5 Innovative iPad Apps That Will Evolve Your Classroom

5 Innovative iPad Apps That Will Evolve Your Classroom

As a teacher, I enjoy looking for new ways to engage students.  Some methods employed may be novel; I know their effectiveness will wear off over time.  Other methods are structured around solid principles of learning and have lasting value.  Striking a balance amongst both novel and lasting methods helps establish an evolving, engaging and enriched classroom experience.

Below are 5 iPad apps that capture this experience and enhance the teaching and learning experience across all content areas.

garage band

1. Garage Band

iTunes Description:

“GarageBand turns your iPad into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play pianos, organs, guitars, drums, and basses on your iPad. They sound and play like their counterparts, but let you do things you could never do on a real instrument.”

Why it’s Listed:

With the use of Garage Band, mundane topics instantly become much more engaging.  With Garage Band, you can instantly create your own “beat” to cover any content in your class.  Additionally, you can use the sampler tool to record your voice and then play it onscreen with the music keyboard.  Cheesy? Yes.  Fun? Absolutely.

VNC Viewer

2.  VNC Viewer

iTunes Description:

“Control a computer from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch! VNC® Viewer connects your device to a computer anywhere in the world, displays its desktop, and lets you take control. You can run applications, change settings, and access data exactly as you would be permitted to do were you sitting in front of it, and using the keyboard and mouse.”

Why it’s Listed:

In our classroom, we use the eInstruction clickers to capture student data on assessments and quizzes.  These devices help log accurate data and provide instant feedback.  Unfortunately, the data captured can only be viewed from my immobile PC.  The VNC Viewer app allows me to view my PC screen on my iPad, allowing me to stay mobile within the classroom while monitoring student progress.  As soon as a student clicks in an incorrect response, I’m at their desk.

Air Display is another app that also extends your PC/ Mac screen to your mobile device.


3.  Word Lens

iTunes Description:

“Instantly translate printed words from one language to another with your built-in video camera, in real time! Use Word Lens on vacation, business travel, and just for fun.”

Why it’s Listed:

If you have any students struggling to learn the English or Spanish language, this app is a must-have.  I have one student that carries an iPod with her and uses it in class any time she doesn’t know what an English word means.  Its effectiveness is amplified outside of the class, where struggling students can use it in the real-world where learning may be more relevant.


4.  Sekai Camera

iTunes Description:

“Sekai Camera allows you to make the whole world a playground with Augmented Reality gaming, and communicate with other users using Air Tags – messages that float on the spot!”

Why it’s Listed:

Admittedly, I think the use of this app in education is little ahead of it’s time; however, reports indicate educators will soon start integrating augmented reality in the classroom.  This app allows any user to create augmented reality air tags.  Students can respond to anything you’ve posted – whether it be a writing prompt, a math question, or anything else classroom-appropriate.  Here’s a pic of Sekai Camera in action in the classroom:


One problem though: filtering options are limited, and I believe air tag congestion will soon be a problem unless someone develops what I’ve labeled as AR channels.



iTunes Description:

● Administer and collect student results from common, summative, formative and rubrics-based assessments
● Log individual student results to any assessment type
● Manage and score collaborative learning activities

Why it’s Listed:

Once you’ve taken a snapshot of an answer key (template is available from their website), you can then take a picture of students’ scantrons for instant scoring.  Surprisingly accurate, it’s a great tool for any educator that lacks other data collection tools.  This app is compliant with iPods, iPads, and iPhones equipped with a camera.

What other apps are you aware of that provide an engaging experience, for both teachers and students? Feel free to comment below or on the K-12 Mobile Learning Facebook page.

All icons for the apps containing images in this post were obtained from iTunes.

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  1. Full disclosure I work for this company but thought it pertinent to this discussion. Drawing & animating has been shown to be an engaging learning experience for students. DoInk.com is on a number of Best Tools Lists in Education http://blog.simplek12.com/social-media/how-to-transform-your-classroom-using-web-2-0-tools/ We recently released an iPad app of our tools http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/doink-vector-animator/id364762290?mt=8 For example, here is an animation created by a science teacher showing how oxygen & hydrogen react http://www.doink.com/ipad/clip/-CuQTd6v4JU/hydrogen-and-oxygen-react-with-doink Our tools are used in math, science, english, etc. Also used in storytelling & illustrating. Example of a 5th grader using our app http://plixi.com/p/83859780 Questions? Please contact Karen@doink.com

  2. Great list.

    Thanks for the share. I have to admit that I’m surprised that you would mention Word Lens for an education tool, however. As a language teacher, I find it chops out context and richness with word-for-word translations. All the same, I could see how for a very low-level student this could be a nice crutch for awhile… it’s not one I would like to see them walk on for long.

    Cheers, Brad

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