iPurpose before iPad

The two above images are good examples of purposeful thinking about iPad usage in schools.

One, a screenshot of an oft-used tool known as iPad As.. by edtechteacher.org, focuses on what the iPad can be used for and provides links to various apps that can be utilised for those functions. It goes without saying that it is a very useful website for schools thinking about iPads. It provides nutshell explanations of a number of apps that relate to each iPad as… category as well as pricing. It’s a good introduction into the functionality of the iPad that counteracts the misconception of iPad as consumption NOt creation tool.

The other, The Padagogy Wheel, is one of many variations on applying Bloom’s Taxonomy of skills to iPad apps. It develops from the general learning action verbs/skills we want our students to acquire to technology based activities that relate to these skills and finally to a selection of apps that can support this development.

Both tools have supported my reflection on iPad use in school and are worth checking out in detail. Having said that, though, I feel they both fall short in what is needed as a resource for implementing iPads in education. iPad as… does a good job at presenting uses for iPads in school – what they can be used for – but doesn’t really provide depth about the skill development that can arise from their use. It’s still action/activity emphasis rather than pedagogical/learning emphasis. It’s great to know that you can create videos, and it describes what the app can do,  but how will this improve learning and what learning will it improve is also a priority iPad schools need to address. I think it also pigeon-holes apps as one trick ponies – I’d like to emphasise the apps that can be used to develop many skills.

The Padagogy Wheel provides many links between skills and tech activities but doesn’t really address what iPad apps address which skills and activities specifically other than lumping them into a particular category. It too, tends to classify the apps as one trick pony options rather than seeing them as multiple category options.

Don’t get me wrong, I think both are great tools but there is room for improvement in creating a tool for supporting time poor iPads in Schools implementers in planning, selecting, justifying and integrating iPad apps in education.

Which leads me to attempt a herculean task… I’m going to try to blend the best of both of these resources and address the short falls I have mentioned by creating my own resource. But it’s going to be a work in progress for a while and I hope to get support from Mr G Online followers, subscribers, users and casual visitors.

I’ve started creating a table of important skills, some derived from the Padagogy Wheel, and actions, some derived from iPad As… What I am planning to highlight is that there are many apps that can be use for many purposes and for developing many skills. For example, I have already added “Explain Everything” to 9 categories as I see it as a multifunctional app and one worth its price because of the educational benefits it provides. Over the coming months I plan to add text descriptions to each category to explain how the apps listed address the skill or action they have been linked to and may also link them to other online sources that show them in action. I’ll also provide direct links to the App Store, as I always do on this blog when I mention apps so you can check them out yourself if you want.

Now this sounds like a big task and it is. So I do need some help. What do I want from you? Anything you can give. Just add them to the comments of this post.

  • Examples of apps that help to develop specific skills
  • Additional skills I haven’t listed here
  • Examples of apps that are multifunctional.
  • Explanations of good pedagogical practice with apps. Don’t worry, all credit will go to you when I include your suggestions.
  • Links to blog posts, websites, Youtube tutorials, open wikis, nings etc that promote good practice that I can link to from here.
  • Examples on add ons like bookmarklets for curation sites, websites that work well with iPads ( Flash-free) that can still be categorised under these headings for iPad use.
  • Spread the word regularly through Twitter, Facebook, Curation sites like Pinterest and Scoop-It to keep educators coming back.
This post will look messy for a while as new ideas get added. A blog may not be the best storage place for it in the long run. If I actually get the support – and it’s likely I won’t – and it grows I will probably move it to a separate website for better functionality. It may well be better as a wiki but  I didn’t want to move away from Mr G Online unless I needed. For easy access in the meantime, I will add this post to my main menu at the top of the blog so you can come back to check revisions. I will be planning weekly updates at least, more if I get regular contributions I can just copy and paste in from the comments.
I really hope I can get this off the ground. From reading so many blog articles, I can see there is a huge need for clarity in using tech like iPads. If you have been a regular reader of Mr G Online, you would know I am a big proponent of Pedagogy before Technology. That’s why I want iPurpose before iPad. Hope to hear from some of you soon.



iMovie Pinnacle Studio VideoScribe HD iStopMotion GarageBand  TagPad  Evernote  Notability

