Thursday, 7 August 2014

iPad Apps

I was very lucky a couple of months back to have received an iPad for my 30th birthday. Now, I'm not 30 until September the 12th, but having an awesome mother always comes in handy when there's something you really want! So, she very kindly offered to get it for me early so I could get used to it and get it all ready for the new school year; she knew this was what I was hoping to do with it.

I blogged back in May about the initial thoughts and issues I was finding with being able to use the iPad at school, to see this post click here. I'm hoping come September that our ICT will have moved closer to a position where I can wirelessly connect to our school's Network and avoid trailing wires from my projector etc!

Having had plenty of time to download apps, get used to working on the iPad and having read lots of blogs suggesting apps to use etc, I thought I'd post about the apps I have been using and aim to use this coming school year...

Click on the app title to go straight to the iOS App Store
FYI - some of the apps are free, others cost a small amount to download. Apps may be available on other platforms other than iOS?!

(These are in no particular order)

  • The Basic Apps...


These apps were free to download due to me getting a new iPad. I believe they are free if you got an iPad since a certain date - older iPads require you to pay for these. The 'Pages' app is the equivalent of 'Word', 'Keynote' the equivalent of 'PowerPoint' and 'Numbers' the equivalent of 'Excel'. They're all very easy to use and get used to - you can import any word document, spreadsheet and presentation to them and the only thing that seems to change is fonts and some layouts.

Adobe Reader

Allows you to open and read pdfs on your iPad.


The Blogger app has come in handy when I've wanted to compose a blog post when not at home with my laptop. It works just like the full web version. The only problem I've found is that when uploading images it can get a bit tricky to change their size and scroll through the post you're composing if you have inserted quite a few images - I'm probably not doing something right?!


Great for accessing all of my files I store in here, share with others and get access to those folders that others have kindly shared with me. A lot of apps use Dropbox and allow you to backup data here. All files on certain apps can be imported/exported from/to Dropbox.


I don't really need to go into detail here do I - but obviously a must have!


Used to view the Prezis I have created. I can create/edit them straight from the app too.


I create a lot of surveys using and so this app is really handy for viewing my surveys, creating new surveys and analysing data collected.

  • Recommended/Really Useful Apps

The apps below are those that I have found to be extremely useful and I will be using these on a regular basis come September...


This app probably needs its own separate blog post to write about everything that is amazing about it. It is essentially a teacher's complete planning, preparation and assessment tool. This app will be replacing my paper teacher's planner this year and I am extremely impressed with how fully synchronised it is between your timetable, calendar and classes! There's just so much that's brilliant about this one and it's well worth the small price you pay.

RD Client

This app allows you to connect remotely to a Microsoft Exchange Server. Essentially this is the app that allows me to connect to my school's server (and my school PC) remotely, from home/on the road etc.


I really like the look and feel of this app. It's an app that allows you to create many notebooks, write in them, take photos and insert them alongside your notes, there are different types of paper you can write over and you can sync this up with 'Evernote', if that's something you use, too. I've already used this app loads when taking down observation notes when observing ITT students. I write my notes using a stylus pen and then walk around the classroom taking photos to insert alongside the notes that my students can then use for their evidence. This worked particularly well when observing an ICT lesson - I took photos of student's screens and the mymaths results they were getting throughout the lesson to show progress being made etc.


If you've read any of my previous blog posts you've probably clicked that I use SMART notebook a lot at school and so having the app on my iPad too, to edit my notebook slides (imported from the Dropbox app), is brilliant. I've also used it to give students extra support in class by bringing up the notebook I'm using for that lesson on my iPad and having it in front of them. This has allowed me to let the student that's finished before others to look ahead whilst the rest of the class are finishing, it's allowed me to re-explain the lesson to those that have struggled and could even be used for those students who are struggling to see the board clearly - if only they all had a device I could share my lessons to!


This app is great. It can be used as a whiteboard to show students in class further examples. You can record these videos and share them with others, you can find videos others have made and shared too.


The Skitch app allows you to annotate pretty much anything. You can sync this with Evernote too, just like the Penultimate app above. I have used this app to highlight over the teaching standards when giving ITT students feedback from observed lessons. I use the app to highlight/annotate over the standards document for them to then keep in their folders/upload to their evidence. You can do some great things with the app including adding text, emoticons, arrows and even blurring out parts of images etc - this is particularly useful for keeping any names/faces from photos taken in class to ensure anonymity!

