Saturday, June 25, 2011

iPad apps Mega-Update part 6: Non-music-specific educational apps

Edited 6/15/13: I see these posts are still getting a lot of traffic, two years later! Much of this info is outdated. However, I am working on updating my iPad app pages for 2013! I'll post to my blog as updates are completed, or you can check the page directly.


  • Assorted Children's Books–Cat in the Hat, Toy Story, Paco Bongo, Lilup, The Grouchies, When I Grow Up, Violet books, just to name a few: Interactive children's books are a real highlight of the App store. Many of them are what I imagined as the books at Hogwarts. The best would be excellent children's books in any form, but the iPad version is enhanced with the ability to have the book read to you (many highlight the words as they are read), have surprises in the pictures (from a wagging tail to an interactive hide-and-seek game), and some even have integrated games. Our most recent purchase, "Weird Al" Yankovich's When I Grow Up, is an instant favorite. Not only is the book read hilariously by Weird Al himself, who could resist the chance to play an embedded "Tarantula Shaver," "Gorilla Masseuse," or "Snail Racer" video game?
A page from When I Grow Up
  • Art Authority: A simply gorgeous app that puts thousands of works of art right in your pocket. This was my first "expensive" app purchase ($10) and it has been worth that many times over.
Visiting the Baroque Gallery
  • Google Earth: One of our Lower School teachers who has been the most apprehensive about the introduction of too much technology into the classroom was at the staff meeting in which our new iPads were introduced. There, she played with Google Earth. That night, she ordered her own iPad, and she was signing them out for her students the next week. Simply amazing, with countless educational possibilities.
I can see Russia from my house!
  • Kindle/iBooks: Amazon Kindle or Apple's iBooks? If you do all your eBook reading on the iPad, it probably makes the most sense to comparison shop, as both offer excellent reading experiences. I personally use the Kindle app, because I do a lot of my reading on an actual Kindle, and I love the ability to sync between all my devices.
A page of Minds on Music using the Kindle app. I have it set to Sepia.
A page from Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes on iBooks
  • NASA: Great for the space enthusiast! Find out the latest NASA news and access photos from various satellites and the Hubble space telescope.
Hey, I still see Pluto!
  • Netflix: If you are a Netflix member, you can stream movies and shows straight on your iPad for no additional fee. Many excellent documentaries are also available.
A selection of documentaries available for streaming.
  • NPR: Access news, arts and entertainment stories, and listen to NPR shows.



  • Our Choice: Al Gore's Our Choice is a fantastic example of what an ebook can be, with beautifully integrated video, audio, photography, animations, and more. Learn about climate change and related global issues in an immersive way.



  • PBS and PBS Kids: Access a large variety of educational programming from PBS and PBS Kids with these apps.


  • Qwiki: Qwiki is an addictive educational app that is difficult to explain, so here is the description from the iTunes store: "Curious? Explore 3,000,000 topics in a format perfect for the iPad: learn about what's near you, across the world - and everything in between. Labeled 'a seed that will blossom into an Internet wonder' by the NY Times, Qwiki combines thousands of sources to present concise, interactive summaries of millions of people, places and things in an experience optimized for the iPad. Explore topics by searching or browse a worldwide map highlighting landmarks, monuments, cities, towns, and more."
Natural Wonders to explore in Qwiki.
  • Science 360: Science360 creates a panoramic matrix of science and engineering images from NSF funded researchers and institutions. Zoom in, and you see short descriptions. Tap on an image to open the article. It's a great way to browse the cutting edge of science.



  • Tour Wrist: Like Google Earth, Tour Wrist is a showcase app for the iPad. Described as "virtual teleportation," Tour Wrist has panoramas from around the world that you view by holding the iPad in front of you as if it is a window into the location. Move the iPad around for a full 360 degree view. Though many of the sites you can visit on Tour Wrist are hotel ballrooms, real estate for sale, etc., there are plenty of historical sites and natural wonders from all over the world. And if it makes you dizzy to turn around with your iPad, you can switch to touchscreen controls.
I'm in a French cathedral!
Pointing my iPad at the floor, I see that someone was buried under me in 1231.
  • YouTube: The YouTube app comes pre-installed on iPads, and it is still one of the best ways to find videos on any topic from all over the world (plus a whole lot of trash!).
Who is that silly lady?


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