Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for iPad, thoughts after a year, my 20 best apps for education & librarians

Apple has just released the iPad 2, but I'm still on the iPad 1 and I'm not in a position to buy another one less then a year after I bought the first version.

I do however, want to share how I've used my iPad over the last year.

I use it every single day, for many hours a day. During my lunch and morning tea breaks at work I use it for professional development, catching up on twitter, facebook, emails, browsing the web, making appointments on the calender and listening to podcasts. In the evenings and weekends I hunt down my favourite youtube clips, read books and magazines, read my RSS feed, write blogs and emails.

I like its portablity, quick loading times, and long battery life.

I dislike its slowness doing some tasks, typing, and heaviness.

I won't say I'd be lost without it, but I would certainly notice its absence.

Now for some lists of apps that I've found particularly useful. I have nearly 300 apps on my home computer, so I've reviewed quite a few.

They are listed in no particular order.

My top ten most used apps:
Friendly - facebook browser
Reeder - RSS feed reader
Atomic web browser
Blastr - scifi news

Besides the apps above, which I've estimated I spend the most time with, I've got a list of more specific apps below, follow the links to iTunes for a description and reviews.

Top 20 apps for learning and librarians.
iPod app combined with iTunes U - free education resources, podcasts and videos, from some of the major universities around the world.
Evernote - take notes anywhere and share with any device with an internet connection.
Dropbox - sync and share files from your computer to your iPad.
Smart note - Take notes in class, sketch out the next great idea, write personal notes in your password protected notebook, or simply highlight some text in a pdf. smartNote makes it easy to do just about anything you would normally do on paper on the iPad.
Quick office -  for its google docs syncing capability.
iWorks suite, numbers, pages, keynote - iPad versions of Mac's equivalent to Microsoft Office.
Blackboard - I haven't used but for schools with blackboard this would be important.
Wolfram - more then a search engine, a computation engine, WolframAlpha's mobile app is powerful tool.
iFlow reader - for reading DRM protected library books, slightly fuller featured then Bluefire, and arranges books as flowable sections, hence the flow in their name.
Bluefire reader - for reading DRM protected library books
Guiness world records - great for records.
CIA world factbook - great fact checker for country information
TED videos - inspiring videos from the TED conferences.
mTouch+ moodle app - a must for institutions who use the moodle course management system.
Twitter - I learn so much from the people and organizations I follow on twitter, find an app that suits you. I keep going back to twitter's own app, but there are heaps to choose from.
Howcast - for the visual learner in all of us, howcast has some great videos on how to do just about anything.
Zinio - a digital newsstand with hundreds of digital versions of print magazines.
Atomic web browser -
Penultimate - very realistic writing pad for handwritten notes.


  1. I have been debating whether my next purchase should be an ipad. I think I would go into overload with the amount of apps available.

  2. There are a lot of apps but it helps in the US version of iTunes most would have reviews. Our version of iTunes only has reviews if someone from our part of the world bought the app, so I've had to experiment a lot more then if I lived in the states.

    It's great for consuming information, not so great for creating but it can be done. Some musicians are using to compose whole albums.

  3. Wow, what a fantastic list of apps! Thank you.

  4. I'm always amazed at the ingenuity behind some of these apps. (Who knew you could use the phone's camera to take your pulse?) Thanks for the list of USEFUL apps, though! Will have to check them out, see if there are good equivalents (or versions) for Droid.

    Holly Jahangiri

    It's All a Matter of Perspective

  5. Hi!
    I so want an Ipad, but money is the problem. So I'll have to make do with my computer. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  6. Great post! I'd love to have one some day, just not in the budget right now! :)

  7. I haven't yet convinced myself that I need an iPad, but I'm sure I'd put it to good use if I had one.

    Nice to meet a fellow A to Z'er!

  8. I have the first IPad too. I don't use it for writing. I read on it, play games, and use it for iTunes. I probably should have just gotten an Ipod Touch. LOL

  9. One day I'll get an iPad. I have an iPhone, so I don't feel totally out of the loop.

    Also, check out iStudiez Pro. It costs a few dollars, but it's one of the better college day planner apps I've seen. I love it!