From the NAEYC ECETech Listserv:

As it takes so much time to locate and evaluate apps, I was wondering:

-Do you have favorite app review sites? (there are so many now, and video reviews cropping up, so people can see apps before they buy them.)

-Do you have a system, and if you do, what is it, for listing your favorite apps to share with others?  Is your favorites list available online/can you share it? I am interested in ways others in the group are organizing this info, and to take a look at your lists, if possible.

-In schools/programs where teachers in various classrooms may be exploring and finding new apps-are there systems set up to share about these discoveries with others?

So many apps, so little time- thanks for sharing tips from your workflow about these questions.

I’m often asked to provide lists of apps for schools, districts or teachers. This is tricky because of the wide variety of apps. In general, I’d say that there are way more skill and drill type apps available (flashcards, letter games, puzzles, etc…) most likely because they are simple for app developers (non-educators most often) to create. Apps that support higher-order think skills are less in numbers. I think the most important thing for a teacher to consider is what they want their students to accomplish using the app and then consider whether an app is actually the best resource for this learning experience. I like to point admins and teachers to the SAMR model when asking them this and then try to help them discern is the are using the app as simply a substitution for something they have always done or if they are able to use the app to help redefine the learning task.

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iPad 3G running on 3

So you’re coming to DigiCamp for Teachers and you’re planning to bring your own Apple mobile device, but which apps should you load up prior to camp to make your time on the beautiful University of Akron campus productive? Look no further, I’m here to share with you all the apps that the Center for Literacy has loaded on their “loaner” iPads and iPod Touches. While we made ever effort to pick as many free apps as possible, sometimes it’s just worth paying to get a high-quality app.

iPad Apps

iPod Touch Apps

Cross-posted on Digi-Camp for Teachers


I’m going to rush to get this post out ahead of the big Apple Education event on Thursday. All the hype is pointing to some sort of announcement of an easy way to create custom books for the iBook app. While this is certainly exciting news, I’m sure it is going to come with a bunch of “How to Use [Apple’s Newest Thing] in Education” tweets,  blog posts, lists and presentations. So ahead of all the hipster, fanboy, and hater posts that will inevitably follow Apple’s big announcement tomorrow, I’m bringing you this post. Option 1 from my Creating Custom Digital Content for iPad: Educators Have Options series!

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the Creative Book Builder app for iPhone and iPad. Created by Tiger Ng, this app is currently selling for $3.99 in the iTunes Store.

Creative Book Builder enables everyone to create, edit and publish ebooks in minutes. Creative Book Builder can import document from Google Docs and parse HTML output into chapter. Create unlimited number of chapters add title, description, images, videos, audio recording, music, links, and lists. CBB lets you sort your content’s ordering within a chapter and customize your cover image.

What I did with CBB:

My plan is to base this project on a second grade Rocks & Fossils unit that my wife and a colleague originally developed in 2005. That unit contains a collection of resources ranging from a section of a science textbook, videos, digital photos and a couple PPT presentations. I have all the various source files stored on my Dropbox account and in my iTunes/iPhoto albums so I can access them as needed across devices. Read the rest of this entry…

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App Title: TumbleBooks ToGo Munsch 6-Pack

Grade Level: Pre-K – Grade 3


At the heart of early literacy experience is the storybook, which marks the young children’s entrée into literacy around the world. Its powerful role in literacy development is well documented in family literacy and early education. A staple of the bedtime (or nap) routine, the storybook shared between adult and child mediates what Don Holdaway referred to as an emerging literacy set: high expectations of print; models of book language; familiarity with written symbols; print conventions; listening skills; and de-contextualizing abilities (e.g., imaging) (Holdaway, 1979). Substantial research supports the claim that storybook reading prepares children for the learn-to-read process (Bus, 2001).

Roskos, K., & Brueck, J. (2009). The eBook as a Learning Object in an Online World. In A. Bus & S. Neuman (Eds.), Multimedia and Literacy Development (77-88). New York: Routeledge.

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A few weeks ago I posted Essential iPod Touch Apps from a 9 Year Old Boy’s Perspective. In it, I provided an overview of all of the iPod Touch apps that Isaac currently had installed on his Touch. I created a Google Spreadsheet to use to keep track of his list. That led me tho think it might be an interesting little research study to collect Isaac’s opinions regarding the apps. Why did him pick them out on the iTunes Store and download them? What makes an app engaging, or not engaging? How would he rate the app? So, like any good educational researcher, I created a quick assessment tool for Isaac to use to review the app and for me to collect my data.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a bit of tough sell to Isaac. Even though I created a desktop shortcut to the Google Form on Isaac’s laptop, he has been a little reluctant to actually open it up and submit review data on his own. I have managed to coax him into reviewing two apps on two separate occasions. I’m going to share the first four reviews with you tonight in their submitted form. Early on in this process, it seems like Isaac really enjoys apps by the developers at Donut Games.

