Great FREE iPad Apps for the Classroom

This year, my school district has decided to implement the iPad in the classroom. Our plan is to use this technology to turbocharge student learning and provide a 21st century environment where students will learn relevant life skills. After having my ipad for 4 months, and doing training sessions for fellow staff, I feel that my list of "Demo Apps" would be a great help for other teachers trying to incorporate technology in their classroom. These apps have been chosen for the following reasons:

  • They are FREE
  • They can provide a method of learning that is superior to a textbook or traditional classroom
  • They are well-designed and easy to use

1. NOVA Elements

This app, aimed at chemistry teachers, is a great app that not only gives students a periodic table with detailed information, but also includes a game that teaches the construction of various items in the world, and even offers access to NOVA's Hunting the Elements video series.

This app is beautifully designed and definitely gives students deep insight into the elements and how chemistry plays a huge role in real life.


2. Minds of Modern Mathematics

Minds of Modern Mathematics is a mathematician database, which also includes a timeline of every mathematician they thought was appropriate. While this won't help students directly perform better on a test, it will spark passion for mathematics and hopefully provide an environment where students will continue their passion for mathematics.

The interface is a little tricky, but leaves a lot to be discovered, especially for teachers. This would be great in a middle school setting to help students understand where mathematics came from and how it plays a role in our lives.



3. Library of Congress Virtual Tour(Install as iPhone app)

This app provides students with some great content from the Library of Congress. Ideal for a US History class, students have access to podcasts, videos, pictures, and readings about various aspects of American History found in the Library of Congress.

This app is ideal for reference, or even homework for students to look into. There is definitely some great material in this app.



4. SAS Flash Cards

Flash cards are a great way for students to test their memory, especially if that is how they want to study. With this app, the user can create flash cards to test themselves with. They can even mail them to other people to share their own personal flash cards. From there, students could collaborate and create one large pool of flash cards to operate with, thus making a learning environment supported by all students.

Going digital with flash cards has a small learning curve, but once you are fluent, it saves time and boosts efficiency in the longrun.



5. Docs Teach

Docs Teach allows the user to explore documents relative to US History. There are many documents available and activities that provoke thought and interpretation. In addition to providing great resources and activities, a teacher can also set up a classroom code and have students enter it on the main screen, saving time wasted during navigation and searching.


6. TED Talks

TED stands for Technology, Engineering and Design. TED is a great organization that tries to better the world and share the passion for learning with the world. Many of these talks are amazing for self-growth, but many also connect to topics in high school. For example, TED has presentations given by people heavily involved in technology, so networking, social networks, security, the internet, and many other aspects are covered. TED also covers topics such as mathematics, learning from history, business, literacy, science, and so much more. Even if this app isn't used in the classroom, it is a great way to learn some really impressive things.


7. MyScript Calculator

This app is great for quickly doing some mathematical calculations. You draw in your numbers and operations, and the app interprets them and finds an answer. Students can use it to take mathematical notes as they proceed through a word problem, they can learn how the order of operations changes outcomes when parenthesis are introduced, and it can be used to simply play around with operations to gain stronger number sense.


8. Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a great resource that can provide supplemental resources for students. This app connects the user to many different resources in math, chemistry, humanities, and offers some other interesting aspects such as test preparation, talks and interviews, coaching resources, and projects to investigate. The narrator is clear, and provides a great pace for students to learn from. If a student misses class, he or she can access this supplemental material to keep up to par with their fellow students.



9. Educreations

I chose to put Educreations immediately after Khan Academy because this app allows you to create your own lesson plans. You can draw, change pen colors for color coding concepts, include pictures, add text, and other various tricks. The editor is clean and easy to use, and can allow for some great learning. This app allows you to share your links or embed your lessons as well. My only issue, in which my opinion is debatable, is that you cannot download your videos for personal use, such as your own website. You are dependent on Educreations to host your material. You can check out a really simple demonstration of the app here, or you can check out their site with dedicated material here.



10. Good Grapher

This app is not only a great resource for middle school and high school, but it is also a great demonstration of higher level mathematics. Good Grapher offers a 2d grapher, 3d grapher, and an equation solver for both polynomials and systems of equations up to 3 unknown variables. These tools definitely bring a great wealth of manipulation of complex math. I use this to show my students how cool mathematics can be.


11. SAS Notebooks

We see a SAS product once again because SAS makes great material. I teach a high school SAS Programming course and one of the most impressive things about SAS products is the exceptional coding. SAS's Notebook software allows the user to make a notebook of content, which would be ideal for almost any class. Users can make a table of contents, draw pages for diagrams, or even add text to sheets for notes. By the end of the year, a student could have an ideal notebook that archives their entire classroom learning experience, accessible at any time if backed up.



12. Schoology

Schoology is a free system similar to Engrade or other grade management systems. However, this gives you a great interface ideal for the iPad. Both the teacher and student can download the app under different account types and participate in the classroom environment with ease.


13. Cam Scanner

Cam Scanner is a great app that allows you to take a picture of a document or piece of paper and turn it into a PDF. Now, teachers can digitize all of their older work and send it to students, parents, administrators, fellow teachers, or anyone else interested. The software takes care of major editing and whatnot, and converts items quickly in an easy to use manner. The only thing that must be noted is the inability to recognize words, but this is something that I foresee in the future through an update.


14. DuoLingo(Install as iPhone app)

DuoLingo is a great tool for learning another language, either for a teacher or for a student. Right now, DuoLingo offers German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and French. The system is gamified, meaning that the learning approach is inspired through gaming elements such as health, levels, challenges, and other engaging activities. DuoLingo is 100% free and is a great free way to learn or re-learn a language.