Tips 2012 Professional Learning #20:Which app is right for you?

When selecting apps my rule is “less is more”…In my experience it is better to have a few carefully selected apps that you can use in multiple ways than an app for every topic.

For many teachers at the start of a semester or the beginning of  a new school year you will be deciding which apps you will be using in your teaching. Selecting the right apps can be a challenge when there are so many applications on the app store. Always keep your educational objective clearly in focus, it is easy to be seduced by bright colours and cute animations. Think carefully about what the student will do… will this app allow the students to create, engage in higher order thinking and connect in new ways? There is some value in apps that allow students to consolidate their skills in an engaging manner. Apps that support the teaching  and can be used across the curriculum are good value per use as opposed to apps that will be used once or twice in a specific area.

A colleague Jan Clarke from AISWA has shared an extensive list of apps that she has complied. Classroom apps  Thanks for sharing all your hard work Jan. I look forward to hearing from you about the apps you find most useful in your teaching.

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide: #60: Google Earth

The Google Earth app lets you hold the world in the palm of your hand – on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It enables you to explore global satellite imagery, tours, and photo overlays on your iOS device.

There is a large education community built around the Google Earth application, and it has many classroom applications. It is so much more than a mapping application – as revealed in the links at the bottom of this post.

For: Teachers, Students (Grades 4-12)

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, this is a very WiFi intensive app.

Educational Applications

  • Support student inquiry in geography, social studies, history
  • Enhance student presentations – creating audio-visual Google Earth tours for projects
  • Virtually visit sites of historic / geographic significance
  • Add photos / videos / voicethreads about your local community to share with other Google Earth users worldwide
  • Use in conjunction with Google Sketchup to design and build your own virtual city (as a Google Earth overlay)
  • Take your students on a virtual “Lit Trip”, exploring places mentioned in a story
  • Solve maths problems using the Google Earth measuring tools

Further Reading & Exploration

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #9: Apple TV+ iPad = IWB

Project and share the learning on a big screen

iPads are essentially designed for individual use, yet in classrooms we often need to show and share the learning processes.

Traditionally we use interactive whiteboards where a computer is linked via a cable to a large touch screen attached to the classroom wall. This allows the computer technology with digital content to be projected and shared. This can create a didactic situation where the teacher has to be in a position close to the front of the classroom to operate the Interactive whiteboard, and not circulating in the classroom engaging with the students and monitoring their work.

Apple TV is a small device costing approximately $100 that allows the teacher and the students to connect their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch wirelessly to a TV screen or a  data projector to show their screen and share their work with the class.

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #49: Australian Curriculum – Mobile Edition

The Australian Curriculum: Mobile Edition is an iPhone (iPad compatible) app which brings the new F-10 English, History, Science, and Mathematics Australian curriculum documents to your iOS device.

For the latest details on the rollout of the Australian Curriculum, please visit:

For: Australian Teachers

Cost: Free (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Not for general use, but requires WiFi to include the very latest content.

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #42: QuickGraph

QuickGraph is simply the best graphing calculator app for the iPhone and iPad. Using a simple visual & touch interface, this app makes it easy to enter, edit, and visualise 2D and 3D algebraic equations and inequalities (optional) in all standard coordinate systems. Graphs can be copied, emailed, and saved to the iPad photo library.

Please click here for a complete technical description of QuickGraph’s capabilities. Some optional features, including the ability to project visualisations on your interactive whiteboard, are available via a $1.99 in-app purchase.

For: Secondary Teachers and Students

Cost: Free (Download Link), some advanced features available via in-app purchase

Requires WiFi?: No 

Educational Applications

  • Secondary mathematics – algebra, graphing, calculus

Further Reading

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #37: Pinnion

Check the students’ understanding before, during and after a lesson.

Pinnion is an online polling and an audience response app. There are versions for iPads, iPhones and Andriod devices. You can create surveys and quizzes, and share a link via email or Twitter. There is even a WordPress plug-in for your blog.

For: Teachers, Students (Primary to Secondary)

Cost: free for launch

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Management Tip
How to use Pinnion

Educational Applications

  • Develop quizzes and surveys
  • Allow all students to respond to questions and see how others have responded
  • Quiz students on a topic then present an argument, or explanation then repoll them see if their understanding of the topic shifts or develops
  • Enable all students,even the shy ones, who do not usually respond to questions in class to demonstrate their learning, comprehension skills, and understanding of topics across a wide range of learning areas.

Recommended Reading

Please help us to build these resources for teachers by supporting the research. Click on the link to complete a short survey and enter the draw to win an I-tunes voucher.

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #36: Explain Everything

Explain Everything This is the screen casting app that I am using with the TIPS research project schools. It provides a way for students to create and produce their own resources and share their learning.

Many teachers use this app to deliver instructional content to students. You can capture your lesson with diagrams, demonstrations typed or drawn and annotated pictures. This is easily shared with students to view as many times as they need at home or at school.

