Saturday, September 24, 2011

Principal Notes: My Favorite iPad apps

I am frequently asked what my favorite app for the iPad is. I don’t have a favorite app where there are so many but, there are three I really like. The first app I really enjoy is Solar Walk - 3D Solar System model. I wish I had had this app when I taught fifth grade and the unit on the Solar System. I find this app to be very exploratory.

The other app I really enjoy is Toontastic. Toontastic allows the user to make cartoons and through what the child sees as play they are working on oral expression and learning the key elements of a literary story. I downloaded Toontastic this summer prior to a road trip. When our family drives long distances, we give both our daughters (ages 3 and 7) iPads. They love reading books, using the educational Apps, and the creative music and art they can create on these devices while in the car. By the end of the two and half hour drive, my daughter had made several movies. I have seen the same level of excitement, engagement and learning first hand while a second grade classroom was using this app last Spring.

The third app I really like is Dexteria - Fine Motor Skill Development. This app offers a set of hand exercises to improve fine motor skills as well as handwriting readiness for not just children but also adults. The multi-touch interface still astounds me that such technology is available in such a small device.

I ended my walk-throughs today seeing a teacher was providing intervention to two students working on the iPads utilizing a math app. Not only could I see the students learning what I also noticed were the smiles on their faces as they were enjoying learning and yes, having fun. It thrills me to have this new technology in our building that provide for not just learning but fun.

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