Five Common iPad App Questions Answered

1/13/2012 4:38:00 AM

Christmas is over and we have unboxed our iPads. Hopefully you were inspired by my article The iPad doesn’t BiteAs I am working with school districts and parents, several iPad questions come up routinely. How do I find apps for education? How will I know it the app is a “good” app? How do I use the app after it’s loaded? Can I track my student’s progress?  Where can I learn more about apps for students with special needs?

How do I find the best apps for education? This question is always the first one I'm asked. I am the proud owner of over 700 apps! There are many sites out there which provide app resources. Here are a few of my favorites:

IEAR- I Education Apps Review- Read reviews on apps, schools spreadsheets of Apps, student reviews and more.
SNapps4Kids- SNapps review adds an embedded list of skills that are addressed in every app they review.
Scoop it- Recommended Educational App Lists- You can join the site or simply use this link to see what they are reviewing. The information is current and presented in a user-friendly manner.
Apps in Education- Great blog spot! Includes apps for music, math, English teachers, special needs and more.
App Advice is not only a website but an app: appadvice $1.99. Enjoy reading App Guides, Lists, Reviews and Charts.

Of course, make sure to read Tech Learning Blogs!

How do I know if the app is good? Hopefully the sites above guide you in the right direction. I check out the user comments on Apple's app store and look for a free or lite version of the app. I also look for a YouTube video for the app; seeing the app in action helps to decide whether it's right for your students.

How do I use the app? If the app doesn't come with directions, try the developer’s webpage, write the developer, watch a YouTube video, or Google the app, adding the word tutorial. Or simply try experimenting with the app. Many of the apps allow you to personalize your settings from general settings, notification settings, sound, level of navigation, data, etc.

Can I track my student’s progress? Although tracking data capability doesn't come with every app, it's becoming a new trend, as many educators want to keep statistics for report cards, meeting Core Standards or IEP goals, and to show parents their child's progress. Within an app's description it will state if the app tracks data. A lot of speech apps will allow the therapist to track data with an additional therapy fee. For example, Preposition Remix for $9.99 allows you to add therapist upgrade for $5.99. Other apps will send home a weekly report card to parents: Best Math Worksheet Apps for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade.

Where can I learn more about apps for students with special needs? Visit my wiki, where I list many special needs apps by category. I also made a video demonstrating some of my favorite iPad apps here.

Vicki Windman is a special education teacher at Clarkstown High School South.
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