Over the last five years, I’ve taught in two different schools districts that have had 1:1 iPad use for students and teachers. I’ve had an iPhone for several years and even an iPod before that. I consider myself pretty tech savvy so I know many of the cool apps or where to find reviews for the new ones. As this year approaches an end, I want to give my two cents about the top five apps that I used this year in my classroom. My advice is to download the app and use it for at least ten days before you spring it on your class. If after ten days, you are still enjoying the app and find it useful, then go for it! I teach high school English in Alabama but these top five can be used in a middle school or elementary school as well.
1. Edmodo – Edmodo is fantastic! I give it 5/5 stars. It looks like Facebook and serves a social media purpose. It allows teachers and students to communicate and share resources in an education friendly environment. You can use Edmodo to create and grade quizzes and tests. The new Spotlight feature is a place where teachers can upload lesson plans or other handouts for other teachers to download. It’s a great place to network with educators.
2. Dropbox – Dropbox is a lifesaver! I give it 5/5 stars. How many thumb drives do you have? Most teachers have a drawer full. I have twenty-eight individual thumb drives (one for each year, content, or club I have sponsored). Dropbox is a safe and free place where you can upload files. If you have the app, then you have access to every file you’ve ever uploaded. From Dropbox, you can share your files with others, email those files, or even save them to Edmodo for your students.
3. Kahoot – Kahoot is fantastic and I give it 5/5 stars. If I could give it 6/5 stars, I would. Kahoot is a game app that can be used in the classroom. You can create quizzes and show them via your Apple TV or projector and your students will answer questions. You can create quizzes or search the 1,000s of free quizzes on Kahoot. The kids LOVE this game and go crazy. I must admit that I love it too. It plays really cheesy music, which the kids totally love. It ranks the winners and creates a competitive atmosphere that you will love! I would advise using Kahoot about once a week for review before quizzes and tests.
4. Book Creator – Book Creator is awesome for any teacher that wants to create their own iBooks. I give Book Creator 5/5 stars. I’ve been teaching eleven years and I have 1,000s of Powerpoints. If you can create a Powerpoint you can use Book Creator. It helps you design and publish your own iBooks and then share your creations with students. You can add text, pictures, files, videos, links, and more. If your school uses iPads, then you need Book Creator!
5. Animoto – Animoto is my favorite video creation software. I give Animoto 5/5 stars. I used the free version of Animoto for about a year and then decided to upgrade to the $5 per month version and it’s worth every penny. I use it for school and at home. With the $5 version, you can upload about 75 pics and your own song to about 100 different customizable templates. As soon as you add titles or a few bullet points, it’s done! It so easy to use and a great resource. The students love having videos of all their cool accomplishments.
I keep a running list of all the apps I download and try out. Some are great and make it to student use and others I delete quickly. The best advice I can give any teacher who uses iPads in the classroom is to download apps and play with them. See if they can make you a better teacher and make your students better learners. If an app can do both of those things then use it! Here’s a list of all the apps I tried or tried to use the last few years.
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