Friday, January 11, 2013

Primary iPad Setup on a Budget

photo (1)
by Matt Gomez. You can connect with me on my blog mattBgomez.comTwitterFacebook or Pinterest.
I get asked a lot about free apps on the iPad that I recommend. I hear from a lot of teachers that they have no way to add paid apps and thus are stuck trying to find free apps. My experience is that many free apps stink, not all but many. They have adds, require in app purchases to be useful, or are just junk. I tend to stay away from most free apps. So what are you to do if you are not allowed to add paid apps? My suggestion is to build relationships with the decision makers. Don't just ask for a bunch of apps, instead provide documentation and purpose for a few apps you would like to have. I know this process takes time and effort but if you can show the purpose and learning you have a much better chance. If you need lesson ideas I suggest checking out my Pinterest page, and three of my favorite Pinterest pages:  iPadsammyTechChef4u, and Sue Gorman. Look for apps and lesson ideas there and modify them to fit your standards and kids.
Here is the $10 iPad app setup I would push for in my kindergarten classroom if I was getting to pick. Here is my $20 setup)
Felt Board- $2.99  Examples herehere, and here
Teach Me Kindergarten- $1.99  Covers many of the basics. It has great options to customize the content
Math Magic- $.99 For practicing math. Sample lesson here
My Story Book Maker- $1.99  Great book making app for the price. Add pictures, text or drawings as well as record audio for each page. 
Alien Buddies- $.99  Shapes, colors, numbers, letters-  Fun way to practice .
Sound Sorting- $.99 Beginning sounds app
Here are free apps that I feel are worthwhile.
Rocket Speller- FREE I use mainly for letter ID but the kids do pick up basic spelling as they play. Class favorite!
Skitch- FREE  Amazing app! We use a lot for labeling pictures. Sample Here
Educreations- FREE  White board app that records screen and voice. Uses are unlimited. Sample lesson here
Toontastic- FREE  My favorite storytelling app. Sample lesson here. You only get basic characters and backgrounds but it is still valuable. The $10 everything package is well worth it once you start using. So many great character and backgrounds and they are always adding more.
Sock Puppets- FREE  The app itself is free but the ability to save the finished project was an in app purchase ($.99) when I first got it. Not sure if that has changed.  More info here
Daisy the Dino- Free  Introduces the very basics of programming to kids. My class loves this app
ABCmouse Zoo- FREE  All the apps are free but I like the three zoo sets the best. More apps here
Rover App- FREE  This app allows flash to work on your iPad. The app is not perfect but overall I find it very useful
Doodle Buddy- FREE  Drawing app
Alpha Tracing- FREE There are better apps for fine motor (look here) but this free one is a good start
ABC Magic Apps- FREE Many great apps, I use several of them
Many of the paid apps that I have I got for free. Apps go on sale or are reduced to free very often. If you are on twitter check out @TCEA and the #iosedapp hashtag.
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  1. Hi Matt. Thank you for the post. I am in Fort Worth.


    1. Kristen, Added you to my RSS feed. You going to be at TCEA or Tech and Tots this year?


  2. Hi Matt. Thank you for the post. I am in Fort Worth.


  3. Yes I will be at TCEA : )
    I will be presenting.
    Are you going?


  4. Yes I will be at TCEA : )
    I will be presenting.
    Are you going?


  5. Hi, not sure if this helps, but at the beginning of the year we had an Apple executive come to our school and he said that it is legal for teachers to add paid apps to school devices by what he called, "The Layering Method". So our school only allows free apps on the school account, but I can set up my own account on the ipads as well and add additional paid apps. The only downside is you can only download on 5 devices (much like apps for personal use). I have mostly used this for apps where I don't need every student on them at once, like iMovie, Garage Band, guided reading apps, etc. Also, I did not assign a credit card to the account, and only use gift cards...just in case :)

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