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


Tablets for Assistive Technology

www.proloquo2go.comphoto © 2009 kev_hickey_uk | more info (via: Wylio)
In past posts I have addressed how tablets (xoom, iPad…) might change education, or not… depending on the educational objective.  Now let’s talk about how these new devices can help special education students. In the past there were two lines of technology development, one being the ‘regular’ technology development and one for assistive technology development. Typical assistive technology five years ago (and admittedly still being purchased in many schools today) might be DynaVox, GoTalk+20 or other special device (see list of augmented communication devices here and here). For notetaking a student might have an alphasmart or fusion assigned to them. What I think is happening is that some of these device developments are merging with the ‘regular’ technology development. For instance, with notetaking I think it is a better idea to give a student a netbook, which would give them more functionality, is cheaper than most other devices, and still gives them the portability.  (Depending on the student’s other needs maybe also giving them a tablet with a bluetooth keyboard would work, although for only a note-taking device my thought is a netbook would work better for most students.)

The other big area in assistive technology is augmented communication devices. More and more I am seeing a shift from the traditional devices to giving a student a tablet, such as an iPad. Some of the augmented communication apps available are Proloquo2go, OneVoice, Talking Tom and Voice4U, just to name a few. The best part about using a tablet  is that tablets not only can be their communication device, but can also include other apps that address other educational goals and objectives for the special education student.

Tablets are perfect for that one-to-one device for each special education student because it can be customized to fit their specific needs. In essence it will grow with the student, apps being uploaded as students’ needs change.

Here are some great resources for special education apps and other information:

Apps for Children with special needs

Education Matters: Schools using iPads to help autistic students

iPad apps for children with special needs

10 Revolutionary iPad apps to help autistic children

Apps, apps, so many apps (great resource by purpose)

Of course, with that said, there will still be a need for specialized communication and other devices that meet  individual student needs. These devices are still being developed and get better all the time. Once again, the important place to start is the individual student’s need. If there is indeed an app for that, and the student is able to use the tablet efficiently and effectively then why not choose a device that grows with the student and can allow them to be successful in their goals?