iOS Apps for Teachers

I recently facilitated a workshop on using my lesson planning app, Spliced. Aside from learning how to use the app, many of the participants also learned something about the App Store: Apple really wants developers to make simple, concise apps. So when people say "there's an app for that," it isn't a coincidence. Apple actually wants it to be that way. In other words, developers like me can't make a "one stop shop" for all your teaching needs. Instead, we can release multiple apps, each with a pointed focus.

That being said, my app's "pointed focus" is organizing lesson planning materials and generating teaching documents from that data. Personally, when I need to do something else, I go and find another app. I've accumulated a few over the years and, prompted by the participants in my workshop, I've decided to share them here. They are split into two categories, "apps for planning and creating content" and "apps for teaching and assessing." Because I am a math teacher, some of these apps are topic specific, but I there are quite a few apps on this list that any teacher can use.

 

Apps for planning and creating content

Spliced: Lesson Planning Tool

Spliced uses data from your lesson plans to generate things like unit plans, presentation and student handouts. I designed it myself because there is nothing like it. If you are teaching and you have an iPad or even an iPhone, this app is mandatory.

Math Magic Lite

I have been using MathMagic Lite for years. Unfortunately, it appears to have been abandoned by the developer and the last update was in 2015. Nevertheless, I haven't found a better equation editor (Nuten: The Math Keyboard is good, but only for iPhone.) With Spliced, I just copy my equations to the clipboard and then paste them right into my lessons.

Euclidea

So this "teaching app" is actually a game. It's a construction game in fact, but I connect it to my projector and can simulate constructions on the app. I like this a lot because after the constructions are dynamic – you can move the points of intersection like you would in Geometer's Sketchpad. I also am accustomed to taking screenshots from the app to use in my lessons.

Notes Plus

When I got my first iPad, issued by the school in 2013, I put a lot of research into finding a good note taking app (there are a lot out there!) This one has served me well ever since and I get a lot of comments from people looking over my shoulder, saying 'your handwriting looks so good! You are only using your finger!?" (I used this app for with a stylus for a while but eventually learned the stylus didn't make much difference.) This app is well organized, is equipped with handwriting recognition and isn't half bad as a drawing tool either. It's simply a very, very well done notebook app. 

 

Apps for teaching and assessing

ZipGrade

ZipGrade uses your smart phone's camera to read multiple choice answer forms. The app extracts analytics from the data that you can use for instruction. My favorite thing to do with ZipGrade is grade the students exams in class as soon as they finish, telling them their score immediately and then giving them ten more minutes to see if they can find their mistakes. This activity actually encourages students to reflect on their work, but it's only possible because ZipGrade enables me to give them feedback so quickly. 

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere is an app that enables its users (who have a free Poll Everywhere account) to poll a classroom using cell phones. The feedback is instantaneous: a bar graph is built as the results come in. I use this app constantly during instruction to gauge student understanding. It is especially effective at identifying when it's a good time to take a "pair and share" break. 

A Little Calculus

I taught Calculus for only three years, but I still use this app to demonstrate calculus concepts when I tutor. The app does an especially good job of illustrating various methods of calculating volumes of solids of rotation. It also has 3D visuals of conic sections, limits, trigonometric functions... I could go on and on. Ever illustration is interactive!

Smart Seat

I've been using this app for four years and only stopped because Skedula finally released a worthwhile app for taking attendance that is also connected to the school's system. If your school doesn't subscribe to a service like Skedula, Smart Seat is the best app for taking attendance because you can actually arrange the students in a seating chart. The app is simple and reliable, like I said, I've taken four years of attendance on this thing.