Sharing joy and knowledge from an ordinary life

iPad Apps

I’ve been using my iPad for more than two years now but it took me most of that time to get beyond using it as a glorified piece of paper.

In this blog, I’ve listed the key apps I’ve been using and the ones I can recommend to you (this post is regularly updated). I’d be interested to hear from those of you also using iPads to see what kind of apps you’re using.

The Essential Starter Pack

Aside from the personal apps and Google, which I personally couldn’t live without now, these are the apps I think no teacher should be without:

IMG_4870If you want a more extensive list then perhaps this periodic table of apps from Mark Anderson will be of interest?



Sunrise– This calendar app has recently replaced CalenMob and Calendar by Readdle as I had a new requirement of combining Outlook calendars with Google ones, whilst ti also being colourful. I’m also loving the new addition of ‘meet’, which I’m excited about experimenting with as a scheduling assistant. Using this calendar is helping me to schedule my free time as well as my work time. If swimming is in my calendar then I have to do it!

Other essential apps:

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LinkedIn and Twitter are used for professional networking. I have blogs on both Blogger (teacher blogs and books) and WordPress (Pass It On CPD Blog) now so these apps prove useful for train updates and editing! I am getting to grips with reading books on a screen so the Kindle app is very useful for this. BBC iPlayer is great for a Friday switch-off on the train, I just have to make sure I download a show before I leave work! 4od is good but the download function is a little hit and miss! Passible is used for storing all my passwords. You can place the passwords into categories and the app itself is passcode protected too. I feel like all my learners need to get this app! I use Buffer (when I get organised enough) to schedule tweets to go out so that I don’t neglect Twitter during the week! You can schedule up to 10 at a time, set the timeslots and then you’ll be notified when the app has run out of tweets to send.


I’ve recently ditched the native iPad Notes app in favour of Letterspace. This is an app that allows you to create notes within a really clean and appealing design but you can also arrange notes into categories if you use #hashtags so I’m looking forward to seeing how I get on with that this term; it might make my meeting notes a little less messy!

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Music is important so Radioplayer and iPad’s native Music app are used frequently. The radio player is just for UK stations but it has a nice display where you can favourite stations or shows and move them into different categories on screen. I like to listen to radio drama on the iPlayer Radio app too: great for switching off to!


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Google Drive is used for storing, sharing and commenting on documents. This now includes separate apps, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Docs. The functionality is improving and this now means that you can even edit tables in the docs app! They now need to create an app for forms as I use these so often for work and with learners- any chance of it soon, Google?! Google+ is incredible for communicating with staff and learners alike. We have communities where we share links, thoughts and comments. GoogleKeep is for making notes and is a little fiddly still if I’m honest but it might appeal to some of my learners for note-making.

I’m happy to speak to anyone (at length) about why Google is so great for learning so please get in touch and you can read more about my Google Journey here.

Video Tools

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Touchcast is the newest and greatest addition to my video-making apps as documents and links (that are clickable) can be added into videos that you record! YouTube Capture has now replaced iMovie (for me) for capturing and editing basic videos. Show Me is an app used this app for marking a learner’s work when they have requested video feedback. It is a whiteboard tool but the ability to import a picture (of their work) and then annotate it while recording my voice is awesome! I don’t think I’ve quite perfected my technique in providing feedback this way (take a look at an example here) but I’m happy to keep practising as my learners have given great feedback on its use so far. Tellagami is an oldie but a goodie for creating 30 second videos (take a look here) with an animated character on the screen. iMotion HD is one of my favourite video apps as it’s so easy to set-up but the time-lapse product (take a look at ways I’ve been using it recently here) is an awesome reminder for learners of a previous lesson/topic/activity. Video ScribeI love creating videos on Video Scribe but they are incredibly time consuming and fiddly to do- you can add images and music to text. The final results are pretty cool though! Take a look at one here. An app I’ve recently begun using combines text, music and graphics and it’s really easy to use. Here’s a video I made with it (Vidra) about #teacherweekahead: a way of reflecting about the joys and challenges that face you in the week ahead.

Teaching Essentials

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I use Bundlr for gathering links (a bit like Pinterest) on a whole host of Teaching & Learning subjects. These are shared via our internal CPD site and via our Google+ CPD Communities but they;re also public and you can view them here EdPuzzle is a recent download that’s very exciting. You can add questions and activities into a YouTube clip. This is great for online and flipped learning. I’ve recently run a CPD session and I created a sample for staff to have a go with. You can access this sample by going to and putting in the class code enz0y4. Class Dojo is a new addition since #ReadTL14 and it’s great for rewarding learners in class for behaviour. You can give both positive and negative points and you can set what the points are for so it can be tailored for classes/activities. Classroom Timer is used for timing classroom activities and is therefore a great item for when I want them to do something immediately and I’m awaiting a PC warm-up. QR Reader and Creator is, quite obviously, for reading and creating QR codes. I use these for classroom displays to link to online content and also for treasure hunting!

