Tag Archives: ipads

My Five Favorite Apps for Kids So Far

Working with teachers to find appropriate apps has had its ups and downs this year. Teachers (myself included) first think to look for goal oriented apps. For example, sight word apps or math facts apps. Goal-oriented apps generally imitate flashcards or encourage impulsive answering. Neither of those is exciting or valuable in other settings. They also think of game apps as a separate category. My view of game apps is that they have a therapeutic value, but children are already play them at home for the most part. I’ve been on the hunt for something a little more challenging that teaches problem-solving skills—but is still engaging. Thinking of the greater brain processes has helped to find more meaningful apps. Amazingly, kids love these apps just as much, and they can be used independently.

Tynker

Although the web-based version has more free games, this app is great for teaching the basics of programming. Kids love this game and choose to play it during downtime when they are not given the choice to play a game like Angry Birds or Temple Run.

Click here For iPad version 

Logic Puzzles

Children get the same kind of satisfaction solving puzzles that adults do. This logic puzzle app helps children with logical thinking skills by challenging them to use limited evidence to solve a puzzle. This is a great team effort app as well.

Click here for Android version

Click here for iPad version

Tellagami

Tellagami has been great for helping students to express themselves in more meaningful ways. There are options for personalizing a character (gender, skin color, outfit, background, etc.) that says what the student decides. Once the character is created, the student can either speak the script or write the script for the character. I prefer this app over Talking Ben because it is more realistic and works on a variety of skills (expression, spelling, creation, etc.). It can be used for book reviews, blog posts, field trip recaps, etc.

Click here for Android version

Click here for iPad

Qrafter

This app is great for reading QR codes. There are a number of apps out there that do the same thing, but the layout on this one is nice. As much as I would love to do more advanced augmented reality, this technology is more reliable (at this point). Within the computer lab, students have created an interactive timeline with QR codes with the focus on computer history. Next plan is a school-wide timeline that stretches up the stairs.

Click here for iPad version

And of course a game that can be used for fun (and problem-solving):

Blokus

If you’re looking for a game to challenge students with their spatial problem-solving and planning, then this is a great option. The game is never the same twice and the rules are simple enough to learn.

Click here for iPad version

There is a vast selection of apps, and I’d love to hear the more meaningful and challenging apps you use in your classrooms.

A Tech Field Trip

My new position has its limitations, mainly time! I’m finding myself playing tech integrator, tech support and troubleshooting, and mentor to new teachers– just to name a few. The value of bouncing ideas off another person is something that is tough to replicate without the face-to-face contact and hands on experience– being in my own world of managing and implementing tech has been hard, even with the support of the online community. This week, I went to visit a school to observe the work they do with tech integration. Being there was better than all the posts I could ever read.

I got to see their work in action– not just the integration itself– the backbone to the integration: systems management, policy implementation, and a structure to model after. Being able to pick and choose what I wanted to take away for the program being developed at my school was so valuable.

First, I learned not to use Apple Configurator to manage the devices, as it’s not a well developed program for the purpose of education. I found out about Meraki– a free, web-based mobile device management system. It keeps everything so organized and makes it really easy to track devices and purchases. I began playing around with it, and it does everything I need it to do– even things I didn’t realize I’d need! Click here for a little video explanation.

After the visit, I feel ready to dive deep into the roll-out of the iPads. As excited as I am to see these devices in my school, I wonder about how they could be better, more educationally focused, and more easily shared. I’ll save that tangent for another post.