Explain Everything Art Maker Animation Desk iMotion HD AudioBoo
 Whether creating live action videos with iMovie and Pinnacle Studio, animated stories with iStopMotion, Animation Desk and iMotion HD or how to tutorials with Explain Everything, the iPad is a great tool for video creation. Creating videos with these apps develops organisation and planning skills, supports story telling skills in non writers and enhances creativity and problem solving in many ways.
Book Creator Creative Book Builder StoryWheel    Sonic Pics Explain Everything Toontastic Storify
Video Scribe HD
Providing opportunities for authentic writing with a real audience outside the classroom, publishing real books using the iPad can improve motivation and actual writing skills. With sufficient access, tech based writing can employ the editing capabilities to encourage children to write without worrying about rewriting from scratch. With the real possibility of publishing books online or in the iBookstore for others to read, children will be encouraged to put more effort into editing and improving their written work. The possibilities for multimedia additions allows for more creativit There are more ways of telling stories these days than text and pictures. Some students have stories inside them that don’t get shared because of a lack of writing ability. Let’s give them opportunities to tell stories orally until they are ready to write so that they can develop their imaginations and story telling for when they are ready to write. These apps all allow for alternatives to traditional writing texts, either through combining audio and images seamlessly in a variety of formats
 Strip Designer Comic Life     Book Creator iPrompter Creative Book Builder iBooks
Explain Everything
Creating stories with audio, highlighted annotations, vocabulary support through linked dictionaries, scrolling screens provides support for students who lack reading skills. Getting children to record themselves reading gives them feedback on their progress as well as support for independent practice.
Edmodo VoiceThread Skype Evernote Keynote  VideoScribe  Haiku Deck   VoiceThread
Instapaper Whiteboard Popplet Comic Life  Explain Everything  Skitch   iPrompter
Comic Life  Writing Prompts SpellBoard Tap Dictionary iMind Map 3D  Popplet  Skitch Inspiration Maps Lite
Notability Whiteboard
 Evernote Edmodo   PollDaddy Socrative   EverNote  Edmodo Pinterest  Instapaper
Notability  Notability
 Notability Hopscotch
 Skitch  Evernote  Notability    Wolfram Alpha Numbers  Hopscotch
Wikinodes Notability
 Numbers  Wolfram Alpha  Doodle Buddy    Wolfram Alpha PollDaddy  WikiNodes Notability
Edmodo  PollDaddy   Socrative Numbers  Edmodo   Puppet Pals    
TagPad Evernote EasyTag
ClassDojo  Notability
Edmodo  Socrative   ClassDojo   Explain Everything   Edmodo Socrative  Notability 
Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 8.32.29 PM   
Routes Explain Everything Skitch Geocaching Numbers Wolfram Alpha MyScript Calculator
My Maps Editor
Skitch Explain Everything  Skype    Edmodo  Skype
ArtRage Garageband Snapseed RoomPlanner
ArtRage GarageBand  Snapseed iStopMotion Skitch  Explain Everything   RoomPlanner iDraw
Phoster ScrapPad
Explain Everything   Numbers Hopscotch     Edmodo  VoiceThread Skype  iPrompter 




31 thoughts on “iPurpose before iPad

  1. Audio Recording tool – Garage Band
    An excellent tool for creating backing tracks for the student’s movies. You can also use it to explore poetry through rap by using the smart drums feature. As a Music teacher, I use Smart Guitar, Strings and Keyboard help explain the relationships between chords, record backing tracks for performances and have the students record their compositions.

    • Thanks for input, E Samyla. GarageBand definitely on my list to add. I too have taught music with GarageBand and it has great possibilities. Will check out your other suggestions – haven’t heard of them.

      • All of the smart instruments are only available on the iPad version of Garage Band. Thank so much for compiling this list!

  2. This will be an excellent resource. We’re not an iPad school yet, but work like this will be a huge help. I’ll try to give you some input if I can help, although I don’t have the experience of working with a class full of iPads yet.

    I don’t recognise all the icons yet. What will happen when you click on them? Or is there rollover text I’m not seeing on the iPad? Maybe you could have a pop up with more details about the app and a link to the store?

