Thursday, 10 January 2013

iPad apps for the classroom: Striking a balance

This year I am lucky enough to be getting six iPads for my classroom. This will give me a ratio of 1:4. If I use my personal iPad and my iPad mini, this could give me a ratio of 1:3 when I need it. (Plus one student brings his own iPad. Someone heard that iPads are good for kids with special needs so some kids have their own. That's another post for another time.
So I have come to the exciting part of the iPad journey - deciding which apps to load on the new iPads from the hundreds of thousands of apps available in the App Store.
I haven't got an unlimited budget but I don't want to download too many apps because it gets overwhelming. (To be honest, I'm not sure what my budget is, but I know it won't be infinite - I am lucky that I have been given the money for the iPads - I don't want to push the limits too far!)
Some of the free or cheaper apps are great and have been my "go to" apps up until now. (See my post on Sonic Pics and Pic Collage) Sometimes the old adage "you get what you pay for" really comes into play. The convenience of a good quality app that doesn't keep trying to sell you things is priceless.
Costs aside, I want to provide my students with a good range of apps so they can select the right tool for the right task.
I will provide them with some "drill and practice" and content type apps, and, of course, some logical thinking and strategy games, but the main purpose of the iPads will be as tools for learning, creating, sharing and collaborating. I want my students to be creative producers of knowledge, not passive consumers.
To assist in my quest for the right balance, I have started a Pinterest board for iPad apps for Year 2. I have put the links to the iTunes store and a brief description of each app. Hopefully this will make it easier next week to find them again and to select the ones that I decide I want now, or down the track. I am also hopeful that people will stumble across my Pinterest board and leave useful comments about how they have used these apps in their own classrooms.

I am working on a concept map that will hopeful clarify my thinking about how I intend to use the iPads with the students and which apps will best meet these needs. I will update this post as I go until I have worked it out.

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