom of your screen
  3. Then Tap More at the top of your screen
  4. Select Education from the drop down menu

The App Store: Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie
The App Store: Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

Once you get to the Education section, you will see a lot more focus to the kind of apps being displayed. They are geared exclusively for parents, teachers and student users of the iPad.

At the top of the screen you see a section for the "Best New Apps". These are educational apps that have recently been released, or have recently seen a significant update. Below that, are the App Collections. Be sure to scroll sideways through these and tap on any that look of interest to you.

If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen you will see some special themed collections that are usually selected based on current events or holidays. Below that, are the Quick Links where you will find links to more collections like "Special Education", "For the Classroom", and so forth.

The Education section of the App Store: Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie
The Education section of the App Store: Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

The other part of the App Store worth looking at is the Top Charts section. Here you will see a collection of the top 200 paid educational apps, the top 200 free educational apps, and the top 200 grossing apps.

  1. To get started, tap "Top Charts" at the bottom of the App Store
  2. Next, tap "Categories"
  3. Then choose "Education".

This can be a nice way to see what apps are popular with other parents and educators. Just be aware that a few apps will rate higher than normal because they went free for a limited amount of time. This can artificially boosts their ranking in the charts. However, that aside, it is another good place to discover popular educational iPad apps. These charts will change frequently, so be sure to check back often to see what is new.

The Top Charts for Education: Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie
The Top Charts for Education: Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

APPitic.com

APPitic is an app review website that is curated by Apple Distinguished Educators. It was launched in 2012 but already has over 6000 educational apps for you to browse through. Each app is sorted by category. These categories help you drill down to find the apps you really need. Categories include, Preschool, Special Education, Challenge Based Learning, Flipped Classrooms, Bloom's Taxonomy and more. They are aimed more at teachers than parents, but the site is open to all who are interested in using the iPad for educational purposes.

The apps that are listed on APPitic are not in the form of a written review, per se. They are most often just listed with the description of the app that you find in the App Store. However, APPitic promises that the apps they include have been "tested in a variety of different grade levels, instructional strategies and classroom settings."

www.appitic.com
www.appitic.com

Common Sense Media

The Common Sense Media site is about more than just iPad apps. They review music, games, movies, TV shows, and websites, but their mission is the same for all the media they rate - to provide an honest, trustworthy look at the impact of media and technology on children. They are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, and they boast the likes of Chelsea Clinton among their board of directors.

They have a clear traffic light rating system to gauge how appropriate an app is for children, as well as a five point scale to rate how good it is as a learning tool. It is aimed more at parents than teachers, but educators will get lots of good ideas here too, especially when they filter the apps by skill.

www.commonsensemedia.org
www.commonsensemedia.org

TCEA iPad Apps and iBooks

The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) has an extremely impressive collection of educational iPad apps that are updated regularly to include the latest releases. It comes in the form of a spreadsheet with tabs for all the curricular areas you would expect for schools. Clicking on a specific tab will subdivide the apps further by specific themes.

There is a great selection of apps to choose from and each one is color coded to indicate which apps are free and which ones are paid. They also have a great section called Must Have Apps. These are apps that have been hand picked as important iPad apps for all levels of students and teachers. There are no written reviews on any of the apps, but nothing makes the list without passing by the discerning eyes of the TCEA. See the apps at http://tcea.org/ipad

www.tcea.org/ipad
www.tcea.org/ipad

Apps for Children with Special Needs

If you are a parent of teacher of a child with special educational needs, then this site is a great place to get ideas for how to make the iPad more accessible for all learners. Aimed at parents, educators and therapists, Apps for Children with Special Needs is a collection of iPad apps that are aimed to support special needs students in the classroom.

They have a great blog that reviews all the latest apps. Like APPitic, each app is listed alongside its description from the App Store, but you also get a detailed video review that shows you how to operate the app and why it is, or is not, worth your time, effort or money. An example video is embedded below.

A Video Review of Abilipad from www.a4cwsn.com

Smart Apps for Kids

Their site is packed full of ads, but Smart Apps for Kids is still a great place to look for educational iPad apps. Each app is given an in-depth review that is honest and reliable. If an app has shortcomings, they will be sure to tell you what they are, but they will also tell you why they like it too. Apps are rated on a five star scale, and tested to see if they are ad supported, have in-app purchases, or link to external sites.

Smart Apps for Kids also keep an eye out for educational apps that go free, and if you sign up for their newsletter you can keep up to date with some of the best free and reduced price apps on the App Store.

www.smartappsforkids.com
www.smartappsforkids.com

AppoLearning

With a team of teachers, parents and consultants on staff, AppoLearning is committed to finding and reviewing the best apps for education in a number of different categories. Apps are scored on a 0-100 scale against a proprietary rubric and given a report card for their educational value, design, safety and more. A variety of apps are covered for children in preschool, elementary, middle and high school.

There are a large number of apps on AppoLearning, all of which would be great for use at school or at home, but only the top 5 are listed for a given category. This limits the scope of the site somewhat, but also helps narrow down some of the apps that would potentially be of a lesser quality.

Summary

Nobody can keep up with all the latest apps that get released on a daily basis, but with resources like these, teachers and parents at least have a much better chance of finding educational iPad apps that can truly make a difference to teaching and learning.

If you have a site that you rely on for a similar service, feel free to add it to the comments below.

Quick Poll

Which of the above sites do you rate highest for finding educational iPad apps?

  • APPitic
  • AppoLearning
  • Apps for Children with Special Educational Needs
  • Common Sense Medis
  • Smart Apps for Kids
  • TCEA
See results without voting

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Comments 4 comments

Balefire Labs 2 years ago

Hi Jonathan- We'd love for you and your readers to also check out Balefire Labs. We have what is quickly becoming known as the most rigorous, research-based, review criteria on the market today for educational apps. We focus on instructional quality and our app reviews are searchable by Common Core State Standards. We have a free trial on our site...please take a look!

www.BalefireLabs.com

Thanks!

Karen


Jonathan Wylie profile image

Jonathan Wylie 2 years ago from Iowa, USA Author

Thanks Karen! I will check it out.


Rosie writes profile image

Rosie writes 2 years ago from Virginia

Another great resource! Pinned to my library resource board.


Jonathan Wylie profile image

Jonathan Wylie 2 years ago from Iowa, USA Author

Thanks again Rosie :)

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