Tuesday, March 6, 2012

iPad Cart & App Selection

I am in the process of setting up an iPad cart at my school and have been carefully considering which apps I am going to buy through our Volume Purchase Program to install on the iPads.

However, as I have been working my way through this process I have realized that starting with apps is the wrong starting point.  Instead, I have broken down the use of iPads into goals based around what students will be able to create by using the iPads.  Further, I have tried to identify content that they can create using the iPad that either altogether can't be or can't easily be created using our existing technology (computer lab PCs, flip cameras, PC laptop carts).  It is also important to consider that iPads are absolutely designed to be individual use devices and iPads in a shared cart style environment pose unique problems that have impact my decision making process.

iPad Goals:

1. Create and edit video - iMovie (4.99).  I chose this app because of the robust editing capacity and the ability to export directly to YouTube and Vimeo.

2. Create and edit audio - SoundCloud (free) & Garageband (4.99).  Soundcloud provides the ability to record and publish audio directly to the web to an existing Soundcloud account.  While Garageband allows for more advanced editing of podcast projects.

3. Create presentations - ExplainEverything (2.99) / EduCreations (free) & Keynote (9.99).  ExplainEverything does have one key advantage over EduCreations, the ability to create a screencast on the iPad and directly upload to YouTube from the app.  Keynote provides the ability to make linear presentations that can be exported from the iPad as either Keynote, PDF or Powerpoint files.

4. Create and edit images - Skitch (Free) & Visualize (.99) - Skitch is the easiest and most intuitive image editing app and I particularly like the ability to edit both images, maps and web pages from within the app.
Visualize was a recent find that has advanced features that are inline with the ability to create info graphics on the iPad.  Particularly the ability used images from the camera roll and extract specific portions of the image for use in a Visualize project.

5. Create eBooks - Book Creator (4.99).  This is the best app I have come across to create eBooks directly on the iPad.  One creature that I particularly like is the ability to record audio directly into an eBook.

5. Read & Annotate - GoodNotes (3.99) or Notability (.99) - Both of these apps can be used as digital textbooks and provide the ability to create annotations directly on PDF documents.  They also allow images or blank pages to be inserted within a note set.  Along with either one of these apps, I am going to instal both the Joliprint and Dotepub conversion code that allows any blog, website or article to be converted to either a PDF or ePub file directly on the iPad.  This will allow students to then take notes directly within the reading on the iPad.

6. Document Research - Diigo (free) & Diigo Bookmarklet.  With the diigo bookmarlet installed, students have the ability to bookmark their research to their Diigo accounts directly from the iPad.

The total cost of this setup using the Volume Purchase Program: $450

iMovie - 2.50 X 30 = 75
Garageband - 2.50 X 30 = 75
ExplainEverything - 1.50 X 30 = 45
Keynote - 5.00 X 30 = 150
Visualize - .50 X 30 = 15
BookCreator - 2.50 X 30 = 75
Notability - .50 X 30 = 15

This is by no means a complete list of every app that will be installed on the iPads.  Ideally, if these devices were not shared I would include Evernote, Box, Dropbox...however, because they are shared the need to sign in and sign out of apps each time they are used poses a problem.  A second problem that arises because these devices are shared is the email address associated with the iPad.  Email being the primary method by which content is shared from the iPad, an email address needs to be setup for each device.  My district has settled on creating one email address per iPad cart and setting it up on every iPad. I will report back later on how this process works with more classroom experience.

For a more thorough list on iPad apps categorized by objectives or goals, the EdTechTeacher iPad includes 15 goals with appropriate apps for each goal.  (Full disclosure: I work for EdTechTeacher and helped to create the iPad


  1. Greg,

    Thanks for taking the time to outline your intentions, the advantages and disadvantages associated with each of the apps listed above. Its great to hear the perspectives of teachers in districts other than my own using iPads in the classroom. From experience I can say I like iMovie and ExplainEverything very much and believe your students will appreciate these creation-centered apps.

  2. A couple of others to consider - Rover, Ace player, Discover, Office2 HD, infinote, slide shark - many other possibilities. You need to consider where you are emailing to we are planning to set up email accounts for different classes. You could set up classes for each student in Google.