Sunday, August 3, 2014

My Top 5 iPad Apps for the Classroom Series: Keynote

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The use of iPads in schools has grown tremendously over the past few years. It seems like every week you hear of a new school or district starting a new to 1 to 1 iPad program. With that in mind, I thought it would be a helpful to share some of the insights I have gained since the launch of my school's 1 to 1 iPad program two years ago. One question that constantly comes up when discussing iPads in schools involves what apps are best for the classroom. With the endless number of apps available, this can be a very daunting question.

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. The third app on my list is the presentation app, Keynote, created by Apple. Anyone who has used Keynote for the Mac knows it is a fantastic program for creating presentations and the iPad app is no exception. Like the other apps in the iWork suite for the iPad, Keynote is very easy and intuitive for users of all ages to navigate.  In my opinion, it offers the most robust set of features for creating and editing presentations on the iPad. Below are some of the key features to be aware of: 
  • Simple and intuitive user interface
  • Automatic iCloud back-up 
  • Great selection of slide animations and transitions
  • Built-in image enhancement capability
  • Ability to insert professional charts and graphs 
  • Helpful presentation tools including a highlighter which allows the presenter to highlight specific areas of a slide during a live presentation in addition to a laser pointer tool
  • Variety of easy to use sharing options including AirDrop for iOS users
  • Microsoft Office compatibility allows users to import PowerPoint presentations for further editing or export new presentations out as PowerPoint files
  • Ability to collaborate with other users on the same presentation through shared iCloud links
If you have never used Keynote on the iPad before, check out this brief tutorial I created for students new to the app at our school. 

The best news of all is that Keynote, along with every app in the iWork suite, is free with the purchase of a new iPad. If you are not eligible to download it for free, the normal cost is $9.99 but it is well worth it if you would like to have a quality presentation app for your iPad. If you would like to download Keynote or view more detailed info on it, visit the following link: Keynote

If you are familiar with another presentation app for the iPad that is comparable or even better than Pages, feel to comment and share your recommendation. It is always helpful to know about the different options available. In the next post, we will review the next app in my top 5 list....iMovie.

If you missed Part 1 or 2 of this series, you can view them at the following links: 


Have a great week! 


  1. I love Keynote! It's very simple and kids can pick it up and create with little to now instruction. However, I find when given Keynote they usually create a simple boring presentation. I like to use Explain Everything. It takes a little more getting used to but it much more powerful than Keynote and it helps kids add more creativity to their presentations.

    1. Thanks for sharing. Explain Everything will actually be the final app I cover in this series. I'm saving the best for last! If I had to pick just one app as my absolute favorite, Explain Everything would definitely be the one. I appreciate your feedback.