Tuesday, December 25, 2012

iOS App Recommendations

This vacation, I've been able to spend some time pursuing a dream I've had for quite a while: having an "App Night" for parents. I have noticed that the percentage of homes of my students that have iOS devices is increasing. When, at award assemblies or Christmas programs, it is time for parents to take pictures, out come the iPhones (and even a couple iPads this year). I asked my rural, low socio-economic students how many of their parents have iPhones, iPads, or iPod Touches, and the number is more and more encouraging every year.

Because of this, I have wanted to somehow have a conversation where I recommend quality apps. There are many apps that merely improve "twitch" speed, and so nothing for literacy, math skills, or critical thinking, etc. Knowing how much time my own children like to spend on our family's iOS devices, I know that there is an incredible potential for learning here.

So here is a Google Presentation that I've been working on, with recommendations for apps. I hope that during this season where many of you (or your children) potentially got new iOS devices, iTunes/App Store gift cards, or both, that this might be helpful.

1. This is a list for parents, not teachers. Many have done this, and I hope to prepare a list for teachers, at some point, too.

2. Obviously, keeping up with all the incredible apps out there, and truly picking out the best, is an impossible task. There are many apps that you would probably like to add to this list. Please add them to the comments here!

3. Since I am now teaching 2nd grade, and my children are in K and 4th grade, this is primarily (ha! "primarily" - get it?) where I'm coming from. As this project continues to grow, I hope to provide more recommendations that include higher grade levels. However, many of my Science and History / Social Studies app recommendations are relevant to all ages/grades.

4. This does not attempt to be an "iPad list". Many of the apps recommended either a) have an iPad version, or b) are "universal", which means they work on both. Here is a list of apps that are specifically about iPad apps.

Merry Christmas!