8 useful educational iOS mobile apps

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Toontastic enables students to draw, animate and share their own cartoons and stories with friends and family! The Toontastic app offers a global storytelling network called 'TuneTube' where access is made easy for everyone.

Example: Toontastic would be a wonderful app to explore in a Grade 1 or 2 Language Arts class as a creative writing project. You could ask your students to keep a journal/diary of their dreams throughout the year and have them create a DreamToon (a cartoon based on their dreams) as a final project.

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Fotobabble is an app that allows students to take a picture and tell a story related to that picture. This app gives individuals the chance to capture a moment in real-time and create a 'Talking Photo'.

Example: Students could use the Fotobabble app during the holiday season to send a loved one (friend or family member) a personalized holiday greeting. You could take your students outside on a mini field trip to allow for further photographic creativity.

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Choose Your Path

Choose Your Path is an interactive game provided by the Children's Museum of Indianapolis that teaches children about the best ways to interact with bullies. The app covers areas in three different settings - online, on the playground, and in the classroom. Different scenarios unfold and students make choices on how to stand up for themselves and their friends.

Example: It would be interesting to have your students work with the app and the stories the app generates for a few classes, eventually putting on their own bullying awareness performances. Have your students put together a few short skits/scenarios that look at bullying from all three settings and have them demonstrate proper ways of dealing with commonly-found bullying experiences.

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Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere allows teachers/educators to choose from polls that could involve things like multiple choice or true/false questions. Students can respond from the Poll Everywhere app, text message, web browser, or twitter. It would be to the educators discretion to decide how they would like their students to respond (twitter, for example, may not be the best way for a Grade 1 class to respond).

Example: Create a variety of questions for a particular lesson in advance and place them throughout a PowerPoint presentation. It would be strategic to use Poll Everywhere questions as a bonus point system in your classroom where students are able to receive extra credit for participation. This would entice students to engage in the materials at hand and get them use to voicing their own beliefs.

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VoiceThread is a free and easy way to create and open up compelling conversations around the world. Anyone can join the discussion at any time with the apps simplicity and accessibility. You can now talk, type and draw directly onto the screen giving students unlimited choice and imagination.

Example: Connect with a class abroad by setting up pen-pals, VoiceThread style. If you were a french immersion teacher, for example, you could have your students practice their french with a classmate from a French or Quebecois classroom, and vice versa with the students from abroad working on their english.

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Wunderlist is an easy to use free app that can be used educationally and/or recreationally. Wunderlist makes it easy for students to share their lists with one another and can aid in group projects and collaboration. Students can start conversations about the lists, assign to-dos to group members, attach photos and the list goes on.

Example: Wunderlist would be a great app to use for a social studies group project. Students are able to assign tasks (from the list) to each group member and organize progress/ideas. Wunderlist makes it easy to add notes and support resources in group settings, especially when the students have to work on the project outside of school time and may not be able to get together as a group.

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Speak & Translate

Speak & Translate is an app that translates text and voice in up to 40 different spoken languages and 72 different written languages! The app can provide aide with language barriers and frustrations and could be particularly useful for ESL students.

Example: The Speak & Translate app would be a handy tool for a social studies or language arts assignment related to another countries language and culture (social) or in translating relevant literature (LA).

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Alphabet Tracing

The Alphabet Tracing app is a free and easy app that encourages students to learn to hand-write English letters (the alphabet) and numbers. Children can follow the worm, truck and train animations as they trace the letter or number on the dotted lines of the tablet/device.

Example: I would love to use this app in a kindergarden or grade 1 class. I would have a tablet station set up with this app open on all of the tablet for the students to explore and work on their hand-writing. The Alphabet Tracing tablet station would be one of a number of different stations set up throughout the classroom. Other stations could include things like guided reading groups and paper airplane making stations.