Sunday, October 20, 2013


When I first started doing trainings on iPad use in math classrooms I focused pretty much just on math apps. However, I have changed direction here recently for two reasons. First, there are not many fantastic math apps out there that help develop mathematical understanding. Most math apps are “drill” type apps. Those are fine, they serve a purpose, but I really do want math apps that are more than just electronic flashcards and those are really hard to find. Second, there are so many apps that claim to be math apps, and more are added everyday, that it is impossible to keep up on the best math apps. Once I had filled my iPad from the “best of...” list there is a new “best of...” list that comes out and I feel like I need to add those to my iPad as well. Next thing I knew my iPad was filled with hundreds of apps that took up five screens of my iPad (and that was when they were combined into folders)!!  That is when I came across an article online by Tom Daccord titled The ‘Evergreen’ iPad: Why all your apps shouldfit on one screen. The title caught my attention quickly and as I read through it I realized what I had been doing wrong. I was focused solely on finding good Content apps, but Mr. Daccord opened my eyes to the true power of having an iPad in the classroom. The iPad isn’t just a way to make the math content more fun and engaging, it is a powerful tool to spark imagination, creativity, and ingenuity in our students. When we focus on finding the right apps to teach a certain content, we limit ourselves and our students. Instead, we should be looking more for “evergreen apps,” or apps that can be used year round within any content area. Daccord puts it this way: 
  • “Once educators focus on the iPad’s creative learning potential, they can start to cultivate a small set of “Evergreen Apps” into almost limitless instructional possibilities. Evergreen Apps—such as iMovie, Garage Band, Explain Everything, Paper53, Inspiration, Animoto, VoiceThread, and Doodlecast—are non-subject apps useful throughout the year for speaking, writing, listening, drawing, annotating, curating, collaborating, sharing, and more...Instead of trying to find an app to teach every curriculum topic (an impossible feat and a waste of time), educators instead can integrate Evergreen Apps, along with perhaps a few select content apps, to foster student creativity and innovation.”

    For example, an app like Educreations, is not a “math app” but can be used by students in a math class to explain their strategy for solving 39 + 17. They can record their audio explanation, add visuals, and then share it with the whole class or keep it as an electronic work sample for their portfolio. These types of apps will not be found by searching “math” in the app store, but can be used in so many creative ways in the math classroom. The pages on this blog will focus on these types of apps (organized by what they help you do; Consumption, Curation, Creation, Connection/ Collaborate, and Management) and giving you ideas on how they can be used in a K-5 math classroom. I have also included some of my favorite Content apps for math, a page for K-2 and a page for 3rd-5th. Any prices that are listed with the apps were prices when I downloaded them...prices do change!

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