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 #57: Prezi Viewer for iPad

Are you sick of boring PowerPoint presentations? Why not try Prezi, the zooming multi-modal presentation tool?

Prezi Viewer for iPad enables users to view and present your prezis anywhere, anytime … You can touch navigate, revise, and download your presentations for offline viewing.

Note: To use Prezi, teachers and students will need to create an account – the EDU Enjoy license is free, providing you sign up with an .edu email address (video).

For: Teachers, Students, Administrators

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, to download presentations for offline viewing.



Educational Applications

  • Enhance presentation delivery – in class, at staff meetings, for student presentations
  • Provide a fun, creative way to explore visual content & written material, and demonstrate learning
  • For more great ideas, check out the collaborative brainstorming documents below!

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 #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)

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #18: GoodReader

GoodReader is a good file management app. You can use it to save, organise, and read PDF files, MS Office & Apple iWork documents, Pages, Keynote, Numbers), images, webpages, audio, and video → all in one application on your iPad. You can then project these files on your IWB using the VGA connect kit (approx $30).

GoodReader can handle files in excess of 1GB, and allows users to easily transfer files via USB (here’s how), internal school WiFi networks, Internet, or email. It seamlessly integrates with Google Docs, Dropbox,, and WebDAV servers, and comes with built-in security options.

While setting up WiFi and school server connections can be a little technical, this app is highly recommended for iPad classrooms! It is a fantastic app for reducing paper-use in schools and classrooms – just make sure you read the User Manual first!

For: Students, Teachers

Cost: Around $5 (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes (for syncing)

Educational Applications

  • Annotate running records
  • complete observation surveys and  assessment checklists
  • Store important documents e.g. professional learning resources
  • Store and manage eBooks, textbooks, and worksheets
  • Annotate PDF files (note-taking)
  • Reduce paper use!

Further Reading

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 #14: TED Talks

The official TED Talk app puts talks from the world’s leading thinkers, education radicals, tech geniuses, business gurus and music legends … at your fingertips.

TED presents ideas to inspire, educate, and inform … in 5-20 minute videos – which you can watch, or save, on your iPad. Click here for a sample of Education themed talks.

For: Teachers, Secondary Students, Administrators

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Educational Applications

  • Use as springboards for classroom discussion
  • Teacher Professional Learning
  • Great models of presentation skills.

Further Reading

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.

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #5: Edmodo


Edmodo is a private social networking site where teachers, students, and parents can connect, engage and learn; taking learning beyond the classroom walls.

Edmodo has advanced privacy settings built in, making it a very safe, secure, (and free) platform for schools. Its’ visual similarity to Facebook makes it extremely user-friendly for teachers and students of all ages; and isn’t blocked in most school systems.

For: Teachers, Students, Parents

Cost: Free, but requires a web account (iTunes Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Educational Applications

  • Easily manage grades, projects, surveys, and student discussion topics
  • Share worksamples, videos, pictures of classroom activities with parents (through their child’s profile)
  • Help (absent) students keep up-to-date with what’s happening in school
  • Create collaborative stories, literature circles, book clubs, participate in global projects (example)
  • Provide stimulus for improving writing skills
  • Create virtual exhibitions, museum scavenger hunts
  • Teachers can join professional learning communities in areas of interest (e.g. education technology, school administration)
  • And MUCH more!

Further Reading

Recommended Twitter Follows

How do YOU use Edmodo & the iPad App in the Classroom?

We’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #4: Flipboard


Flipboard creates interactive digital magazines on your iPad based on your selection of social media feeds – from news websites, Twitter, Google Reader, blogs, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, and blogs. It brings reading to life, and it’s FREE!

Flipboard is useful for teachers interested in connecting, sharing, and learning with other teachers around the world (via their Personal Learning Networks); and has interesting applications in the (secondary) classrooms.

For: Teachers, Students (Secondary)

Cost: Free (Download here)

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Educational Applications

Aggregate social networking and news feeds (teachers)

  • Easily keep up to date with educational blogs in your Google (RSS) Reader
  • Link to classroom Twitter / Facebook accounts to share links, pictures, and photos with students and their parents. Check the permissions of your school and district before using social networks with the students.
  • Subscribe to newspapers around the world
  • Explore texts & online media written in foreign languages
  • Create virtual textbooks (example)

Further Reading

15 Fantastic Uses of Flipboard (Cool Cat Teacher blog)