Socrative (Teacher and Student)


Socrative is great, I have many quizzes already set up on their site and having this available on my iPad is great for setting quizzes to my classes as I walk round the room. I can then use the student version of the app to allow those students that don't have a mobile device to answer the quiz.

  • Mathematics Apps

The below apps are great for teaching Mathematics (and some other subjects) and have come in handy already...


It's just brilliant - everything the website does, in an app. I've used this at the back of the class whilst observing ITTs when I've forgotten my calculator. It's also great for checking answers to questions when putting together resources and has saved loads of time putting together answers to homework sheets we've recently been setting up for the new school year.

My Script Calculator

This app allows you to write loads of calculations to which the answers are returned automatically (or manually if you'd prefer). It is a hand writing recognition tool that gives you answers to your written questions - pretty impressive, but there are limitations to it and how you write out certain calculations. Students find it impressive when you can quickly get answers to their ridiculous requests; "sir, what's 56382 x 5423?"!


This is a really impressive app that allows you to keep values and use them in different calculations. For example, if you wanted to work out 15% of £540 the app would kindly do this for you. If you then wanted to use the answer to this calculation to then share over, say 3 time periods (you might be spreading a 15% deposit on something over 3 months), you could then take the answer and divide it by 3. However, here's the clever bit...if you then realised you got the percentage wrong you could change the % to say 20% and the rest of the calculations, that you've simply linked together using the app, would automatically update! Nice, eh!?

Quick Graph

Allows you to create and add graphs to a set of axis - great for students to investigate the equations of lines/curves, solve simultaneous equations etc.


There are loads of apps that provide manipulatives like dice, spinners, coins etc, but the Geoboard app provides a resource that I wouldn't otherwise have (we don't have any geoboards lying around the dept). No more need for loads of rubber bands and pinned boards! This could be included the below section too (as could a lot of the above apps).

  • Maths apps I have, but would be even better if students had 1:1 devices...


All the MathsWatch videos available in one app using your existing log in (if you have one). Good for giving students extra guidance if they need more examples/a different way of explaining the same topic. Also, great for revision.

Beluga Maths

I really, really like this app. It's engaging, simple to work through and allows users to work at their own pace from the really basic topics to much harder topics. This is being updated constantly when new topics are loaded onto the app. You are required to set up an account (free), but then this tracks your progress as you attempt the different topics and quizzes for each. You can have multiple users set up on one device/app. You get star ratings for each topic you work through, and the tutorials on how to enter your answers are really simple and easy to follow. The different ways in which you give your answers keeps you interested and the fact you can do as little or as much as you like at a time is great for revision purposes. This app would suit KS2-KS4 students and I wish my students each had a device to access this app to work on independently once a week/fortnight and obviously for study at home in their own time!

Learning Tools (link found thanks to @musicmind)

A great app with loads of AfL type resources students could show you/respond to questioning with. Includes traffic lights, RAG, ABCD, a whiteboard, True/False, a thermometer, smiley faces and even a stopwatch so they can time themselves!

  • Apps I will get/love that I don't currently have...
Comic Life

It allows you to create your own comics!! What more could you want!?

Explain Everything

I've heard so many good things about this app and all that it can do. You can create your own videos that you can share and upload direct to YouTube, embed on blogs etc. Having not explored the app fully yet I'll leave it at that.


Well, there's all the apps that I've, so far, found and have used. I've probably only scratched the surface in terms of what is out there and what can be used to improve teaching and learning. The one thing I can say is that even with the 'small' selection of apps above I'm going to thoroughly enjoy using them in one way or another with my students this year, where appropriate, to improve my teaching and their learning.

I'm all ears if anyone has any other recommendations of apps I should look into. I am very much working on the basis of I am a teacher with an iPad and my students do not have mobile devices to use (many of them do, but we're not at a stage where we're considering students bringing these in and using them on a daily basis, they're barely allowed to have their phones out at present)!

Tweet me @mrprcollins or comment below!

1 comment:

  1. There is a really handy app called quick key pro - it is free - it enables you to use your iphone / ipad to instantly scan answer sheets to multiple choice quizzes