It’s not about the app…

Apps will come and go

Being a good digital citizen means we know how to behave, we model that behavior and continually encourage and support that behavior in our students. It isn’t about the apps. The problem isn’t the apps out there that are becoming more and more focused on anonymous posting. New apps will always be trending, almost raising in popularity overnight. Just in the last 2 years we’ve seen facebook losing popularity with teens, Instragram gaining and Snapchat, Kik, Yik Yak and now Streetchat becoming common. With all of these apps there is the possibility of students sharing something that is inappropriate. All of them have the potential of students bullying others 24/7. Snapchat is a messaging app that claims the images sent are temporary, but with screenshots and third-party apps any image can be archived and shared anywhere. Yik Yak and Streetchat are local social networks that allow the sending of anonymous posts, that get voted on. They both use geo-location to find those around you that are using the app making this social network app more targeted to schools and local communities. Every time the app is opened the phone’s GPS locator is activated and sends out your message, or image, to others in the area that are also using these apps. Both of them have also been linked to inappropriate content and bullying. Something of course you could probably say for 95% of the apps in the digital world.

How do I keep up?

THINK before you from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 Thomas Galvez, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

When parents and teachers ask me this I let them know about This is the first site I go to to learn new apps or trends. But I also let them know that although it is important to know the apps your child/students are using, it isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is the relationships we build with our students/children. These relationships allow us to keep the communications open so that they feel comfortable talking to us about their digital experiences. No matter what app they are using we want them to think about their actions and feel good about their digital input. Being a good citizen both in the physical world and the digital one, whether they can be anonymous or not, is the most important thing.

So, yes take the time to know about the current apps, but more importantly openly talk about being a good digital citizen, model being a good citizen and role play solutions to difficult, inappropriate or dangerous situations students may become involved in online.



Apps for Administrators: a start

Recently our administrators were given iPads to use in order to increase efficiency. After soliciting my PLN and doing some hands-on research I have compiled a ‘getting started’ app list. Here are the apps I encourage you to check out if you are just getting started with using your ipad.

Access to documents:

This depends on where you store your documents, but here are some choices:

Some districts have the ability to access a school’s network drive through a workspace platform app.  Ask your IT department if you have a similar ability. If you have this ability then you can open, edit and save all in your network drive.

Dropbox (1gb free): Access documents from all devices through this great app. This just gives you access, you will need to think of what app you would like to open and edit into. Pages (see below) will give you a good app to open with and edit as needed.


Google Drive (free) : If you store your documents using google this is a great app to have. Easily allows you to access, edit, and share your google docs.

 Evidence collection for observations:

Pages: Apple’s mobile version of word processor software (You should also look at Numbers for spreadsheets and Keynote for presentations) After adding your notes you can email the document to yourself for later saving, or save it directly to iCloud, Dropbox or Evernote.


Evernote : Accessible from all devices, searchable notes, can also add audio and images. Can use Skitch to make notes on images and save as well. Also great for basic note-taking and information gathering.

Other productive apps to start with:

pdf expert (9.99) Annotates pdfs, can save and upload to dropbox, views all docs and unzips zipped files.


GoodReader: (4.99) Annotate, highlight and read your digital text. Very similar to PDF expert, can read, make notes and send via email, or if you like you can then send it to Evernote or Dropbox.


Signmypad (3.99) Sign requisitions on the go!


Display recorder (1.99) -Records your ipad, creates video of your actions so you can easily create tutorials for others, or reminders for yourself.

Grafio (8.99) Create flowcharts, diagrams, mindmaps and then upload to Evernote or email them to yourself.


iBrainstorm (free) is a collaboration and brainstorming tool.


Flipboard (free): RSS feed for your social and news media. I like this tool because you can add your twitter feed, google reader feed, as well as news feeds based on your interests.  It’s like a digital magazine tailored to you. How cool is that?


TED (free) Access TED’s inspirational talks, because everyone needs inspiration every once in a while.


Paper (free) Create sketches, notes, diagrams, digital stories and more. The free is very basic, in order to add more colors and affects you will need to add, and pay for these functions. I like how your ideas are stored in journals that can be easily flipped through.


Chrome (free): By downloading this web browser you get another way to access the Internet. Some like this better than Apple’s Safari.

Please note: Remember it all comes back to the purpose of a tool.  I suggest you download these applications and then see how they can be used to help your productivity and efficiency. Once you get a routine you will find some apps you prefer over others. Also remember that if you are using iCloud then your Pages, Numbers, and Keynote documents can be setup to be saved there. A great way to have your documents backed up, as well as synced and accessed from any device.

Other resources for new ipad users:

40+ Super Secret iPad Features and Shortcuts Great list of shortcuts and “I wish I knew that” kind of features.

Do you see an app that is missing from this list?  Please comment below and let us know what you are using and why it helps you.

Coming soon to a post near you: Apps for Creating