    Good luck and keep up the great blog!

    • Any ideas are welcome John; experience not required!
      Will add labels and links soon. Didn’t notice difference between iPad and computer re scroll over text. On my Mac the image name shows as you scroll over. Not on iPad. Thanks for noticing.

  3. Thank you for embarking on this endeavor! I, too, have been disenchanted with charts that align apps to Blooms with no further explanation of why or how. And leading us to believe apps are one-trick ponies, as you say.

    I will be sharing this and I will be back to contribute!

  4. You have taken on a huge task, but it will be helpful.

    I would suggest ClassDojo for classroom management, it’s a quick way as a teacher walks around the room to note positive or negative behaviors. A website that I also use for classroom management is classbadges.com. When meeting certain benchmarks that we choose as a class, students earn badges.

    I have used Ask3 as a collaboration tool. Sometimes I start a project, sometimes I ask students to start one, and then they leave comments, questions and suggestions for each other. I teach 2nd grade and we don’t send iPads home, so I use this app only within the classroom.

    Write About This provides great photos with prompts for students to respond to. The prompts for each photo are differentiated at 3 levels so it’s useful for multiple grade levels as well as abilities within a single classroom.

    DrawingPad is the artistic tool we use in 2nd grade. It is basic enough for students of this age. However, it has the flexibility of providing markers, crayons, colored pencils and different backgrounds.

    Toontastic is another role playing app we use. Students love choosing characters, creating different voices and moving their people around the screen. It’s easy to use and students can have 1-5 scenes.

    Note taking in 2nd grade is pretty basic. We use Tools4Students. It has a lot of graphic organizers (story map, fact/opinion, compare/contrast, etc) that provide pre-determined organizational spaces for young students to note information.

    • Thanks Jennifer. Yeah, it’s huge but I’m OCD😜 about this blog so will keep at it. It’s important to me that people get the purpose of iPads and other similar tech.
      Intend to add ClassDojo, Ask3 and Tools4Students. They’re on my list. Will check out others.

  5. Great project, Mark! It will be an important reference for thousands of educators when finished. For what it’s worth, I’ve categorized my “Top App Picks” in many of the same categories you are using at http://www.21innovate.com/top-apps

    In that list I do not include any pedagogy or integration suggestions, but a few years back I did using this spreadsheet http://www.21innovate.com/blooms-apps

    I am hoping to mesh the two together at some point, much like you are doing, but for now I will cheer you on and spread the word. Thanks for all you do! Brad @dreambition

    • Thanks for links Brad. Some I hadn’t heard of on those lists and will check out. Your blooms page gives me some ideas already. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Evernote is excellent for audio recording notes. I home school my 7&8 year olds and I have them each their own ‘note’ listings books they’ve read. We attach a recorded note of them explaining the book, how they liked it, what it was about, how it made them feel. Haven’t gone beyond, no exporting or editing that particular audio.

    I had found a great line of apps, iplay is the name of one of them. I cannot remember the maker….I’ll get back to you on that. Very nice array of educational apps. …… Pearson. That’s it! 🙂

    I’m a new follower of your blog because of this article on zite. Keep up the good work!

    • Welcome Violet. Evernote is a great app. Many possibilities and have it lined up for many categories. Will check your other suggestion out.

  7. Auto desk 3d sculpting apps are amazing artistic tools. Scetchbook is my favorite for a realistic drawing experience. ( I am a painter and tattoo artist).

  8. These apps could probably be used in many of the catagories…but here’s a start.
    IPAD AS AUDIO RECORDING: Talking News and ScreenChomp
    IPAD AS DIGITAL STORYTELLING: WordMover, ScreenChomp, Storylines for Schools, TalkingNews, ShowMe
    IPAD AS READING SUPPORT: Storylines for Schools, WordMover, Storyboards 3D, Subtext
    IPAD AS PRESENTATION TOOL: ShowMe, Doceri, Educareations, Edcanvas, Smart Office 2
    IPAD AS A WRITING TOOL: Doceri, Captions, Chalkboard, Smart Office 2
    IPAD AS BRAINSTORMING TOOL: Doceri, ShowMe, Chalkboard, iTag, Educreations
    IPAD AS NOTE TAKER: Educreations
    IPAD AS AN ARTISTIC TOOL: chalkboard, iTag
    IPAD AS A DESIGNING TOOL: iTag, chalkboard

    Hope this helped a little…Judy

  9. Mr. G, Thanks for undertaking this task. Can’t wait to revisit it when it becomes further developed. Your chart will help place the emphasis where it belongs – on the content/task, and NOT on the tool. By seeing an app cover many of the tasks that you want your kids to accomplish, it will help schools make more informed choices on which apps are the best bang for their buck.

