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 Professional Learning #16:Creating and sharing learning online

One of the ways to create interactive online experiences is to use a learning management system (LMS). This is much easier than you think and is a great way to use mobile learning devices in daily classroom practice. These systems now incorporate social networking so students can create and share their learning as part of professional learning networks. There are a range of these, today I am discussing two free LMS systems designed for classroom use. Edmodo and Schoology.  I am seeing excellent use of  these systems in classrooms. Teachers can post tasks and assessments online in the password protected space they have created for their students. They can give parents access to sections of the site so parents can view the work. Students can access this work anywhere, anytime on a web enabled device. There are apps for Android and IOS devices like iphones and iPads. Students can post their responses to their teacher and work collaboratively with their peers. The facility to set up groups is very useful. The student work is all safely stored online, no need for complex server configurations.


This video link guides you through how to set up a site in Schoology. Schoology has advanced features to set up test and assessments with self marking features.


The Edmodo help site with very useful tips on everything you need to get this up and running in your classroom.

This post gives more details on how to use Edmodo in education

This post on edmodo gives lots of links to schools and blog sites with practical examples of edmodo in action
This video shows how a 5th grade student uses Edmodo

Please post a comment and share how you are using these tools in your teaching and learning

Edmodo touch app also available for android devices

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #45: Shakespeare in Bits

Shakespeare in Bits brings Shakespeare to life on your iPhone, iTouch, and iPad through animated, narrated re-enactments of The Bard’s most popular plays.

Highly recommended by secondary English teachers, the app includes full study notes, plot summaries, character notes, and language explanations, helping students better understand and appreciate the plays.

The app itself is free; however, teachers will need to download the plays via in-app purchase at a cost of $15.99 AUD each. (There is a volume licensing option for the USA)

For: Secondary English teachers and students.

Cost: Plays available via in-app purchase (see above). Download Link

Requires WiFi?: Yes, but only for initial download of the plays

Further Reading

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.

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 #23: Our Choice

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis is presented as the future of digital textbooks, and is a truly innovative, visually stunning text. Written by Al Gore, Our Choice is the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, and is a rich multimedia exploration of the science of climate change and climate action.

Using a ground-breaking touch interface*, this app is highly recommended for secondary science students, and anyone interested in taking action on climate change.

For: Teachers, Secondary Science Students

Cost: $4.99 (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Yes

*Please note: This app downloads multimedia & chapter content in the background when opened for the first time, and it is recommended you wait for the lengthy (1GB+) download to complete before trying to interact with it.

Al Gore’s Our Choice Guided Tour from Push Pop Press on Vimeo.

Further Reading

Our Choice: Changing Books Forever (iApp.Storm)