Integration with Cloud Services = More Choice

* Note: Google Drive integration is coming in imminent release of EE v2.0 in late Jan 2013)

Suitable for primary to secondary classes, Explain Everything is integrated with EvernoteDropbox, and Google Drive; making it very easy to import materials (e.g. pictures, slides, documents) from your computer or the internet (including your web browser!).

Explain Everything is the only screen-casting app which allows users to choose where they export and share their work. Screencast movies, and EE project files, can be emailed, or saved to the iPad Camera Roll, Evernote, and Dropbox. This allows users to collaboratively edit project files, and choose a service to host their video online (e.g. YouTube).

With advanced editing options, including the abilities to create multiple slides, feature live websites, and use visual aids (eg. arrows, laser pointer), Explain Everything remains the most versatile screen-casting app in the Apple Store, and comes highly recommended by iPad educators around the world.

Video Export Management Solution

In response to common complaints about the length of time required to render EE project files to movie formats, Explain Everything recently released the Explain Everything Compressor for Mac OS X (10.7 / 10.8 only). This paid app ($14.99) enables users to render EE videos on their computer – saving a considerable amount of time. (Click here for an alternative non-Mac solution – via EdTechTeacher).


For: Teachers, Students (Primary to Secondary)

Cost: $2.99 AUD (Download Link). (VPP Option)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, but only for access to full functionality and web-sharing.

Educational Applications

  • Create a repository of video tutorials for your class / school wiki / website
  • Explain mathematical thinking, written work
  • Present an argument, or explanation of a topic (literacy)
  • Enable students to demonstrate their learning, comprehension skills, and understanding of topics across a wide range of learning areas.

Recommended Reading

Please help us to build these resources for teachers by supporting the research. Click here to complete a short survey and enter the draw to win an iTunes voucher.

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #35: Educreations

Educreations is an incredible FREE interactive whiteboard tool available as an iPad app and online web tool. Once you create a (free) account, it is easy to add images, draw pictures, and write on the whiteboard slides as you explain your ideas.

When you’re happy with your video, you can watch it on the iPad, or upload to the Educreations website. You can share your videos publicly or privately, via email, Facebook, Twitter, or the Educreations Tutorial Gallery (under development). Public screencasts can be embedded into blogs, websites, etc.

Educreations is a more advanced app than ShowMe, and it was specifically designed with educators in mind (see the video tutorial below). Like ShowMe, teachers recommend the use of  teacher / class accounts to save and share student videos (tip via blog post by @nate_kremer)

For: Teachers, Students (Primary to Secondary)

Cost: Free! (Download Link)

Requires WiFi: Yes, to upload completed work

Educational Applications

  • Create a repository of video tutorials for your class / school wiki / website
  • Explain mathematical thinking, written work
  • Present an argument, or explanation of a topic (literacy)
  • Enable students to demonstrate their learning, comprehension skills, and understanding of topics across a wide range of learning areas.

Recommended Reading

Please contribute to our iPad research by completing a short survey, and entering our draw to win an ITunes voucher!

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #33: ShowMe

Screen-casting is capturing what is on the screen of your iPad and adding a narration or music sound track. You can capture a drawing showing how the picture develops. This works well in teaching mathematics where the teacher can demonstrate the calculation as if they are working on an interactive whiteboard. The whole process gets recorded and can then be shared and replayed.

Show Me is a simple screen-casting app suitable for early childhood through to early secondary students. It provides a whiteboard, pens, eraser, and support for importing images.This app is extremely user-friendly; simply “Tap to record, and start talking”.

Completed screencasts are uploaded to the ShowMe website, where they can be shared (for free) with a unique weblink, and embedded into class blogs or webpages. The ShowMe website features a community collection of screencasts for all learning areas, which teachers can use in their classes for free.

More advanced screen-casting apps include Educreations, Screen Chomp, and Explain Everything.

For: Students (Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary)

Cost: Free (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, to upload finished products. It is not possible to save completed work to the iPad.

Management Tip

To use this app in class, teachers recommend creating a shared class / teacher ShowMe account, and establishing a standard naming convention (using students’ names) to identify student work. (Tip via EdTechTeacher Tip & @nate_kremer)

Educational Applications

  • Create a repository of video lessons for your class / school wiki / website
  • Explain mathematical thinking, written work
  • Present an argument, or explanation of a topic (literacy)
  • Enable students to demonstrate their learning, comprehension skills, and understanding of topics across a wide range of learning areas.
  • Click here for more ideas

Further Reading

Have you taken part in our survey? Click here and enter the draw to win a $ 50 iTunes voucher!

Tips2012 iPad App Guide: Aurasma – Augmented Reality App

AurasmaMake the pages come alive by using augmented reality.
Augmented reality combines computer graphics and  images of natural objects to make a 3D image or simulation. This is used in advertisements and texts indicated by a large A icon.

To use this app in class, the students can create their own video footage to link to an icon. This is good for learning journeys to showcase project work.

It can also be used outside in treasure hunts and discovery trails, where icons are posted around the school. When students scan the icons using the Aurasma App or the iPad the Auras they have created will spring into life giving the audio and video commentary.

