As we said in our last post, people are always asking us for a list of our top ten apps. It’s virtually impossible to choose only ten! However, we just released a list of Top Ten App Developers who we feel continuously bring outstanding apps to the market. Now, we have compiled a TOP TEN LIST of Tried and True Apps we love using in the classroom! Please note, although these apps work well in the classroom, they are absolutely appropriate in the home and any other setting. Also, keep in mind that all of the apps we have featured on our site, are worthy of a download.
*Note: Please read the reviews before purchasing, as some apps are developed with a very specific audience in mind.
TOP 10 Tried & True Classroom Apps!
Outstanding Apps of 2011… listed in no particular order:
Ansel & Clair’s Adventures in Africa by cognitivekid is a Social Studies/Geography app which combines thought provoking educational content, with engaging gameplay and thrilling interactions that keep children engaged, entertained and learning. While Cognitive Kid aims to teach and reinforce concepts, they answer not just the “what?” but also the “why?” and ”how? questions. Spectacular interactions, animations, stunning visuals, quests, along with, puzzles and games, bring learning to life. We first used this app last spring, in a sixth grade classroom, while they were studying Egypt. The kids loved it, never felt that it was below them and they continued to use it throughout the year.
My Bird World - by 5 Ravens, is a Science app filled with fascinating facts, sensational real bird calls, and great photos. It is totally impressive. The app includes players learning about North American birds, including their songs, food choices, and habitats. We found that students took to this app immediately. They worked cooperatively in groups, assisting one another to move ahead and learn the ropes to master the game.
Smarty Pants School, by Smarty Pants School LLC, is an awesome application for for the PreK set. This app enables parents and teachers to introduce, teach, reinforce, and have FUN while playing a wide variety of pre-reading and reading games with their children. There are five different games or classes and each having multiple levels. There is also an assessment tool to gauge where to start each child. Smarty Pants is an app that we return to over and over again with our tutor students.
Faces iMake – Right Brain Creativity, by iMagine machine, is a creative, modern day take on the beloved and all time classic, Mr. Potato Head – our generation’s mainstay toy for creative play! This app is a great way for kids to relax, unwind, have some fun, and most importantly use their imagination! Faces iMake HD is a perfect way to develop right brain creative capabilities. Our students use this app during our Project Period to make all kinds of wonderful creations.
Dexteria VPP – Fine Motor Skill Development, by Binary Labs, is a wonderful app to help all kids focus, improve, and perfect their fine motor skills. This app was developed by a group of occupational therapists. As teachers, we are really impressed with the thought and execution of this incredible tool. There are three distinct activities to improve fine motor skills and handwriting readiness, each one is very different from the other. Dexteria’s hand and finger exercises take full advantage of the iPad’s multi-touch interface to help build strength, control, and dexterity. These exercises are designed to be used again and again. They are not only engaging, students think they’re really FUN! We have been witnessing students having a blast as they make much needed progress.
Proloquo2Go, by AssistiveWare, is an app that has the reputation of being an absolute angel! It provides an easy solution, in a very cool package, to assist anyone who may have difficulty speaking. This communication system redefines AAC, (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) which is defined as “An integrated group of components, including the symbols, aids, strategies and techniques used by individuals to enhance communication.” As this definition states, communication encompasses more than just spoken words. It includes gestures, eye gaze, touch, body postures/movements, sign language, photographs, printed words, objects, pictoideographs, and Braille. We had our life skills teacher review this app for us. He uses it daily with his students, in and out of school, and says that no other app can really compete with Proloquo2go because it’s just that good.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by Moonbot Studios LA – This is a very, VERY cool app. The award-winning short film is now an interactive, narrative experience. William Joyce’s “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”, blurs the line between picture books and animated film. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore app was shown in the classroom using the SmartBoard, as a lead into a writing assignment. Kids were in awe of this app! We featured this app on our Just Books page months ago, we’re still in awe of it.
ParisAppTours: Beware Mme la Guillotine, A Revolutionary Tour of Paris, by Time Traveler Tours, puts Paris in the palm of your hand! With this innovative app on your iPhone or iPod Touch you will get to the heart of the French Revolution with murderess, Charlotte Corday as your guide. You’ll discover history with those who made it! Beware Madame la Guillotine offers adults, teens, families and school groups — whether residents or visitors to Paris — a vivid and engaging way to explore and really get to know the museums, monuments, parks, boulevards, cafés and other locations of relevance to the French Revolution. This app is great because it combines the traditional power of storytelling with the latest in mobile technology! This app first came to our attention back in the summer. We quickly featured it on our More Mentions page in hopes of catching those who might be traveling to Paris during the summer break.
iTooch MATH Grade 5, by eduPAD, is a terrific app that covers a lot of ground concept-wise and shouldn’t be limited to just fifth graders. This app combines a no-frills approach to content while still providing the user with an exciting learning experience. The mascot is adorable and keeps kids on task with lots of encouragement and their is a lesson summary available when needed. iTooch MATH Grade 5 is, by far, the largest collection in the App Store of educational activities based on US national standards. Students are immediately challenged by this app. The format calls for mental math – something we don’t see required often enough these days. When needed, aids are readily available.
Millie & The Lost Key, by Megapops, is a darling, clever and loveable app book. The iPad has taken literacy and made it all the better. Millie’s pages are a scrapbook-like collage – part photography and part cartoon, with exciting and funny forays into the unexpected with every swipe. The app has a pop-up book feel and there are different interactions throughout. There are tabs to pull, flaps to lift, buttons to push, and wheels to turn, as well as several games to play. The narrator is spot on with tone and inflection, giving the story polish, panache and humor. The very best part is that this app doesn’t get old, kids want to go back to it over and over again!