4. Selecting Apps

iPads need apps – finding good ones and purchasing them will be the responsibility of the school.  You’ll need a school iTunes account.

Selecting, assessing and managing apps is an ongoing process.  Many apps have free versions that are limited and excellent for checking out the app.  Then if it seems useful, you can decide to buy the fully functional app, or not.  Principals will sometimes have teachers give them names of apps they want to try and will then download apps and sync them to the iPads.  There will need to be some security (the iTunes password is the basic level of security) so that only limited people can buy/install apps.

Finding the best apps can be overwhelming.  While there are many good apps, there are also many that are undesirable for use in classrooms, and like any other resource, an app that is great in one situation may not be desirable in a different situation.

iPads come with a few apps, but you’ll want to add many more.  There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting apps:

  • Apps are not available through the NS School Book Bureau, therefore they have not gone through the same selection process as other resources in your classrooms.  It is the responsibility of teachers and principals to ensure apps are selected and used appropriately.
  • The Department of Education has created a good form (in English and French) that will help you evaluate an app and assess it’s appropriateness for your classroom context. In addition, you should apply the Bias Evaluation Instrument to the app.

Why do you want to use the iPad and apps? Will you be using them as teaching tools only or will students use them as they work? Do you want to Enhance a lesson or do you want to Transform the way your students approach an activity?

  • The SAMR Model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) of Technology Integration is an interesting approach to considering app functionality.  You’ll find a brief visual illustration (poster) of the SAMR Model at Apps in Education. A more detailed explanation can be found in this presentation. For even more information Google “SAMR Model” or “Dr. Ruben Puentedura” the creator of the model.
  • You might also want to think about apps in terms of their relationship to the Bloom’s Revised  Taxonomy of cognitive processes.  Kathy Schrock (Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything) takes a look at apps and Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy here and here.  A quick Google search of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and terms like apps or iPad or technology, will give you plenty to think about on this topic!

You’ll find there are MANY lists of apps for the classroom.  As you search for apps and find lists, it’s important to remember that new apps are released daily so all lists are out of date before they are published – that’s not to say they don’t provide useful information, however price may change and functionality sometimes varies (usually for the better, sometimes not) with newer/updated versions of apps.

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