Did you receive a gift of a new iPad this year? If so, you’re probably spending this holiday vacation week trying out all kinds of new apps. Here are ten that I recommend getting started with.
Evernote is the Swiss Army knife of iPad apps. I use Evernote for a little bit of everything from bookmarking websites to dictating notes to myself. The app automatically syncs with my online Evernote account so that I can access my notes, bookmarks, and saved files from any computer or device that is connected to the web. Learn more in the video below.
I subscribe to the RSS feeds of a few hundred blogs and websites. The way that I keep up with all of those updates is by spending thirty to sixty minutes a day flipping through Feedly. Feedly takes my RSS subscriptions and lays them out in a nice magazine style format that makes it easy for me to quickly scan the headlines and images attached to the articles. If I want to read the full article I can simply click through to read it. If I want to save the article to read later, I can mark it for reading later. If I want to share an article to my favorite social networks I can do that too.
If you want to make your own short instructional videos for students, Knowmia Teach is an app you have to try. Some of the highlights of Knowmia Teach app include the option to use your iPad’s camera to record yourself while drawing on the whiteboard. You will appear in the corner of the screen so that your students can see you while you’re talking them through the lesson. The app includes the option to import images and graphics from your iPad to your lessons. You can draw free-hand on the whiteboard screen, type on the whiteboard screen, and insert pre-made shapes and figures.
Box is another service that I use for file storage and sharing. On Box I can create public and private shared folders to which I can send files that I want others to access. For example, I created a folder just for video files that I share with my editor at School Library Journal. She can access the folder and download the files whenever she wants. A bonus aspect is that I get an email notification when she’s accessed the files. Box on the iPad offers the same features as Box on the web. Currently, if you download the free Box iOS app they will give you an additional 10GB of storage for free. The iOS app will sync with your online Box account so that you can access your files whenever you connect to the web.
It took me a while to come around to Pinterest, but now that I have I really like it. I like it for the same reason that I like Feedly, it’s visual interface makes it easy to browse through my favorite boards and find things that are of interest to me. And of course, I can Pin things myself through the Pinterest for iPad app. Here’s the board that I started for this blog.
Haiku Deck is an iPad app that all students and teachers should have installed on their iPads. Haiku Deck enables anyone to create beautiful slide presentations. There are two features of Haiku Deck that stand out. First, Haiku Deck intentionally limits how much text that you can put on each of your slides. Second, Haiku Deck helps you find Creative Commons licensed images for your presentations. When you type a word or words on your slides you can have Haiku Deck search for images for you. The images that Haiku Deck serves up are large enough to completely fill your slide. You can also upload your own images from your iPad or import images from Instagram and Facebook.
Skitch for iPad is an app that I use when I want to quickly edit, create, and or draw on an image. I can use Skitch to draw on and label a screenshot to aid my explanation of how an application works. I can also use Skitch to blur or enhance a part of a picture that I’ve taken with my iPad. And if I just want to sketch out diagram and share it, Skitch for iPad lets me do that too.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine set a New Year’s resolution to watch one TED Talk a day. The purpose of his goal was to try to expose himself to new ways of looking at the world. That year I used TED Talks once a week in my homeroom for the same purpose. The TED Talk iPad app allows you to search for new talks, organize playlists and watch your favorite talks on you iPad.
You may have noticed that this list is comprised entirely of free apps. Free apps are great because it doesn’t cost me anything except my time to try them out. Apps Gone Free is a great app on which you can find apps that would normally require a purchase. The Apps Gone Free app lists new apps every day. Some of the apps are only free to download that day while others may remain free for a week or longer. I check it every morning.
Chrome is the browser that I use 90% of the time that I’m on the web. Chrome for iPad is my browser of choice because I can sync all of my tabs from my laptop and desktop to my iPad browsing experience.