While waiting for the iPad to arrive in my reading intervention classroom, I’ve had a lot of time to think and plan how I will use the device.
I don’t want hundreds of apps. I’m looking for a few favorites.
I don’t want more drill and kill. The reading intervention programs I teach do their fair share of drilling and killing (to great success) so I don’t need more of the same.
I want the iPad to help me run my intervention program like a gifted enrichment program, providing the spark that interests students in learning and helps them apply skills that they should not be learning in isolation.
My Favorites and How I Will Use Them
While the iPhone 4S eliminates the need for Dragon Dictation because it integrates dictation whenever the keyboard appears, the iPad becomes magical with the addition of the free Dragon Dictation app. Dragon allows students to compose their writing orally by speaking into the iPad or to type of their writing by reading it aloud. Students can even add punctuation by speaking the name of the proper mark e.g. “Go to the store, exclamation point” will type “Go to the store!”
This is of great use for students for whom the process of writing or typing is too much of a chore to allow for the creative expression of their ideas and those whose spelling gets in the way of their completing sentences.
Students can create movies about anything. They can illustrate their writing, tell a personal story, present the results of their research, or create instructional videos reinforcing what you’ve been teaching them in class.
You need a word processor and Pages surely does the trick. I consistently find it easier to use than Microsoft Word on the desktop and the iPad version works just as well with the added bonus of being able to store documents in the cloud for backup.
This is not optimized for the iPad, it’s a phone app but it’s still incredibly simple to use to create books with images (photos or drawings) and captions. For primary grade students, this is a great way to make books that can easily be shared, e-mailed, and printed.
While not instructional, I don’t know how anyone can live without Dropbox which provides Cloud storage for documents meaning anything you put there is backed up and made available on all of your computers and mobile devices.
Need more Apps?
Here are some great places to look:
Apps for all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy by Diane Darrow
Apps to Support Literacy Instruction by Scholastic Magazine
Find and share great lists of apps with Appolicious, the social network for app sharing
iRead Program, Escondido, Kathy Shirley and friends have been at it since before the iPad and iPhone were invented, using the original iPods to increase reading fluency with English Learners.
iEAR Educational Apps Reviews from real teachers.
AppShopper.com, create a wish list of apps and receive notification when prices drop.
Have your own favorites? Leave a comment below.