In preparation for presenting a workshop on mobile technology and devices in education I have been reviewing and playing with many iPhone and iPad apps. It’s hard to narrow them down to my top ten because each will have certain features and functionality that might prove useful and valuable in a particular context. However, my top ten apps overall reflect widespread needs and concerns that professionals might have and technical solutions that can be provided by technology. So, these are my top ten:
Flipboard – A great personalized social magazine on your iPad that is made out of feeds from your Twitter account, your Facebook account and any other RSS feed. Want to keep all those feeds in one place, in a simple and attractive interface design, well then Flipboard is your app.
Diigo – Diigo is a very effective social bookmarking site which has many tools and features to support the bookmarking of sites with comments, highlighted portions and even sticky notes. By following a simple set of instructions, the Diigo toolbar will add these features to your web browsing experiences on your iPad and make bookmarking even better on your mobile devices.
Dropbox – Do you want to have access to files on your PC/Macbook, your iPad and your mobile phone? Dropbox is a fantastic online tool for transferring files between these devices. With Dropbox you will have access to a number of files anywhere, anytime through wifi.
Keynote – Create eye-catching presentations with this easy-to-use application. Keynote is part of the Apple iWork software package and when loaded as an app on the iPad you can create presentations on the go. Presentations can be created from scratch or copied from iTunes, iDisk, WebDAV as well which provides more options for use. A simple to use interface.
Mindmash – ‘A Canvas for Your Ideas’ is the hook for this app. Brainstorming and drawing is a key activity in mind mapping ideas within lessons and personal planning of work. A tool with simple settings and very easy to use, this app will be helpful in all brainstorming sessions.
ShowMe – ShowMe is being taken on by many schools as a valuable classroom tool. This app allows an individual to draw with their finger or stylus on the screen and create a video at the same time. As an instructional tool, this app facilitates the creation of videos that can guide students through learning concepts with teacher explanation. Students could also make their own videos to explain their new-found knowledge and skills on something.
GoodReader – One of the best PDF reader apps out there. This app will let you read all your files easily and with some extra features included, you can even annotate your PDFs. Like me, when you read an article you probably have various thoughts you’d like to take note of whilst doing it, with GoodReader its possible. Highlighting and sticky notes are also great features of this app.
Feedler – There are many RSS feed reader apps out there but I like this one because it worked for me first off 🙂 This app is very easy to use and navigation to all your feeds is simple with the menus provided. With too many features to list, this app syncs well with feeds and updates regularly with internet connectivity. Also, you can cache your feeds for OFFLINE reading.
AudioNote – This app records voices as notes are taken and syncs them together. You can also highlight notes during playback to mark points of interest. I wish I’d had this tool during uni but it’s here now and its great!
There are an extensive amount of apps out there and each one will be marketed as having something different and doing something different, however, my advice would be to look at what your needs and intentions are when utilising apps in education. What do you want the app to help faciltate? What products to you want to see produced?