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Best iOS Apps For Teachers: An Apple For The Teacher

Updated on December 23, 2013
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This 1950's classroom is a far cry from our current technologically advanced learning environments. Visibly missing are computers (of any kind), multimedia tools, group seating, student displayed work, and hubs/centers.

Old school classroom

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New Pedagogic Ideals

Long gone are the days of straight rows and chalkboards. A quiet and independent learning environment is no longer considered effective. With the introduction of new evaluation systems, planned and unplanned walkthroughs, and the debut of the Common Core State Standards it is no wonder why teachers have been scrambling for innovative ways to stand out - or better yet - survive.

Suggested ways to engage students in learning through technology are:

  • Global learning
  • Multimedia
  • Video streaming
  • Gaming
  • Staying on trend
  • Connecting to world

iOS Apps (or Apple applications for iPod and iPad), if used properly, can have a profound impact on students' learning while assisting teachers in meeting expectations set forth by the Common Core State Standards. Using apps can be fun, easy, and can be purchased for little to no money at all. Many educational apps are free.

I present to you the Best iOS Apps For Teachers and why.


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Book Writer

Suitable For: All subjects

Grades 5-12

Price: $3.99


Whether your students are producing narratives, memoirs, explanatory pieces, or expository texts this app will be useful. This app can help your students create their own eBooks and PDF's that can later be read on your Apple device, shared via email and iTunes, or even printed out for a tangible copy. Students can easily add photos, videos and sound to their eBook. Book Writer is customizable and easy enough for any level learner to use.

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iBooks

Suitable for: All subjects, all grade levels

Price: FREE


iBook presents an enormous variety of books for download from classics to science fiction. Although some books will come free once you download the app, you will have to purchase additional books through the iBookstore for your liking. Students and teachers can browse by author, topic, or title. iBook offers a preview option and reader reviews for each selection. The app will remember the page you left off on when you stop reading and students can even set bookmarks.

For auditory or visually impaired learners, iBook will read the book aloud to you (for most books). For a better better idea of what this app is like picture iBooks being the literary version of iTunes.


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The Poetry App

Suitable for: Language Arts teachers, all grade levels

Price: FREE

Essentially a collection of poems, the Poetry App presents a variety of poems which can be searchable by title. However, the app does not lend itself to an easy poet search. The app is designed to encourage your student to delve into new things. The Poetry App is nicely-presented and content rich.

One unique feature to this app is that poets are visually represented by images for the picking. Then you can scroll to the side to pick a specific piece. A small biography of the poet is also available. As a bonus, poems are narrated by famous people which your students will find cool.

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Solar System For iPad

Suitable for: Science teachers, Grades 3-12

Price: $13.99


This app can be compared to a complete journey through the solar system. Solar System For iPad takes the student through a wide universal journey. Upon entering the app a high quality video will greet you at the opening. SSFi contains 150 pages with a fully animated interactive map. Travel through the solar system and watch asteroids through a spacecraft. Browse video clips or read through beautifully written informational texts. Feel free to glance at some of the 600 pictures in the app. To space and beyond!

Discovery Channel

Suitable for: Science and Social Studies teachers,

Grades 3-12

Price: FREE


The Discovery Channel App will give you access to videos, daily news stories, quizzes, photos, and TV schedules. What a great way to learn about current events!



Flashcrads+

Suitable for: Social Studies and Science teachers,

Grades 6-8

Price: FREE

Flashcards is an app that assists the student in experiencing nteractive quizzing sessions. The virtual flashcards are prepared by the learner. The student types in the word/term on the front of the flashcard and then swipes it to simulate the flipping of the card to reveal the matching definition/explanation. Flashcard+ is an inventive tool for teaching spelling, as well. My favorite part of this app is that you can program the app to set off your alarm every 10 minutes to quiz yourself again. This app will work well with your teenager. They dig that stuff.


