4 Must-Have Apps for Teaching with iPads

You’ve jumped on the tablet bandwagon and use your iPad for everything from checking email to perusing the latest news headlines. But have you ever thought of using it as a learning tool in your classes?       

“It was the size of the iPad that prompted me to start using it in class,” said Damon Williams, assistant director for education for the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL). “With iPads, you and your students don’t have to deal with using white boards any more. And using this type of technology enables you to do creative things in class like have students create quick presentations.”

Williams shared his experiences with using iPads in class at CETL’s teaching kickoff event in mid-August. He estimates that about 50 percent of students in his classes have an iPad or tablet, so he creates small groups for in-class activities around students who have one of the devices.

The technology especially lends itself nicely to business and science classes because certain apps allow students to easily create diagrams and presentations, according to Williams.

“And I’d encourage engineering and math professors to use iPads to slowly pull away from traditional lectures at the board and find ways to engage students in new ways,” he added.

Here are four must-have apps that Williams recommends for anyone interested in using iPads in their classes:

  • Readdle Docs for iPad: Cost is $4.99. An all-in-one document viewer and file manager that allows users to see documents from PCs and Macs, websites, email and more in one place.
  • Adobe Reader: Free. Similar to the version on PCs and Macs. Allows users to create presentations. Williams also suggests using the app as a way to store notes made during class presentations. The app allows users to write on PDFs with a stylus. “The trick is to create a PDF filled with as many blank pages as you like, and then you can open it and take notes in front of the class — like you would on a white board — and save them,” he added.
  • Dragon Dictation: Free. Voice recognition app that allows users to speak words and have them translated into text or email messages. Supports a multitude of languages.
  • Popplet: Cost is $4.99. (There is a “lite” version that is free.) App captures ideas, sorts them visually and allows for collaboration with others in real time. Works well for in-class projects that require mind mapping or creating diagrams.

Each of these apps is fully functional on a second-generation iPad, which is what Williams has. However, if you have a first-generation (there are three versions of iPads), be aware that Williams has heard rumors that some apps and other display features don’t work properly on these older devices. 

For more information, contact Williams.

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For More Information Contact

Damon Williams
Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning