Sunday, July 10, 2011

Final Word on Apps...I promise

When I talk to other teachers, students, or admin about apps for the iPad, you can hear the excitement in my voice...for certain apps. The apps that really get me talking are those that I feel showcase the true power of the iPad...the creation apps. These are the apps that students would use to showcase their learning and/or questions. These apps provide a platform for students to make, create, showcase.

I'm talking about:
-iMovie
-GarageBand
-Toontastic
-StripDesign
-Keynote
-Pages
And so on...


I do recognize the importance of those OTHER apps. The apps that allow us to make the teaching process easier, smoother, more effective are important. I get that. They are important, even if I don't rave about them. My favorites (today) are:
-TeacherPal
-Agendas
-eClicker and eClicker Host
-DragonDictation, iTalk, MoesNotes
And so on...

Finally, there are those apps that are JUST STUPID...in my view. They promote the lowest use of the iPad. They allow unproductive teaching methods to be EVEN easier to use. I don't think I'm the only one to see the flaws in this app:




Here's the thing, each teacher will have his or her favorite apps that allow students to really rock out the learning process. What works for me in my room, may or may not work well for you and your students. I may have an app that I LOVE, RAVE ABOUT, and you may find that it falls flat with your students. And, that's OK. Being reflective, watching your students and having conversations with them...that's the key!

My method of choosing apps (and I am the first to admit that I have been known to purchase some craptastic apps and get too app slappy):

1. Search with purpose. Just going to iTunes Teacher section and choosing from their list...not a great plan. So, search with purpose. What are you looking for in the app? What requirements and needs must it meet to warrant a look?
2. Ask others...tweet, email, check w/other teachers. I will sometimes just throw an app question out there on twitter and get a ton of feedback.
3. Check the app developers website and support. Ask them about their app...if they never respond, that tells you something!
4. Try the lite/free versions with your students. They will be the best judge of how it works with them.
5. Follow some of the best...I follow the iPad pioneers (@SamGliksman and @iPodsibilities are two of my favorites).
6. Get a couple of good sites that showcase apps like http://www.iear.org/

But, bottom line...
Use the apps that work for you and your students to enhance your best teaching practices. There is no set list of apps that is the magic combination...it's not about the app, it's about the teaching method behind it! AND, just because an app is highlighted in the teaching section of iTunes, that does NOT make it an automatic winner!

Ok...the end...no more.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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