Apps to Learn By

Over the past five years, I have been lucky enough to work with students (grades 1-12) and with iPads. Back when I first started using the iPads in class, it was difficult to get anything to work correctly – there was just not that much out there. Now that iPads have such a huge following, my class can accomplish any task that we set our minds to – as long as we have an app for that.


I have always tended to shy away from the “Best Ten-Million Apps for Education” craze that has been happening over the past few years (seriously people – get better titles or I may do a talk called “50 iPad Apps… Talks for Stabbing Yourself in the Eye”). In my professional life, I am almost constantly asked which apps I would recommend at each grade level. Instead of constantly circling emails and google doc’s, I decided to bite the bullet and create my list. But my list is a more awesomer list!


If you are a parent or educator and are going to purchase an iPad for your “little learner” I highly recommend the following Apps. You will see that I include games on my list. If you do not want your children playing games, go to some other list (like Tony’s very cluttered lists… nothing against Tony – he does good work – but come on! Read “design for hackers” already or buy a better layout). What finally made me create a list is the fact that most of these apps have been on my iPad for at least a year. In my world where I constantly download and pilot new apps, that is a big accomplishment.

My Favorite Apps to Learn By
IconNamePriceGradeCategoryDescription
iStudiez Pro$2.995+ProductivityiStudiez Pro is an application that allows students to track their own courses and grades. I used iStudiez Pro in my Graduate Classes at Hopkins. iStudiez is rated as a 5+ app because it can be difficult to get all of the features setup correctly.
Hakitzu Elite$0.993+CodingHakitzu elite teaches students to code in Javascript by giving them control of a fighting robot. Students level their robot by fighting with other robots and completing missions.
Google MapsFreeAllContentGoogle Maps allows users to see the entire world from their fingertips.
Scientific Sci-Fi Scanner$4.99AllContentThis scanner analyzes real world data about stellar phenomenon and weather in a simple interface. This app is initially free but you will want to purchase the $4.99 in app scanner upgrade to access additional features.
Move the Turtle$2.99AllCodingMove the Turtle is an app that was designed to teach kids how to code. Learners begin by progressing through various levels of a tutorial. Each level teaches students a new command and how to execute that command to achieve the desired Result.
BitstripsFreeAllMediaBitstrips allows learners to create comic strips on their iOS Device. Learners can use it to draw story boards or create basic outlines for later use in iMovie.
PenultimateFreeAllNotesPenultimate is an app that allows you to jot down your own hand-written notes. If  you have an Evernote Premium account you are given access to a wide range of paper from design (grids) to tablature.
Google DriveFreeAllProductivityGoogle Drive is a cloud storage solution provided by google. My students are GAFE users and we use Google Drive to share resources in my classes. Installing the app allows learners to access their materials from any device.
SkitchFreeAllNotesSkitch is yet another app owned by Evernote. Skitch allows you to edit PDF documents from any workstation or tablet. Teachers and students can use the app to grade and evaluate assignments.
Clumsy NinjaFreeAllGamesClumsy Ninja is a great application to teach students about gravity and simulation. You progress through training missions that allow you to level a small ninja fighter. Each level and assignment teaches your ninja new moves.
Angry Birds: Space$0.99AllGamesAngry Birds space is a great teacher of gravity. Students must hit targets while entering different gravity fields and orbiting planets. One of my favorite ways to learn about space.
Plague Inc.$0.993+GamesPlague Inc. is based upon a simple Flash Game called Pandemic. Students control the evolution and epidemiology of deadly pathogens. The goal is to kill the entire human race. Students gain in-depth understanding about how diseases spread.
PocketFree3+ReadingPocket is a social media and blog reader for your iOS Device. Users select articles or threads that they want to "Read Later" and Pocket will store them for later offline viewing.
PaperFreeAllNotesPaper by 53 allows students to draw freely. The app was designed for artists to digitally showcase their work. The artistic focus drives the majority of features and makes this a great app for aspiring artists of all ages.
ShowbieFreeAllProductivityShowbie allows educators to share and grade student work directly on their iPad. I was looking for apps that will help teachers go paperless when I stumbled upon Showbie. Showbie is easy to setup and use in the classroom and adds tremendous functionality for the teacher.
HopscotchFreeAllCodingHopscotch is an introductory coding app for the iPad. Learners create and manipulate monsters. A tutorial guides students through the basic controls and motions.
Codea$9.995+CodingCodea is the only fully fledged coding and programming application on the iPad. Students can create applications and test them directly from the Codea interface.
Diet Coda$19.996+CodingDiet Coda is the miniature version of Coda for Mac. I use Diet Coda to edit and maintain websites through FTP. If you don't know what that is – you do not need this app.
Cargo-BotFreeAllGamesCargo-bot is the first app on the iTunes App-Store that was programmed and coded entirely in Codea. I use Cargo-Bot as an example to students and teacher.
Kodable Pro$0.99AllCodingKodable Pro is another game that is designed to teach elementary school students how to code. Students at all levels seem to fall for the cuddly characters and simple tutorials. I recommend this app for anyone that wants to learn to code.
HabitRPGFreeAllProductivityHabitRPG was a kickstarter that I backed a number of months ago. This app promises to "Gamify-Your-Life." Learners create an avatar and fight with their tasks and to-do lists to earn gold and level up. This is a great app for teaching young learners to be productive.
iTunesUFreeAllContentiTunes University is one of Apples pet projects for Education. Apple designated schools – which can be difficult to get – are allowed to post public courses within the iTunes U App.
BiscuitFreeAllNotesI was introduced to Biscuit by our School Evernote Sales Rep. Biscuit takes words you copy and translates them into another language. The words are then stored in your Evernote Notebook and you can study them later. Great App!
