What is it? Anyone who own an iPad has likely used it to search the App Store. Apps are essentially programs for the iPad. Some, like an alarm clock app, do very basic things. Others are full, highly featured programs like Apple's iMovie, which allows you to edit video. The education section of the app store has nearly 10,000 free or inexpensive (often 99 cents, usually no more than $4.99) apps designed specifically for educational purposes.
How does it work? The App Store can only be properly accessed through an iPad. Apple does have a small representation of it online, but to see the full range of offerings you have to visit from your iPad. Once you access the store, which is a permanent “button” on your screen, you simply have to click on the categories button and pick education. Once you arrive there, you will see a page listing the newest apps. You can search for what you want using the search button or change your screen view to see the most popular apps.
How hard is it to use? It's incredibly easy to use, but a little hard to find what you want, especially if you don't know exactly what you want. Scrolling through nearly 10,000 apps is impossible, or at least impractical, so there's likely a lot of good stuff here that nobody will ever find. Aside from that, downloading apps is very simple, and even the ones you have to purchase are on your iPad after a few simple clicks.
How well does it work? The App store works well if you know what you are looking for, or if you're just browsing. Apps themselves can be a little frustrating, as in many cases there's no way to test them before you buy them, and they don't always do what you think they are going to do. Many paid apps have limited free versions that allow you to test them first. The more popular apps have user comments, so you can at least get an idea of what other people think.
How do I use it in the classroom? There are apps for pretty much everything you can imagine, from math games to maps, and from astronomy aids to science lessons. Apps can definitely reinforce classroom lessons, and iPad time for playing educational games is a great classroom reward. There are also apps that can aid you as a teacher, including apps that cover various national standards and apps that help you make flashcards.
See our archive of iPad app reviews.
Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting. Explore the Tech in the Classroom archive.
Article by Daniel B. Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
Copyright © 2011 Education World