Saturday, November 19, 2011

The 5 must have apps for a class set of iP@ds

In the next few days, I will be rolling out a class set of iPads. Below are 5 apps that will be essential to making this pilot work.


Dropbox is going to be key in having a class set of iPads. I had all of my students set up Dropbox accounts using their school email addresses at the very start of the school year. I created a shared folder that all students have access to. I placed all important documents in there for students to access. It allowed me to make only 180 paper copies all year and half of those were permission slips to use the iPads. Students will be able to access all documents I place in the shared folder on the iPad by logging into to Dropbox. When students create new documents or take pictures, they will be able save them in their Dropbox account. I also created shared folders with individual students that will allow them to submit assignments directly to me. I can check them and drop them back without others seeing the graded work. In a shared environment, the app allows for easy logging in and logging out. Another great aspect is that students will be able to access all of their information from a computer or on their own devices. Dropbox allows access to documents from anywhere there is Internet access. It's perfect for my iPad pilot. Without Dropbox, I'm not sure I would had pushed for the class set.


As students do research for various projects and essays, Evernote will be a great tool for them to store websites they want for later. Also, it will be a great place for students to take notes in class. They can easily categorize information and notes in different notebooks and freely share those notes with other students. Evernote allows for web access as well and that will enable students to access their information from home or their personal mobile devices. Like Dropbox, Evernote allows students to access their information from anywhere. Information needs to be easily shared in this collaborative endeavor and Evernote is a great tool that allows this happen effortlessly.

Although a separate app, I will add Evernote Peek here as well. It's a wonderful add-on for students who are looking to study their facts and vocabulary words.


My students will be engaged in the back channel on a regular basis. They will be using #MrPAmLit for their tweets and I can't wait to see what the stream looks like with all of my students using Twitter. Not all of my students have an account and they will not be required to get one, but I do know I have students that cannot access Twitter from their phones and they are excited to use the iPads to tweet. The students will be able to add their account and will need to delete their accounts at the end of each class. That will take some getting used to, but it will not be a large obstacle in using Twitter in class.

Prezi Viewer

I have banned Power Points in my classroom and have encouraged students to use other presentation tools. Prezi Viewer will allow students to create Prezis at home and view them on the iPad. Even better, students will be able to present their Prezi using the Apple TV connection I set up in my classroom. No longer will students have to log into my teacher station, email the presentation to me or bring a flash drive that may not be compatible with the school desktop. Prezi Viewer will allow all students to present quickly and easily.


It might seem simple, but it is a must have. If I want students to quickly search for information, I will need them to use their Google App. I had students create Google accounts using their school email at the start of the year, so this app will allow students full access to their Google Apps. This was a nice bonus to having students create Blogger accounts. Whether my students are doing research for a project or working on a Google Doc, this Google App will give my kids access to information and tools that will allow them to be engaged in their work.

These are just 5 of the apps I intend to have my students actively using in class. Stay tuned for more details as I pilot this class set of iPads in my American Literature and Composition classes.

- @TheNerdyTeacher



    Take a look at it. It is a DropBox plug-in that allows anyone to drop you a file.

  2. Remember, any great website can become an "app" for easy student access just by hitting the box with a rectangle and "adding to home screen". Works great for easy access to school webpages, favorite sites, etc..!

  3. Oh - how I dream of a class set of iPads. I bought my own for my classroom, and even though it is just one, I'm already totally dependent on it. I look forward to reading more of your posts (and app finds).

    Runde's Room

  4. There might need to be a few changes. I would change drop box to ifiles that allows connections to multiple storage areas. If you have class storage in your school, ifiles will allow you to connect to it. Plus, Dropbox gets hacked every other week, so you cannot store anything with any student data. Replace the Google app with Powerdocs. It is the only google apps app that has not crashed on my me when multiple people are editing. Powerdocs is worth the money. Evernote should be on every list and with the integration into quickoffice makes Evernote a better tool for education. Peek is ok, but my replace with Showme or Explain Everything . You really have to have a screen recording app in there some where. The Prezi app is ok, but the Voicethread app may be a better choice. Just a few thought.


  5. I would love to hear more about why you will need Dropbox AND google. If all of your students have access to google docs, you can do everything that you want to do with dropbox (from my experience).

  6. I would agree with the previous comment. We have used iPad2s since September and GAFE. All documents students create get shared with the teacher. Comments are created right on the documents or emailed to the students.

    I have documented our entire journey in word and video at

    You may find it to be helpful as there have been some challenges.

    Enjoy the is a powerful tool in the hands of students.

  7. Explain Everything integrates (import/export) with Dropbox and Evernote.

  8. Thanks for this, a great help. I've been trialling a class set of iPads for the past 6 weeks with my Year 11 Chemistry class. We have had a few issues come up.

  9. I've been working with a class set of iPads and Dropbox was not a solution as: 1. The device has to be logged into a student Dropbox acct. 2. Students can't get a document back into Dropbox from the iPad. Am I missing something here? Any advice appreciated.

  10. --really.

  11. I am not sure I agree with banning Powerpoint in a classroom. Now that Prezi is becoming the "must use" option by more and more teachers, I have seen more and more crappy rotating, zooming Prezi presentations then ever. Mostly by teachers!

    Students still need education on how to present better and less focus on the tool! It is as if saying, "Students should write their essays in black ink because it is better than blue ink!"

    Where is the justification?

  12. I think there is room for both PowerPoint and Prezi. Good Prezis take careful planning and time to make - something a busy teacher does not always have. Often PowerPoint is the far better option.

    I do think that getting students to create their own Prezis helps to encourage higher order thinking. You have really have to engage with and synthesise your information to make a Prezi. It's much harder to simply copy and paste from Wikipedia.

    I have just posted an entry on this very issue:


Please post your thoughts here. Thanks!