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Decide Now and Stick Pick are used for selecting random students from the class. The first is a multi-coloured spinning wheel that makes really nice noises and the second is a virtual pot of lollipop sticks for when I fancy using them electronically. It can store all kind of progress data but I’m yet to really unlock the power of all that. Bloom’s contains Bloom verbs, question stems and connected activities. Socrative for Teacher and for Student can be used for class quizzes and space races, although this is also available without the app. QuickVoice can be used for recording student voice/discussions/podcasts/online lesson content and I’ve used this for recording discussions that we’ve then listened to and analysed. Dragon Dictation is a very useful app for students with dyslexia as it writes what they say automatically and is surprisingly accurate.


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Popplet and iBrainstorm are useful tools for mind-mapping class discussions. Popplet is also collaborative and can be found online too. iBrainstorm uses a mix of pen, typing and post-its on a noticeboard background and is straightforward to use. I am awaiting the day Padlet create an app or something similar appears for pinboarding images, sites and documents as well as comments in one place. Post-It Plus is a great way of taking pictures of post it notes and rearranging them afterwards: you’re given electronic versions of the post-its that you can also add to. We all know how many of us love a sticky note for brainstorming!

Presentation and Poster Tools

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Haiku Deck is an app I have had almost since the start and it’s one I will love for a long time to come. It’s a great presentation tool in class as the images are simple and the text minimal. Here’s one I made for a TeachMeet about ‘Fabulous Feedback.’ Phoster is an app I have used for a long while now but it’s still great for creating visually appealing posters. Comic Life is a slightly fiddly and time-consuming app for creating posters that look like comics- they’re really visually engaging though and great for story-telling! Paper by 53 is a new favourite of mine and I created my first sketch notes on it yesterday: you can see them here. A great app for combining text, quotes and images is Typorama and you can see an image I created here.

Not Yet list

This is a list of apps I haven’t tried…yet! Yes, I have a growth mindset…or perhaps just an addiction to shiny things!

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Flipagram was recommended to me by a colleague as she’d used it with her students but it can be used to bring photos to life by turning them into videos. I’m yet to try this out properly. Flowboard (now FlowVella) looks as though it will be fabulous for infographic-style presentations! Easelly looks as though it will be a really nice app for creating infographics. Canva is a beautiful design tool that I use on the PC for just about all my Google sites and many of my classroom resources but it’s now available as an app. I must try it out! Bai Board looks like the kind of app I’ve been looking for- collaborative and whiteboardy (although I’m not sure it has the capacity for pinning). I’ll be playing around with this very soon! WordPack is the iPad equivalent of Wordle and I’ve found it really easy to use- it needs a bit more experimentation before it gets onto my main list though.

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I’m really excited to try using Vidra. It’s another video app (like I need another one?!) but it looks as though it will make things a bit more professional looking with icons, backgrounds and sound. VEO is an app I’ve played with already but it has its flaws. It’s a tool for video observations (of lessons) and feedback. I’m waiting for further features before it’s flexible enough for us to use it for FE. Nearpod is something that has been recommended to me by several colleagues now. It’s used for sharing lesson content with learners to make everything a bit more interactive. I feel like this might be one that’ll take me a little monger to get my head around though. Plickers is a tool I came across months ago but I just didn’t get it- the shapes and numbers made me think of maths and I ran far away! Then I saw it being used by a colleague and it all made sense. Her visual display was great and she was using it to see if her learners were on track with their work. I’m really excited to get my cards printed and start using this tool! Asana is a project management/productivity type app that looks as though it might help to streamline my projects and my focus. We shall see how I get on with it- it may succeed where other apps have failed.

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In my new job role, yes it’s still new! I need to become far more comfortable with data and this will be a long journey for me. If I can get to grips with ChartCube then I can at least make the data look pretty in a 3D graph kind of way! Ok, so I’ve downloaded and subsequently deleted Aurasma twice now. I really want to work this one out. If I can, then I should be able to use it for augmentation of reality and that will be pretty cool. I’m sure that iTunes U is a straightforward enough app but I’m just not sure what it’s got for me yet so until I do, it’s on this ‘not yet’ list. I’m yet to try iVisualiser in class but I believe it might save me having to buy a visualiser…if only I can work out the best way of mirroring my iPad on my IWB. Any ideas?!

Quick Links

Recently, a colleague shared with me how to make quick links on my iPad so I can make an app symbol, which connects directly to whatever site I use frequently. In Safari, navigate to a website and then click the icon in the top left of the navigation bar, then select ‘add to homescreen and it’s as simple as that!

I currently have these links set-up for my Google sites for easy access.

An A-Z List



Bai Board

BBC iPlayer





Calendars by Readdle



Class Dojo

Classroom Timer 

Comic Life

Decide Now

Dragon Dictation 





Google Docs

Google Drive 

Google Keep

Google Sheets

Google Slides 


Haiku Deck 


iMotion HD 

iPlayer Radio

iTunes U










Post-It Plus

QR Reader and Creator



Show Me 

Socrative for Teacher and for Student 

Stick Pick






Video Scribe




YouTube Capture


My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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