Many moons ago I did a blog post (here) about the apps I had on my newly arrived iPad. Since then I have gone through the various stages of (a) every app I see that tickles me fancy (b) telling myself to stop buying every fancy tickling app (c) managing to cut down the hundreds of apps on my iPad and keeping the little used ones in iTunes or deleted altogether. I was asked by Alison Sheils at Wellington for thoughts on apps for an English Department about to get some iPads. Herewith, without further ado!
I’ve taken screen shots and will discuss the main apps that I do use regularly on each with recommendations. I will also write about some not shown here which I have tried in the past.
Classtools include those apps I use almost every day. TeacherPick is simply lollipop sticks. I use them for student selection and random talk topics. Jot Form enables me to create forms for various things including surveys and contact forms for my websites. It also handles the Homework Uploading Form I have on my Class Website. Leapdoc lets me copy files such as Word docs to the iPad by dragging and dropping onto the desktop version on my PC. Essay Grader (iPad and PC versions) is something of a double edged sword; it is fantastic for producing detailed feedback using a ‘comment bank’ for particular forms of writing but it IS Americanised and needs a lot of amendments to allow you to use it for your kids. By the time you’ve ticked all the various boxes for techniques, grammar, opening remarks etc you could have marked half a dozen with a red pen. The two apps marked Teacher and Student are for Socrative, a mobile phone app which you can use to set up quizzes, exit tickets etc about learning during the lesson which kids can answer, vote and so on using their phones. The assessment and recording app called Teacher’s Wire has been shown in my previous blog post here. I used it but found something that worked better for me which was Three Ring also discussed previously.
Eng Lit includes the obvious apps such as Shakespeare Pro, the Oxford Eng Lit Dictionary, and various plays using an apps called Sides (Othello) This gives you scripts, notes and background information and are well worth the money.They are available for most of the Shakespeare plays – stick ‘Sides’ into the search box in iTunes) IF Poems is also good with well known celebrities speaking the poems etc. Poetry Now the HL-2011 is an Irish Leavers’ Certificate app but has lots of really good stuff on how to tackle critical essays and poetry. CliffNotes are self explanatory. You get a couple free then others cost 99p or so. As always I just download what I’m doing in class.
Note making apps are my biggest downfall. I was desperate for a good note taking app to use in meetings, flashing my Jot! stylus like some literary sword of truth and light but there are so many out there and all seem to have their own pluses and minuses…. I’ve deleted far more than I show here. Memento is a daily journal but has the advantage of downloading and keeping all your tweets which is obviously useful for archive purposes. Timeli makes..time-lines. Notes by Paperport seems to be nearly the ONE in terms of note-making apps for me, but Memo has a couple of pluses as does Penultimate. With note-making apps it really has to be what YOU need or prefer methinks. What works for my system of incredibly organised ‘stuff’ might not be the bets for you with the tame Black Hole on your desk 😎
Writing – this is specifically for apps to help students with writing and essays. WriteEssay is an app that shows them how to create the various parts. Useful for introducing lower level kids as is StoryCubes which can help them start a story. T Charts and StoryIdeas help kids prepare their ideas before writing. Tools for students is an app with lots of graphic organisers to help them brainstorm and draft things/plans before starting writing. Prompts is another ‘give them some ideas for starters’ whilst Wreck This app is meant to get them thinking or at least removing their distracting thoughts beforehand.
Admin Tools are those I use in and out of school.