Is there an app for that?!?

Whatever you want to do you can buy and download an app that will probably do the job that you need it to do. But is that a good thing? Does that enhance student teaching and learning?

There are over 1.5 million apps, according to, currently available on the Apple App Store. Out of these 1.5 million apps there are over 80,000 educational App’s.

So how am I doing in my classroom? 

Am I dipping my toe into the water? or am I discovering new species of life deep below the ocean surface?

I use technology a lot in my classroom. Is it always successful?  

Do the children and I enjoy using technology at school? Yes!

Can it be frustrating to use? Sometimes!

Do I always choose the right app for the task? Not always!

Is it successful?  Most of the time! 

This week I have been thinking about all of the reading since beginning my COETAIL journey and how it effects technology being used in my classroom. Whilst looking at twitter I came across a wonderful tweet which tied all of my thinking together. The tweet was by Jill Berry who was quoting Jose Picardo from a new article taken from TES.

So what technology do I use in the classroom?

I use the iPads to create, collaborate, communicate and critically think. Therefore I choose Apps that can be used across subject areas. Many of the Apps that I use are open ended and are not tied for a specific purpose. I limit the amount of Apps that I use throughout the year so that children can become masters of each App.  Children can build their knowledge and skills slowly enabling them to choose Apps that are more suitable for a particular task or learning outcome.

The Apps that I use are :-

  1. Bookcreator – to create interactive books that can be turned into movies and shared through youtube or kidblog posts.
  2. Skitch – take a picture and draw, write, modify,it to show what what was happening, label or how you could change a plan. Last year we used it outside in our garden thinking about designing a new area.
  3. Touchcast – to record newscasts, weather reports, poems etc. Last year the chidlren created poems, weather forecasts to show their learning.
  4. PuppetPals 2 – for chidlren to really find their voice in an informal setting. This year the children have used is to communicate with each other.
  5. ShowMe – for the children to share what they know about a particular subject. An App that we use lots, this year children have used it to show their learning in maths, literacy and our Unit of Inquiry.
  6. Popplet – a mind mapping tool. This year the children have used it to share what the know about communication.
  7. Keynote – to make a presentation on a particular subject. Last year the children used it to make presentations on shapes in the local community, and animals from the local area.
  8. imovie – to create a movie about anything the children are interested in. Last year we recorded a video about recycling and shared it with the school.

The children use the camera function on the iPads to record what they are doing. Having an iPad station (with a microphone and tripod) allows children to record their thoughts and thinking. 

Do I think that my use of technology is reducing learning? No. Do I hope that is adds to their learning? Yes.

How do I make it authentic for students? 

I use Kidblog as a tool for the children to show their work to a wider audience. This includes parents, grandparents and classmates.

I would like to link with other class’s around the world, collect comments from further afield, use the power of Twitter and my PLN to create more opportunities for the children to share their learning and understandings with a wider audience.

Is there an App for that? Probably

Out of 80,000 educational Apps I use 8.  The important factor, is not forcing technology into spaces that it can not go. iPads and technology are only meaningful tools if they are used correctly.  I am not saying that I am using technology correctly all of the time but I hope that I am transforming some of the learning experiences by carefully using the Apps that allow for greater creativity and more connections. Quality not quantity.

Does it always enhance student success? That depends…



10 thoughts on “Is there an app for that?!?

  1. Hi Joel,

    Loved the post and new look blog- such interesting stuff to read on it. I so like your style of writing. Thought provoking quote from Jose Picardo, might have to follow. Thanks for all the info.



    1. Hi Suzy –
      Thanks! We really have come along way together in Grade 1 …There is still a long way to go…but we can do it.


  2. Brilliant post Joel. You are absolutely right that technology won’t teach the skills itself, there must be a pedagogical foundation underlying the use, otherwise it is simply substitution. Have you ever used Show me to flip your lesson and deliver your input? It frees up lots of assessment time, staggers the talk time so you can hear all the conversations and means you can jump in with the kids that need it. It also means the kids can go back and watch the input again and again if needs be allowing for much more independence in their learning as well as promoting confidence in their own ability to learn. I too am looking to broaden the horizons of my class and would be absolutely open to trying to set something up if we can help each other out?


    1. Hi Iain,
      Thanks! I am just beginning to use ShowME to flip the lesson. This was something that I have wanted to do for a while but am just embedding into my practice. I agree it really allows for more “active learning” and that children can work at their own pace. I have been doing some reading and research into about out of eden learn I would love to set something up so that we can help broaden the horizons of our class’s. Can we make comments on our respective blogs? organise a Skype ? Are you on Twitter? If so then DM me with your email and we can arrange something in the coming weeks. Let me know what works for you? Thanks for your reply Iain. Very excited!!


  3. Your post hit the nail on the head for me. I am on that transition from just using technology to use it to using it in a way to promote critical thinking and collaboration. I teach in a BYOD school, so I am always looking for apps that are free. Thank you for the list of apps you are using!


    1. Hi Abby,
      Thanks for the comment. Good luck with the transition. We are also still on that journey and are making constant changes as technology does! What apps do you like using with your class? Are there any which you would recommend? Thanks,


  4. Hi Joel

    Thanks for sharing about what is working for your classroom. It’s funny because when I started in 2013, I also wrote a blogpost about what iPad apps were good to consider. Well, I summarized what I had learned at an Ed Tech conference. I find it interesting to see that many of the apps I mentioned, are still considered viable now as they are repeated in your list. See my blogpost here: That makes me feel better because it seems like technology gets “old” so fast that we can’t barely keep up. I’m not as behind as I thought 😉 And I totally agree that quality is more important than quantity.


    1. Hi Vivian,
      Thanks for your comment. I find it really interesting that your post still has many of the apps that I like to use in class. I find the apps that are open, collaborative, and allow for creation are the ones that I keep on coming back to. Although I am looking at changing show me to decori Working with Grade 1 students I really try to limit the amount of apps that we use but it is hard as there are so many new apps out there that I want to try!


  5. I love that t-shirt! I know we are always going to need teachers. But we need teachers who are open to new experiences, who are thoughtful about their practice, and willing to try things out.

    One question – Do you think that the classification of apps is a fair one? Or is it too simplistic? I know I can use some of those top level apps in low level ways. I guess it just depends on the teacher 🙂


    1. Hi Rebekah,
      Exactly right. I think it depends on how the apps are used? Most of the apps I mentioned can be used in low level ways. And perhaps the model that I shared was too simplistic. I think I was going with a visual that immediately backed up my point. But apps can be used in so many different ways by so many different people. In hindsight I should have shown this×619.png in it’s greater complexity. Thanks for making me revisit this.


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