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Apps for Education

Posted by on April 23, 2012

Kids love using iPads. All those fun activities that can be accessed quickly via the pad format are both stimulating andaddictive. I’m all for giving kids what they want in the way of educational tools, but there-in lies the rub:

How do you find those apps?

When my school asked me to come up with a collection to use on our new class-set of ipads (to cycle through grades 3-8), I thought it would be easy.

It wasn’t.

Every app I looked into claimed to be educational because that’s today’s buzz word–edutainment–because teacher (and moms) would never consider wasting a child’s formative years. More often than not, despite their claims, those that screamed the loudest offered the least in the way of education and even less as entertainment. Kids tried them and dumped them.

A year into this, I’ve shared the app list that worked for my school. Now, I am starting on next year’s list. This time, I’m going to be smarter. I’ve been researching the recommendations from the best names in education. How could that fail? Here are a few of the sources:

Turns out no one agrees on a list. Every list I check has many completely new apps from anything I’ve heard of in the past with just a few overlaps (there are some exceptions, like Google Earth and Evernote). Why is this true? Because there are too many apps out there. The best names in tech ed end up recommending what they are familiar and comfortable with. There doesn’t seem to be a list of ‘best’ apps on everyone’s lips.

Which means I’ll create one. You can help.

I am developing a list of the most effective apps used in schools. It will be lengthy so I’ll organize it by topic, but it’ll be a good starting point as you seek apps for your school, homeschool, library, or family.

If you have a favorite, please add a comment. If you are the developer of one you know should be a favorite, please contact me. I’ll review it and decide if it meets criteria for

  • authentic
  • student-centered
  • educational
  • affordable
  • easy-to-use
  • sustainable

Check back often. I’ll let you know when this is available–definitely in time for summer!

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and dozens of books on how to integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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