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Khan Academy

Suitable for: Special Education teachers,

Grades 6-12

Price: FREE

This app was originally designed by superbrain and Harvard graduate Salman Khan to help a girl with a learning disability. Over time, the app developed into a gem in a class of its own. Khan essentially discusses a subject while drawing or writing on the screen as he goes along in the lesson. Additionally, Khan provides detailed descriptions of a tremendous variety of topics. Khan's brilliance is apparent in every lesson, not only for his extreme intelligence, but also for the way he engages the reader - making learning fun. This would be a superb resource for report writing.

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Explain Everything for iPad

Suitable for: All subjects,

Grades 6-12

Price: $2.99

Can this app really explain everything? Like Obama, yes it can. On Explain Everything students will create presentations for practically any subject. Which has the ability to go further? Your app or your imagination? That is for you you discover with this app. Students can record audio and to insert into presentations using the tools of this app. Your kids are probably pros with PowerPoint by now. This app brings their presentations to the next level. Now you can add PDF's, Docs, and XLS to your slides. You can even import movies and YouTube clips to create memorable presentations.

Don't bother using this app on the iPod. It's too small and takes away from the purpose of the app in the first place. You can really only use this on an iPad. Sorry.

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Reading Trainer For iPad

Suitable for: Language Arts teachers,

(Specifically For Reading teachers)

Grades 4-12

Price: $2.99


Reading trainer improves the speed and retention of the reader. Students already know how to read but with this app they will learn to read with speed and take information in more effectively. There are tests that assess student progress with line graphs and target in on their areas of weakness. This app is perfect to prepare for PARCC readiness.

Remind 101

Suitable for: teachers, professors, and more

Price: FREE

Remind is a safe way for educators to text message students and stay in touch with parents. The app will send groups texts to send out reminders and assignments. Positive features include:

  • All phone numbers are kept private
  • Schedule texts to be sent at a later date
  • Messages are one-way, so students & parents cannot reply

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Disco Maths

Suitable for: Math teachers,

Grades 3-8

Price: FREE

Disco Math is a game app that lets students select up to 12 numbers from a board then you have to create an equation using multiplication, subtraction, and addition. The more numbers you choose the better your chances of winning are. You can post your scores for others to beat. It is challenging for adults and educational for kids.

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Funimal Phonics

Suitable for: Language Arts teachers,

(Specifically for Reading teachers)

Grades PreK-1

Price: $0.99


Funimals Phonics is a fun easy way for youngsters to get started on learning the alphabet. It uses a flashcard format with each letter being accompanied by an illustrated animal. The app is interactive in that the letters can be touched to hear it being spoken and if you touch the animal you will hear a sound effect for that animal. The illustrations are cute and friendly which is perfect to help your young students learn their ABC's.



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Math Bingo

Suitable for: Math teachers,

Grades K-3

Price: $0.99

This addictive game app is entertaining and colorful. Students get a bingo game board with numbers in all of the grid squares and the the players have to think rather quickly to calculate multiplication, subtraction, and division problems off the top of their heads. In order to get bingo students will have to get a a horizontal or vertical straight line of five numbers. If you make it past the first round you can play a mini-game in which you fire a little blob up the screen to collect as may coins as possible.

This app is great because it allows students to beat other high scores or beat their own high score. Math Bingo also encourages quick mental math skills since it requires a high level of concentration to beat the high scores of others.

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My Spelling Test

Suitable for: Language Arts teachers,

Grades K-5

Price: $0.99


The My Spelling Test app allows teachers to create their own spelling tests. Each time students take a test the results are recorded so teachers can check on their progress. This is good way to assess their high frequency word skills. While the app is not particularly attractive and lacks the cutesy factor, it functions very well and works well for a range of students.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully these apps that I have recommended can help you in some small way to infuse technology into your classroom or at least engage your students in a rich, captivating learning experience. It can be noted that we do not all have access to an iPad or iPod in the classroom but if you do then you would be silly if you did not download one of these apps today. We have so many great learning resources at our disposal today. Since teachers are expected to be everything then we have to stay on trend with creative instructional techniques to maximize students learning potential. iOS apps are definitely sure to please even the most traditional of teachers.

Leave a comment if you know of other great teaching apps or have a question.

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