|Image Credit: http://www.gingerlabs.com|
A key point that helps sort through this mess involves a focus on apps that allow creation. Oftentimes, teachers get bogged down with trying to find apps that support and deliver content; however, these apps seldom require much in the way of higher order thinking skills as they typically involve simple drill and practice tasks. Education Week has an excellent blog post from February 2013 that sums up this issue very nicely... All the Good Apps Fit on One Screen. As mentioned by the author, a focus on creation apps can be very liberating for a teacher as it eliminates the need to stay up-to-date with the endless number of content focused apps available. Additionally, creation apps possess much greater potential to positively impact learning and the development of 21st Century Skills such as creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking.
With all that being said, I have put together a list of the top 5 apps I would recommend for anyone using iPads in the classroom. First on the list is Notability. At its core, Notability is a robust note taking app designed with students in mind. Although there are many outstanding note taking apps available for the iPad, Notability is ideal for students for a variety of reasons. Below are some of the most important features that make it stand out among other note taking apps:
- Simple and intuitive to use for students of all ages including elementary age kids
- Organization structure that students easily understand
- Automatic backup capability to a variety of cloud storage services (very important for students)
- Provides the ability to type or hand write notes = great feature for students completing work in subjects such as science and math where equations are much easier to hand write
- Lectures can be recorded and notes automatically sync with the recorded audio
- PDF and MS Office documents can be imported into Notability and annotated
- A variety of multimedia content can be embedded into notes
- Keyword search capability within notes
*Video courtesy of @teacherweiss
To purchase Notability or view more details about the app, check it out on the app store here: Notability
While Notability is certainly not the only great note taking app available, it is my personal favorite for use in an academic setting. Students at our school have been using it with great success for over two years and the developers of the app continue to make it better and better. For those of you with experience using Notability, feel free to share any additional insights that may be helpful for individuals wanting to check it out. In the next post, we will look at the word processing app, Pages, created by Apple.