I think it stands to be said that it is the apps that will set the iPad apart from its competitors, especially when it comes to education. Let’s pretend for a moment that the iPad was intentionally created for education. How then would we use? We’ve put together 5 examples of apps we’ve seen that bring the educational experience to life.
- The Elements: A Visual Exploration: This amazing app features 3D depictions of the periodic table along with all the facts and figures to make it useful to a professor. Did we mention its beautiful? The interface is absolutely amazing and it almost reminds you of something they’d use in Star Trek. Yes, it’s that cool. The app currently cost $13.99, but when you are comparing this to a textbook, it’s really only pennies. Here’s a direct quote from the reviews: “Best app ever! Got my first 100 in chemistry class that’s just how awesome it is.”
- iBooks: This one is free folks and if you don’t have it, it can only be because you haven’t heard of it. This is an absolute must-have app for the iPad. Imagine storing all your textbooks on just one device, and being able to search those books for the information you need in an instant. Purists will say that nothing compares to the smell of a brand new book. I agree. I also know that nothing compares to a backpack full 3 lb. textbooks…especially when you’re cruising around campus on your longboard. Also, remember that there are literally thousands of classics available free to download for the iPad. Download iBooks and search the online library through the app.
- Magazine/Newspaper: Just when we thought the next generation would stop reading anything that was printed (how archaic), they go and do something like this…and totally redeem themselves. Several papers and magazines have created beautiful, clean, intriguing apps. Some of the best are Popular Mechanics and USA Today just to name a few.
- iWork: I think the vast majority of users has established that the iPad is not supposed to replace your laptop…yet. In the meantime, we’ll just have to settle with doing all the little things our day requires like taking notes, firing off quick emails, reading the news, surfing the net, chatting with friends, updating our social networks, watching movies, and reading books. While typing does take some getting used to on the iPad (much like the iPhone for new users), it is possible to get fairly decent at it. Granted, no one wants to write a 15 pager on one of these things, but being able to edit, review, write short essays, and make changes is helpful. The same goes for presentations and spreadsheets. While the functions are scaled back, it is still useful on a lighter bases. Compare it with its big brother though and the differences become obvious. iWork is composed of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.
- WolframAlpha: Granted it had a few bugs, but this is pretty amazing. Imagine being able to plug in any function and receive the answer with a step by step approach. Math teachers, you’re going to want to figure out how to teach math in ways that don’t involve memorization. Sending kids home with a handful of problems probably won’t get the lesson across with technology moving in this direction. Instead, as my friend at Apple says, “Let’s teach kids how to use these functions to build a bridge.”
As technology changes, so do the ways we learn and the ways we educate. What other apps have you found that may change the face of education?