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I’ve written about jailbreaking my iPod Touch using the Pwnage Tool, but since that post, I have found the blackra1n tool to be a much easier jailbreak solution. The catch with blackra1n is that it only unlocks iPhones/iPod Touch devices that are running version 3.1.2 firmware. That means if you have a device running 3.1.3, no chance of jailbreaking with blackra1n. I discussed this 3.1.3 conundrum with Wesley Fryer at METC 2010 and he suggested rolling back the device firmware to 3.1.2 would be a good work around.

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I Education Apps Review - I Education Apps Review

[Cross posted at]

I Education Apps Review (IEAR) is looking for dedicated educational bloggers to contribute monthly reviews of current educational apps available in the iTunes store. Additionally, IEAR is interested in having blog posts regarding classroom uses of iPhones, Touches, or iPads contributed regularly.

If you are a passionate classroom teacher or administrator who would like to share your thoughts, ideas and insights into how iPhone/ iPod Touch / iPad applications can be used in the classroom setting, join our online community ( and begin to share what you are doing (or want to do) in your classroom with iPhone, Touch, and iPad apps!

If you are interested in signing up to become an IEAR blogger/reviewer, look over the complete details below.

Link to Submit Application to be a Reviewer:


METC 2010

I’ve been attending the Midwest Educational Technology Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, for the past two days. One of the highlights of my trip the METC 2010 has been having the opportunity to meet Scott Meech in person for the first time. I first began to communicate virtually with Scott through the I Education App Review (IEAR) community that he founded. Dedicated to exploring the educational value of iPhone and iPod Touch applications in the classroom, IEAR has a growing online community that has a lot of great conversations going on. I provided more details about the benefits of IEAR in a previous post.

Earlier this morning, Scott gave a spotlight presentation at METC where he talked about the IEAR community and highlighted a number of apps that he feels have strong educational potential for classroom use. From the conference planner:

The potential for mobile learning devices such as Apple’s iPhone and iTouch devices are very high. This presentation will take a closer look at the educational possibilities of these devices for students, teachers and administrators. We will focus on the work being done through the online community “I Educational Apps Review.” This community is focused on helping school personnel to effectively and safely use these devices for their personal and educational productivity. Apple’s “Application Store” has thousands of educational applications and yet, are they really educational? We will walk through some fantastic applications and their potential with schools. Additionally, we will discuss issues surounding these devices such as how to effectively implement these devices with students in classrooms to the highlighting of concrete lessons.

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Grade Level: P-16

Program Functionality: A

Purpose: C

Overall Educational Value: B

The application is most suited to provide a skill and drill approach to memorizing vocabulary, math facts and other learning content. It also provides learners with the opportunity to:

  • learn “bite sized” pieces of relevant information at a time
  • receive immediate feedback on results
  • test knowledge in any subject using custom card set integration with Google Docs

Cost: Free

Recommendation: I recommend this app for personal use and school use at this time. I feel this app would be most appropriate for use at home for parents who want to provide an extra supplement to school curriculum that requires a skill and drill approach, like addition and subtraction facts. It will require teacher or adult modeling of use for most early elementary students to operate successfully.

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My youngest son, Aiden, is two and a half years old and seems to be devloping a real interest in the iPod Touch. While this is most likely because he watches his mom and dad use mobile devices on a daily basis, his interest really made me consider if and how the iPod Touch and the apps available for it could be used to support early learning.

There are approximately 6000 educational apps available in the iTunes store, so I have been trying to spend some time each day investigating, experimenting and analyzing an educational app. To further explore my research questions, I also decided to follow the example of Piaget and use my own children as a research subjects, so I downloaded a few apps, synced them to my iPod Touch and set Aiden loose.

In the coming months, I plan to continue working with Aiden and various iPhone apps. I’ll be collecting data, video documenting his learning experiences and trying to determine what place, if any, these apps have in the early childhood classroom. In some cases, I’ll review the apps and contribute them to I Education App Review. To kick this little project off, I thought I’d share a few of the early videos I’ve collected.

Shape Builder Lite

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