    Definitely look at Richard Byrne’s iPad Apps for School http://ipadapps4school.com/ and Sylvia’s Langwitches – http://www.langwitches.org/. Both are amazing people who share so many resources. Sylvia discusses in her blog about the iPad as a creative tool, not a consumer tool, and also focuses more on a few select apps.

    Beyond some of my favorites you have already covered (such as Evernote, Skitch and ExplainEverything)
    Pinterest – social networking, organization, lesson ideas
    Art – Sketchbook Express, Brushes
    Feedly – information gathering, PLN
    Notability – excellent note taking tool with recording capabilities

  10. Soundcloud (assuming it connects at your site) and AudioMemos are handy audio recording apps. There are so many photo editing apps to be used as artisitic tools. My favorites right now are Snapseed, Aviary, DistressedFX, PhotoStudio HD, Photostein, and Fotor. For a presentation tool, Doceri is pretty robust. If students have their own iPads Penultimate (linked with Evernote) is a great note taking tool.

  11. Sorry, but your revision and the original graphics all proceed from the same flawed premise – tech first. Rather than asking what can I use this cool tool for, whatever it is, we should be asking about the learning environment we want to create and the skills it will engender. Once created, the students would be the ones who choose the tech that best meets their needs. Teachers may need to make sure students know what is out there, but any use of technology needs to grow organically out of student needs. These types of graphics only promote backward thinking – teachers looking at tools first and seeking to shoehorn them into learning rather than students selecting and using for tools to achieve authentic tasks.

    • Hi, Jim. Thanks for the contrary opinion. I think it’s important in blog comments to get challenged so thought processes can be developed and pushed to think deeper.

      I wholeheartedly agree that it is important to get the learning environment right before anything else. I would love to hear your description of what that environment should look like rather than just stating developing a learning environment is important. In looking at this chart, I mention collaboration, discussion, debating, designing, communicating, experimenting, all elements of a quality learning environment I want for my students.

      Too often, tech discussion, iPad or not, centres around the creation aspects,engaging, exciting but not really revolutionizing learning. But if we can change the conversation from what we can make with tech ( iPad in this case ) to what we can do to learn, then education can change. This is only an early draft form so its definitely open to criticism because at first glance it does look like another list of apps. Many comment contributions are also focused on the app rather than skills and learning. I haven’t written much yet but I definitely want to focus on the learning.

      I also like your point about students choosing the tool for learning rather than teacher shoe horning tools into the learning environment. I suppose where we may differ in opinion is that I think we need to at least introduce the options to the students so they can make those choices whereas you appear to believe they already know what tech to choose and do it all without our input. In building this resource I hope to inform teachers AND students if they are given access to it, of the options they can choose for learning rather than just creating, although I also firmly believe that the creative options are still important. Again, this may not be evident in draft form and I may not have explained that effectively, but that is my aim. What you suggest is actually what I seek. I’ll have all of that in mind as I begin developing this in more detail.

    • G’day all

      Greetings from South Australia. I am the guy who developed the PADAGOGY WHEEL concept as it is represented here. Thanks Mark for including it in your blog post and I hope it is helpful to others as well. As I do on the image itself, I acknowledge those who have gone before me and helped develop these linkages between pedagogy and technology. Rest assured the Padagogy Wheel was always designed to be a starting point to develop further and I am really appreciative of Mark’s commitment to “make it so”! It was originally designed to be an aid for my PADAGOGY seminars. I have introduced over 600 university faculty staff to iPads in Learning and Teaching in about 20 universities in 5 countries in the last 3 years.

