Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm warry of apps.

My school is moving to a 1:1 environment, with roughly 1100 iPad2's being distributed in the coming weeks. It's deeply exciting, and I feel it has the real possibility to change the way I teach and students learn. In a positive way, if that wasn't clear.

That said, there's been a TON of talk about the apps that we should have student using. People have been worried about spending money on apps, finding good apps, weeding out the bad apps, blah blah blah...

Can I tell you a dirty secret?

I've bought maybe 4 apps. Ever. And I've been on the iPod Touch/iPad/iPhone train for a long time.
I guess I'm just really, really picky about what I throw money at.

I don't do single purpose apps. I like tools that are flexible.
I don't do content based apps. I make my own content, and just as I don't like/use commercial textbooks, I won't use the digital equivalent.

So what do I use? (and this is the school-based list...)
Sure. Let's do this by category.

Social Media:
1. Twitter
2. Google+
3. Mail

1. neu.Annotate
2. Evernote
3. Adobe Ideas
4. iDraft
5. Draftpad

1. Instapaper
2. Flipboard
3. iBooks

1. Scan
2. Clock
3. Dropbox
4. Safari

And that's mostly it. Give me those and some wifi, and I think I can get it done with students. I'm not saying there aren't good apps out there, but I'd rather have fewer good, versatile, workable tools than a giant bin of one trick ponies.

FWIW, only two of the above apps are paid (Instapaper and Adobe Ideas). Both are excellent, versatile, and easy to use. I can likely do without Instapaper as dotePub gets used more and more, and I'm sure there are other decent drawing/sketching/designing programs out there, but I got Adobe Ideas when it was free. So there you go.