Sonoma County Office of Education

Technology for Learners

Awesome iPad Apps for K-5 Classrooms

Author: Rick Phelan
Published: 09.06.13

iPad AppsiPad tablets offer K-5 classrooms a wide array of learning activities. As a whole-class teaching device, the iPad screen can be projected for class activities through an existing classroom LCD or large screen television. Small group learning centers can be set up for directed practice or independent inquiry. The iPadís accessibility features also support individualized access through alternate keyboards, audio input (speech to text), and audio output (screen readers).

Previous posts in this blog have suggested ways to find exemplary apps. This post offers my perspective on some of the best apps for K-5 classrooms at this point in time.

Teacher Tools

Classroom Timer is a simple clock that can be set for timed learning tasks. The graphic display presents elapsed time and time remaining. (Free)

ClassDojo is a tool that helps teachers monitor and manage classroom behavior. It generates data based on teacher observations that can then be shared with students, parents, and administrators. (Free)

iTunes U is a digital catalog of free education content, from K-12 schools through universities. It provides a searchable resource collection of electronic documents, podcasts, and videos. (Free)

Stick Pick randomly chooses student names and offers individualized inquiry stems (e.g., Bloomís taxonomy levels, CELDT levels) for classroom discussions. (Cost $3)

Too Noisy is an app that monitors classroom sound levels and presents the background noise level in a graphically interactive format. (Free)

Math Apps

Bugs and Buttons is an engaging app that promotes counting, fine motor skills, path finding, patterns, sorting, and tracking. (Cost $3)

Motion Math Zoom supports the development of number sense, including counting numbers, negative numbers, and decimals. Its zoomable, stretchable number line is missing some numbers, so itís up to your student to put the numbers back where they belong. (Lite version is free)

Number Line is an educational game app to help students learn about fractions, decimals, and percentages by ordering them on a number line. (Free)

Motion Math is an interactive game developed with the Stanford School of Education. By playing Motion Math, learners improve their ability to perceive and estimate fractions in multiple forms. (Lite version is free)

ELA Apps

Kidspiration Maps is a tool that helps students learn to organize and classify information, gain sight word knowledge, and expand ideas into written and verbal expressions. (Lite version is free)

Educreations Interactive Whiteboard turns an iPad into a recordable whiteboard. It supports voice recording, input of text, drawing/painting, and photos. Animated presentations can be created and shared via email and social media. (Free)

iBooks offers thousands of digital books. Readers can use the built-in search feature to find words or phrases, look up definitions, and add annotations. A screen reader is available for reading highlighted passages. (Free)

Science Apps

Solar System is a beautifully illustrated story of the solar system. Over 150 screens of photographs, text, and movies share points of interestóthe planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and spacecraft that surround the Sun in our cosmic backyard. (Cost $14)

Living Lung provides a detailed model of the human lung with color-coded, didactic models to help show the specific locations of lung segments, the internal bronchial tree, and circulatory structures. Users can increase or decrease the breaths per minute and observe how it changes lung functions. (Free)

Exploriments: Electricity Ė Simple Circuits allows users to learn how to assemble electrical circuits using wires, switches, bulbs, fans, and a host of electrical toys. Circuit arrangements include series and parallel. (Cost $2)

Social Studies Apps

Google Earth explores Earth with the touch of your finger. Check out distant lands or your local neighborhood. Search for cities and places of study. Browse layers including roads, borders, places, and photos. (Free)

Geo Walk HD is an interactive globe model with articles on various topics, including animals, plants, history, people, and inventions. Topics are placed on the Earth with respect to their location, with pictures and short descriptions. (Cost $3)

American History Time Line allow users to scroll through time with the flick of a finger, tap dates to see events, and learn more about US history. Features include matching games, event filtering, and stories about hundreds of people, places, and events. (Cost $1)

Blog: Technology for Learners