      Both Mark and Jim have interpreted this wheel incorrectly. That is OK as it is out of its original context. Mark you said you think it pigeon-holes apps as one-trick pony options I address this issue within my seminars and on the original blog post which introduced the wheel and is now part of the Creative common licence attribution tinyurl.com/bloomsblog There I say “I have added 62 iPad apps to the wheel and put them where they could serve the pedagogy. These are not necessarily the best app for the job and many of the apps can be used in different realms but it is a good start. I hope it helps you rethink the iPad’s use in Learning and Teaching… it is not about the tool nor the app … it’s all about the students. Also if you have discovered a better app to serve a creative pedagogical use, then please share it in a comment to this blog post… there is always a better way!”

      Jim it is presumptuous to say you know my premise when I developed the wheel. You can say you interpret the wheel a particular way and your interpretation is that it puts technology first. You couldn’t be further from the truth. I can speak only of the Padagogy Wheel and it was designed to help teachers put pedagogy first. To see technology (apps) serving learning outcomes based on the Blooms Model of cognitive domains. It is now on on over 300 websites and gets 5+ million results for a defined search string on google …. I think I can assume it is helping teachers. BTW if anyone would like a higher resolution image of the wheel for poster use it can be downloaded from here tinyurl.com/padwheelposter. It has QR codes on it to link it back to the electronic versions.

      I am not sure what “space” i.e. K-12 VET or Higher Education you guys are teaching in but to expect university students to know the technological choices they could choose to help their learning is really unrealistic and you would even get negative feedback from them (based on personal experience I might add 🙂 that there is no help or support when their are no suggestions of which tools to use. All a HE teacher or academic can do anyway is make suggestions – there is very little “shoe-horning”

      There is much work being done in universities around the world the area of learning spaces and environments and the student experience. This is all good stuff and vitally important … however may I add there is one more focus that is vital to effective learning clear mapping to graduate attributes. What do you want your graduates to “look like” What are the capabilities values and behaviours would you like to see in your graduates. Students are working with staff to help refine these and articulate them and more importantly helping the courses/programs address these in the objectives. Browse through my podcast program and blog if any of this interests you. Please visit tinyurl.com/alsltblog


      • Thanks for the measured and thoughtful response, Alan. I definitely appreciate the work you put into the Wheel and it has helped me consider the pedagogical use of the iPad. Glad you have left links to the original work – sometimes I just find resources on sites and comment on them without going through their history. Some blogs just post the image and say nothing – I feel compelled to reflect and critique. Now I know the background and the follow up work through seminars I have a greater understanding of your intentions. I agree that it is not practical to expect students to just know what to use and we need to assist them – I think I argue that in my response to Jim. However, once they know the options and possibilities I do think there are many who can make the choices well and should have that freedom – I know my own children can.

        The one trick pony line is just my informal tone in my writing but I suppose my point – and you explained that you added the 62 apps as a starting point – is that there could have been some apps represented in more than one category to accentuate their multiple purposes. I know there have been many apps created since then and as soon as I finish this, there will be a new group of must haves around the corner.

        As your wheel was a starting point to much discussion, I hope my effort will be too. It too will be superceded as new ideas and apps arise but anything that can direct the conversation towards the learning and away from the allure of the tech gimmick is a start.

  12. Please include Google Drive app. If you use gmail apps, it’s great to access documents, etc from the ipad. Useful for collaboration, information organizer, writing.

    thanks for putting this chart together!

  13. Nearpod is a fantastic app for presenting, instruction, and formative assessment in real-time. I have a difficult time categorizing apps that are so multifunctional, so feel free to explore Nearpod’s possibilities and categorize it all over the place!

    To see how I have been using Nearpod in a 1:1 iPad mathematics classroom this year, please check out my blog at http://www.mathycathy.com/blog/tag/nearpod/ to see its many uses in action!

    • Thanks Cathy. Checked out your blog posts on Nearpod and there are some great ideas in there that show the pedagogical advantages teachers can get from using apps like Nearpod. I downloaded it a while a go but haven’t really used it yet. You’ve got me excited. I’ll be adding Nearpod to iPurpose before iPad in many categories I think. Thanks again for the contribution.

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