There’s an App for That

We just received 4 iPads to use in the building. My initial thought is to put them in the library since that is one place that all students have easy access to, and would get them the most exposure. In order to maximize the potential for their use, we are going to start with a “study” where we get feedback from teachers and students on the best apps/uses for the iPads.

I’ll get the ball rolling by taking a few minutes to look back to the posts I did last year regarding the iPad:

Now that it a little over 6 months since I wrote those posts, what apps have I come to rely on the most on my iPad? Here are my top three:

  • Safari – No big surprise here that the main task I do is use the Internet. Many times while working at a website, I will learn that there is an app for the website (for example, The Buffalo News has a news app). I then download the app, and depending on its usefulness, may begin to use the app instead.
  • Mail – Managing and responding to email on the iPad is very easy.
  • Angry Birds – if you have not been bitten by the Angry Birds bug, be warned – it is a game that will suck you in quickly! If I ever happen to forget to bring my iPad home, my kids are very upset if they do not get their Angry Birds fix (we have even ordered the Angry Birds stuffed animals…we’re completely hooked).

Clearly the iPad has become my productivity/entertainment center – there are a whole host of apps that I use on a regular (but not every day) basis for a variety of things. In the hands of my kids, it is very interesting that they often choose some of the creativity apps and YouTube videos (that we watch with them) in addition to games.

Which brings me to the task at hand – what apps should we be installing on the iPads for school? Some of the general categories are:

  • eReaders (iBooks, Nook, etc.)
  • Content area apps
  • Voice recording apps (the iPad has a built in microphone)

I’ve put together a wiki page for staff and students to collect our thoughts on what apps to install on the iPads. I’m looking forward to how this rolls out.

Just a footnote that I want to bring out here – we have 4 iPads for 650 students. The iPad is a highly personal device (I can attest to that). As we share the device, I keep thinking about a comment Brian Smith from Monroe 1 BOCES made recently:

I still contend that these won’t be successful until they are made personal.  Meaning, give it to the kid to have for the entire year.  Let them take it home, play with it, read on it, correspond on it and make their learning personal.

I’m currently in a pilot with iPads and the students are lukewarm to the device because they know it will go away or that they won’t be able to make it work for them personally.

~Brian C. Smith (@briancsmith)

We are not at the point where everyone has one, but I think keeping in mind Brian’s comments make sense as we get going on getting the iPads out.

Looking forward to some awesome learning!

Creative Commons licensed image, iPad 3G and iPad Wi-Fi, by Yutaka Tustano on Flickr