FlipboardFreeAllReadingHave you ever wanted a magazine that only showed you what you were interested in? Flipboard will take all of the links that you are sent from your favorite social networks and compile them into a media rich magazine format.
EverwordFreeAllNotesEverword is designed to allow you to integrate material and resources from your Evernote Account and create a fully functional Flashcard set. You can customize your flashcards to display text or images.
Evernote PeekFreeAllNotesYet another Evernote App! This one uses the iPad Smart Cover to create flaschards based upon any of your notebooks. There is no iPhone version.
PickPlayPost$1.99AllMediaCreating interesting graphics is one of the most important skills we can teach. This app allows users to create visual collages that use photos stored on the iOS device.
Scan$1.99AllUtilityScan is one of the best QR-Code scanners in the App store. I have used Scan in many classes to teach students to use and create QR Codes.
PS ExpressFreeAllMediaPhotoshop Express is a very small photo editing program designed by adobe for iOS. Learners can manipulate photos and apply filters to make digital images.
EducreationsFreeAllContentEducreations litterally allows you to turn your iPad into an interactive whiteboard. When educators couple Educreations with Reflector or an Apple TV they create a real interactive whiteboard… for considerably less investment.
WolframAlpha$2.99AllContentThis is my favorite iPad and iPhone App. With Wolfram Alpha you can convert anything as well as having scientific information about any topic. The Wolfram Knowledge Engine powers the scientific information for this app and its companion website allowing realtime analysis of stellar variables and distances. Cool!
BitBreakerFreeAllExerciseHave you ever wanted to control an app with your body? This app allows you to be the controller by using your iPad camera to locate and move your pong paddle. You have to jump and move to break the bricks.
Kindle for iPadFreeAllReadingKindle is the leading E-Book library in the world. Amazon has more than 20 million digital titles and downloading this app puts all of those books at your fingertips.
iBooksFreeAllReadingiBooks is another book store. I greatly prefer iBooks because the content can be delivered in a more digital manner – video and audio clips. It is also easy for teachers to submit books to the iBooks store using iBooks Author…
Papers 3 for iPad$9.998+ReadingPapers allows you to manage and organize your PDF files on the iPad. The app syncs with Papers for Mac to allow you to manage your entire PDF library and research from one location. I used this extensively in my graduate work.
Pages$9.99AllProductivityPages is a document creation app. Learners can create anything (even using comic sans) and share it with their peers/teachers/parents. Syncing with iCloud allows pages to maintain single documents that can be edited in multiple locations.
Keynote$9.99AllProductivityKeynote is presentations. If your learner wants to create great presentations for any reason this is where it is at. Some people are going toward Haiku Deck or Slide Rocket or Prezi – in my opinion there will always be a need for simple classy presentations (a.k.a. Keynote).
Numbers$9.99AllProductivityNumbers is spreadsheets. That is all it is! You can graph or manipulate data but do not get your hopes up too much. I use it off and on with my classes for recording data in experiments.
Book Creator$4.99AllProductivityThis app is the best purchase I have ever made. My students use Book Creator to show off all of the work that they can do on their iPads.
iA Writer$4.99AllProductivityNo-Frills is the best way to describe this document writer. In my ecosystem iA Writer has become my iPad TextEdit. When I want to type or simply scratch lines into silicone – this is my app for that.
MemriseFreeAllContentIf you want to learn a language with the least amount of conscious choice – this is the app for you. You can use the web version of memrise to select language sets you want to learn – the app then prompts you to study on a daily basis.
EvernoteFreeAllNotesEvernote has taken over my life! I really do not know what I would do without it at this point. My todo lists for work are now searchable – there is no more excuse for not doing that assignment. Game-Changer!
Art Set$0.99AllMediaThis app is my favorite doodle program. I use the art set when I want to express myself through any form of art. You can paint a picture or simply draw with crayons. Art Set gives learners the ability to play with artistic materials and create their own masterpieces.
iMovie$4.993+MediaiMovie is a smaller version of iMovie for Mac. Learners can create and edit videos that they take on their iOS device.
Pushups Pro$1.996+FitnessRuntastic has produced a number of apps to help people get into shape. In education we sometimes forget that students need to move and they need some fitness instruction. The Runtastic Pushup app teaches students how to do pushups and monitors them as they complete them.
Situps Pro$1.996+FitnessThe situps app by Runtastic is designed to be used as you complete a normal situp. Learners place the iPad on their chest and the app uses the built in accelerometer to determine how many situps are completed.
SpaceTeamFree5+GamesThis game is awesome! I have only been able to play it with a couple of like minded IT folks – I am hooked. Learners need to complete tasks through communicating with each other while ensuring that they do not destroy their spaceship. Intense!
Artemis$2.995+GamesArtemis is a starship bridge simulator. Learners must get into teams and pilot a starship through battle simulations (each learner focusing on a particular function). You can even use your Apple TV as a view screen!
Another World$3.995+GamesAnother World is a classic 8-bit RPG. Learners can immerse themselves in literally "Another World."
Galaxy on Fire 2 HD$155+GamesGalaxy on Fire 2 is my guilty pleasure. It always finds a way to make it back onto my iPad. The base game is free but you will want about $15 to purchase the expansions.
WatchCraft$0.99AllGamesWatchCraft is a great spoof of World of Warcraft. Learners progress through a simplistic interface and try to attain the highest score in the game. I have only made it to level 2.
Calendars 5$6.99AllProductivityCalendars is an app that changed the way that I interact with my iPad. Within Calendars I can select a multitude of calendars (from different sources) and the app will collate them into one task list. I will never leave home without it.

 

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