The best educational apps aroundNovember 2011
With each passing day, more apps (applications) become available for teachers and students to tap into the exciting possibilities of using iPads, Androids and other devices for learning and education. But how do you find what is going to be of value in the classroom? It is important to consider the purpose and function of the app, as well as the cost and its capacity for group learning, among other factors.
Here are some educational apps that come recommended:
- Google Apps for Education: It’s all about “cloud-based” solutions for students and teachers these days, and the best-known example is Google Apps for Education. It is free and gives every student and teacher an online account with their own school-based email address (gmail), Google Docs and calendar, with the opportunity to add other free modules at a later stage.
- iWork apps: Pages, Keynote and Numbers: The three iWork productivity apps help students and teachers put together professional-looking documents, presentations and spreadsheets no matter where they are. When you finish what you’ve been working on, use AirPrint to print it out directly from your iPad.
- Blackboard Mobile Learn: Students and teachers who already use Blackboard will find this app useful for course listings, which organisations users are involved in, as well as access to any readings and assignments
- Cram: The app for anyone swotting for exams. Both teachers and students can create flashcards and tests and import and share them with others.
- Essay Grader: An app for teachers pressed for time. It comes with a bank of pre-written comments and helps teachers cut down on marking time without writing the same comments over and over again by hand. After assigning a grade, teachers can then email the sheet directly to the student or export it to the computer for editing and printing.
- eClicker: This app is for teachers looking for classroom feedback. It charts the class responses, showing which areas are understood and which need more work. Students select a response to a question composed by the teacher and are then able to participate without fear of being wrong, since only the teacher views the results.
- Read me stories: 8Interactive’s app provides an “addictive reading experience for kids”.
- Word Lens: This free app instantly translates signage from one language to another through the camera application. Language teachers can use this for scavenger hunts.
- Molecules: This free app allows users to view and manipulate three-dimensional models of different molecules.
- Today in History: This app is good for history classes or general knowledge. It lists notable events in history as well as important figures who were born or died on a specific date.
- Math Ref Free: For maths classes. This is a free version of Math Ref offering 600 out of over 1300 formulae, figures, tips, and examples.
- PI83 Graphing Calculator: Another app for the maths student. With over 100 math functions, the graphing calculator is a clone of the TI-83 without the expensive price tag. It is used in place of any calculator to input data, make graphs or matrices.
Uniquely Kiwi Apps:
- Kiwi Media: Kiwi Media has developed several apps, including multi-language QBooks, puzzles and games. QBooks combine a narrator’s voice with original picture illustrations and touchable text that is synchronised to highlight and sound when the word is touched. Each QBook includes the narration, text, games and user interface in US English, Spanish, Portuguese and Māori.
- What bird NZ: This free app provides a concise pocket reference guide to some of the interesting birds that can be seen around New Zealand. It allows you to hear and see them and also provides interesting trivia in a fun “Top Trumps” style card format.
- Learn te reo: This app teaches Māori using a drill-based approach. Enter the word and repeat the word. Review allows you to see the word in English and Māori. Quiz Mode allows you to test yourself. Touch the speaker icon to hear the word.
- Kiwiana: This app allows you to learn te reo Māori, read a Kiwi slang dictionary, play a quiz, complete a picture puzzle with 40 pictures, listen to the New Zealand national anthem, bird sounds, and more.
- Fastfinga: This app is among those developed by Catalystwo, a small software company based in New Zealand developing for iPhone/iPad/Mac.