This week the Featured section of the iPad App Store is full of even more highlighted app collections than usual. One of the notable app collections that caught my eye is ‘Apps for Elementary School’ – as I have a daughter in 4th grade.
The collection covers a lot of ground. It includes around 275 apps divided into these main sections: Math, Literacy, Science, Social Studies, Art & Music, and Health & Fitness.
Each of those main sections has useful sub-sections to make it easier for specific apps that you or your elementary school age kids may be interested in. For example, the Math section has sub-sections for Measurement & Data, Shapes & Spatial Reasoning, The Number System, Drill & Practice, Beyond Drill – Strategy, and Beyond Drill – Brain Busters; and the Social Studies section has sub-sections for World Cultures, Geography, and History & Historical Figures.
I’ve spent a good amount of time browsing the collection and I’m still far from done – but I’ve already seen some of my daughter’s favorites and quite a few promising apps we need to try out.
You can find the Apps for Elementary School collection in the top rotating panel of the Featured tab in the iPad App Store.
I’m continually impressed and amazed at how much impact the iPad is having in education – and especially in helping students with autism or on the autism spectrum. So I’m delighted to share this guest post today, covering 10 great iPad apps (and one great iPad case) for Students on the Autism Spectrum.
This post was written by Cathy Hoesterey. Here’s a little background on Cathy and her qualifications to write on this subject:
Cathy Hoesterey is an assistive technology specialist and occupational therapist living in Bellevue, WA near Seattle. She works for Belllevue School District in the special education department providing technology for special needs students ages 3-21 years old.
Cathy presents at national conferences and gives webinars on iPads and other assistive technologies. Her blog iPad for All is designed to support iPad users of all ages and abilities, as well as educators, therapists and families. She finds the overwhelmingly positive response of her students to the iPad energizing and rewarding.
As an assistive technology specialist working with special needs students for many years now, I’ve seen a lot of technology come and go. However, I have never seen a device so engaging and versatile as the iPad. In the past it was not uncommon for a student to abandon an expensive communication device because it was too complex to use, heavy and often unattractive. The iPad has a certain cool factor with students and their peers that cannot be underestimated. Teachers and family members are also more willing to use it.
ABC News recently reported that a government survey of parents says 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism. The definition of autism has expanded to include less severe and related conditions such as Asperger Syndrome. I work with dozens of students who have significant communication needs, the majority of them with autism. The apps that follow are some of those that we most frequently use with students on the autism spectrum. Of course, every student’s needs are unique so we do customize the iPad or other device to meet their particular needs.
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Apple has a superb ‘Apple in Education’ profile video up – highlighting the great impact iPads are making at Burlington High School in Massachusetts.
The school’s principal and teachers talk about how well the iPad has worked and how it has replaced expensive computer labs. They stress that students can now do everything on a single device – they don’t have to go to different devices for different tasks. One teacher speaks on how the iPad has expanded the possibilities for student projects
… students can do a video, do a paper, do a website. It just opens up far more options for them than we ever had before.
Here’s a great line from the principal, Patrick Larkin:
We felt, and we still do, that it was the best content delivery device – and was also the best content creation device.
Once again, so much for Microsoft and others claiming the iPad is just a consumption device.
The video is just over four minutes and it’s well worth a look – check it out at this Apple in Education page.
Apple shared some impressive numbers today about iTunes U, which has passed the 1 billion downloads milestone.
They also offered up some very impressive numbers relating to the iPad in the education arena – including:
– 4.5 iPad sold to US educational institutions
– 8 million iPads sold to educational institutions around the world
– iPad sales in this area are shwoing some strong momentum – with sales to the K-12 market doubling in year over year figures for Q3 of 2012. This momentum should just get stronger with the range of less expensive iPads growing.
These sort of numbers are great to see, and offer further proof that the iPad is such a powerful tool for educators and students.
I read a great article the other day on iPads in the classroom, over at iSource. The title, as mentioned above is ‘10 Reasons the iPad is an awesome tool for classrooms and education’. It’s written by a guy who would know, Brad Gurgel,since he serves as a principal and teacher at a school that has adopted iPads on a 1:1 device to student ratio.
Some of you may remember Brad did one of our What’s on Your iPad posts with me last year.
I won’t give away too much of Brad’s Top 10, but I will share my favorite reason on his list:
5 – Extremely Affordable, Well-Polished Software
Once the iPads are purchased, they can be filled with high quality educational software without spending another dime! Thousands of effective and fun educational apps are available for free. Even the apps developed by professional software companies rarely cost more than a dollar or two. For the price of just one typical computer software package, often ten or more apps can be purchased for the iPads. A special volume purchasing program is available through Apple that offers special discounts to schools on many apps that cost money.
All his reasons make sense, but this one hits home the most for me, as I see it in action every day with my 9 year old daughter and her iPad at home and with shared iPads in her elementary school classes.
Check out Brad’s full post for a great read and the rest of those 10 reasons.