With more than half a million apps available in the Apple app store and hundreds of thousands of apps available for Android devices, it can be difficult for educators to dig through the clutter and find apps to facilitate meaningful learning experiences.
“We planned this event because educators do not have a clue how much these apps can do,” said Robbie Melton from the Tennessee Board of Regents who led the SIGML forum.
During the fast-paced session, panelist and attendees described their favorite apps in brief five-minute presentations. Here is a selection of the most innovative and useful tools from the SIGML forum:
InClass: This app has a built in mic for note taking and a simple organizer for student schedules and assignments.
Frog Dissection: Not just for students squeamish about actual dissections, this app provides videos, quizzes, dissection processes, and even a virtual wet lab.
Al Gore’s Our Choice: Although officially listed on the app store as an interactive book, this app goes way beyond reading a PDF on your mobile device. Access and explore the latest data and information on climate change in this engaging program.
Splashtop Presenter: Splashtob turns an iPad into a feature-rich presentation remote. Using Wi-Fi, you can control a laptop connected to a projector from anywhere in the room.
Sign4Me: This app translates verbal messages to sign language. Great for learning sign language and basic translation.
Verbally: An Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) iPad app, Verbally can also be used as a reading and spelling assistance program to help students sound out words.
News in Slow Spanish: Although a podcast and not an actual app, this program provides weekly broadcasts of news and cultural information from Latin America in relatively simple Spanish presented at a slower than normal pace for learners.
ArtRage: Using typical art tools presented in a digital format, this app makes it possible for students to practice art techniques on the iPad.
Bento: This database app is a great way to track projects and manage lists, but it’s also a great way to do student and peer evaluations.
Dropbox: One of the most popular apps for file management across devices, Dropbox makes it possible to move files between your laptop, smartphone, and tablet.
WattPad: WattPad is a giant repository for user-submitted texts. It’s a great place for young writers to share their work and get community feedback from both amateur and professional authors.
Skitch: Want to write or type on a PDF? With Skitch you can do that and so much more. Skitch is an annotation app for a wide range of files – from JPGs to webpages and everything in between.
Videolicious: Using preset backgrounds, personal videos, and images from your own library, this digital storytelling app helps students tell their stories.
Video Time Machine: With this app you can select any year to find videos of popular movies and songs from the era, breaking news at the time, and even the most popular sports stories.
25-in-1: Free for a limited time, this app offers 25 different educational games for young learners.
Puppet Pals: This app turns your iPad into a virtual puppet theater. Kids can choose preset characters or upload their own creations to tell and share stories.
Baby Finger: This app is designed for very young children. Touch anywhere on the iPad screen and a colorful shape appears.
Color Dots: A very high contrast depiction of bouncing dots. The mesmerizing pattern of floating dots is good both for young children and stressed-out teachers who need five minutes of Zen.
Project Noah: This citizen scientist app invites users to participate in the process of observing and studying the world around them and share their findings publicly.
Faces iMake: Using everyday objects, this app unleashes children’s creativity by enabling them to build an endless array of silly faces.
Behavior Breakthroughs: This app provides an interactive training simulation created for parents and caregivers of children and adults who display challenging behavior. Learn what behavioral experts recommend in a variety of difficult situations.
The Elements: This app has deservedly gotten a great deal of attention in recent years. It’s a gorgeous depiction of the 118 elements on the periodic table.
Leafsnap: Take your smartphone, hold it over a tree leaf, and this app will tell you what plant you’re looking at. This beautiful mobile field guide contains high-resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruit, petiole, seeds, and bark.
ScannerPro: For those who like to keep their records electronically, this app turns your iPhone or newer iPad into a portable document scanner.