This week, I thought I’d go back to the iPad and talk about some of the great apps I have been using lately. I have yet to get a class set of these, (my proposal is voted on today) but I use my iPad constantly, and am really feeling that iOS 4.2 will be the point where I can start leaving my laptop at school and just do all of my general schoolwork on the iPad at night. We’ll see… Some of these apps are from companies that submitted promotional codes for my review, and some are my own finds that I am really enjoying, but all of them could find a place on your iPad, as they have on mine.
Some notes about these reviews, I do not put prices on the apps for two reasons: 1. None of these apps are particularly expensive, so at a minimal cost purchasing is not a big deal, and 2. Prices fluctuate regularly in the app store, so pricing them only makes the likelihood better this post will go out of date. Also, click on the image to be directed to the app in the app store.
Here is the list of apps I am currently sporting on my iPad:
Penultimate – This is a great app that allows you to make freehand notes, draw diagrams and stores your work in handy ‘notebooks’ that you can rename to keep your work organized. One of the great parts of this app is the ‘ink’ that it uses. As opposed to other drawing apps, the developers have created a realistic flow to the pen that makes it feel very fluid and realistic in its movement/ I really enjoy drawing in this app, and it has also spurred similar apps to include some of the same features. I really like this app for taking notes, particularly in meetings where I am not writing a great deal. It is comfortable and works without setting up a ‘keyboard’ orientation. It’s even better if you pick up a Pogo stylus for more control, and realistic writing.
Star Walk – One of the most ‘magical’ apps available on the iPad. With this amazing use of the accelerometer and digital compass, the constellations and heavenly bodies match up to the actual sky as you hold your iPad up down, or turn it. This is a great tool for identification of the heavenly bodies and for real placement according to your location. You have to try it to believe it!
Essay Grader – This is a great, adaptable app for teachers to use in grading papers. It walks through a paper from introduction to conclusion, and allows for indepth commenting through a checklist system. While this app is preloaded with more secondary feedback items, each comment can be adjusted to your specific criteria, which means it could be used at many levels. I have not used this extensively in my classes, as my criteria is varied and highly specific for each assignment, but the times I have used it, I have been very impressed with the process of the app. Once the papers are graded, you can send students their feedback directly through email, based on the details you have set up for each student. This app clearly has had a great deal of thought put into its development, and is very detailed.
Conference Pad – This amazing app allows a student (or multiple students)to connect to a teacher device and see the same thing that they see, at the same time. It is simple, fast and high quality, and it allows the ‘receiver’ to zoom and scroll around. I have used it with PDFs of presentations, and it is a fantastic way to share information. If I am ever in a situation where I am presenting to a group where the majority of attendees have iDevices (as with the Mobile Learning Experience in the spring) I will post this as a recommended app for participation in the talk. GREAT technology, and another one that makes me ask ‘How do they do that?’
SimpleMind – This is an amazing mind mapping software for the iPad that reminds me of my excitement when I first used Inspiration. It is that user friendly. It is not as robust as the desktop program, but it certainly takes mind mapping on the go to the next level. Varying colours, levels and export options make this an app to watch for. I am so glad I found this, as it was the ‘missing link’ from the desktop brainstorming options to the iPad. One of those apps that just makes the iPad that much more useful.