For: Students (Secondary) & Teachers

Cost: Free for lite version (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Educational Applications

  • Create augmented reality learning objects for lessons for your class / school wiki / website
  • Students create auras to demonstrate three dimensional properties of objects
  • Present videos, images and sounds in response to visual cues
  • Enable students to demonstrate their learning,skills, and understanding of topics across a wide range of learning areas.
Please post how you use this app in your classroom

Your Tips: What is your best maths app?

Your views are important to this research. Help us in the Tips research project to support teachers as they use iPads in education.

This week, our focus is on maths.

How do you use iPads to support teaching and learning in maths classes? Please leave us a comment sharing details of the maths apps you use, and a short descriptor of how you use them in your classroom.

Give us some guidelines about which grade levels will find the app or activity most useful.

Dr. Jenny Lane

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #17: Numbers

Numbers for iPad is the Apple mobile version of Excel spreadsheet, enabling users to create and edit spreadsheets and data-entry forms (similar to Google Forms) on the iPad. This app will be useful for teachers and students, particularly in business and economics; but is probably best used for editing existing spreadsheets.

Files can be exported (via email) to Numbers for Mac, Microsoft Excel, or PDF; but can only be removed from the iPad via iTunes or WebDAV. SendToDropbox is useful too (via @samgliksman).

For: Teachers, Secondary Students, Administrators

Cost: $10.49AUD (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?:

Educational Applications

  • Business, Economics class
  • Financial Records
  • Data Entry Forms (eg. Attendence, surveys)


Numbers for iPad (Alternative Tutorial)
Creating Forms in Numbers on the iPad – Video

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #15: Penultimate

Penultimate is a powerful note-taking app for the iPad, enabling users to create an infinite number of beautiful electronic notebooks using different paper formats.

You can hand-write notes with your finger or stylus (recommended), use different coloured pens, and import photos (from your camera / camera roll). Coming with advanced editing options, this app is ideal for sketching pictures & brainstorming ideas.

Better yet, you can back-up or share your Penultimate notebooks via Dropbox, Evernote, or Email; and project your work on an IWB using an iPad VGA connection cable.

For: Teachers, (Older) Students, Administrators

Cost: $2.99. Some paper formats require an in-app purchase

Download: iTunes Link

Requires WiFi?: No

Educational applications

  • Notetaking
  • Story writing
  • Working out maths problems
  • Record observations in science
  • Storyboarding / scripting movies (using storyboard template)
  • Write music (paid template)

Further Reading

Jenny`s iPad Tip – Create your own Digital Texts

Digital textbooks are becoming a highly discussed and contentious issue. I am not a huge fan of textbooks, but where we do use them, they need to be interesting and engaging.

My flight today was delayed due to a cyclone, so I took the time to catch up on my reading. A report on the plans for wide scale introduction of digital textbooks in the USA was very interesting: “Playbook:Digital Textbook direction in the US“. It follows the plans in the USA to use digital textbooks across different states, and describes the huge financial investment by the government in textbook creation, high speed Internet provision, computers and tablets for students.

The launch of iBooks 2 showcases Apple’s new venture in digital textbook publishing. I have reviewed some of the digital textbooks and have found them very disappointing – they are just glorified PDF’s.

The challenge for textbook writers is to exploit the interactivity and engaging nature of ePubs in textbook production. They can be rich multi-modal documents with the embedded multimedia.

Many students don`t approach text in the way we have traditionally, reading pages from top to bottom and left to right. They tend to scan pages with their attention moving to the embedded hyperlinks and multi-media. It is also important that digital texts allow the reader to engage with the text through annotation and highlighting functions.

Digital textbooks can encourage student collaboration through the sharing functions. The e-book “Our Choice” by Al Gore uses some of the engaging, interactive features of digital publications that can be used in textbooks.

There are a number of apps and traditional software that allow you to create your own e-books. You can create an e-Pub in Pages, but you need the full computer version not the iPad app. Book Creator is the best ePub creator for the iPad.

Jenny’s Most Useful App Today- A Document-Scanner

Today high in the Japanese Alps, my partner had a skiing injury. The medical insurance wanted copies of airline tickets, passports, receipts and contracts sent through immediately. Fortunately I have a portable document scanner on my iPad. Making it my most useful app of the day!

This is a really useful tool in the classroom, office or when you are traveling. There are a number of scanning applications. Some use OCR optical character recognition, that turn the text or image into digital characters. You can edit these, adjust shades and contrasts to create the text or image that you need. These images can be saved as pdf’s or jpg’s and can be used creatively to create artworks.

My current favorites are Doc Scan HD and Perfect OCR. Doc Scan Hd claims to be able to scan curled or folded documents. You can scan diagrams on the white board,receipts and business cards and pictures from your photo collection. What I like is that you can edit and annotate the scanned images. This is very useful as a teaching tool.

You can save the image as a PDF and email it or place it in ibooks, drop box, evernote or google docs and send the link to share it with a colleague or your students. The free version of Doc Scan Hd allows you to scan a three page document for longer documents upgrade to the paid pro version for $4.49

Perfect OCR works well with high quality script recognition for text in different languages and typefaces.I would like to hear your comments on how you are using these scanning apps in your teaching.