First 10 Apps

When you first open up your iPad and set up your iTunes account there are literally hundreds of thousands of iPad apps to possibly check out and download. Below is a list of 10 apps, some are free and others require a small cost, to begin your iPad journey.


1. App Start (Free)
A free interactive magazine formatted for the iPad that leads you through interesting tips and tricks for using your iPad.  Additionally, it provides lists of apps organized by user profiles or content areas including Apps for Writers, Apps for Children, and Apps for Children’s Books.


2. Splashtop Remote Desktop ($4.99 iPad, $1.99 iPhone/iPod Touch)
If you are interested in using your iPad as a wireless slate in your classroom to remotely control your computer as you walk around the room then you might consider checking out Splashtop Remote Desktop.  This application actually requires two downloads – Streamer, a free piece of software for your computer, and the Splashtop Remote Desktop App for your iPad.  Once each of these programs are installed your iPad will communicate with your computer through a wireless network.


3. Flipboard (Free)
This free app lets you and your students personalize your news and flip through the stories by turning digital pages.  Once you launch the app you can easily subscribe to a variety of news and blog articles around specific topics including sports, current events, iPad apps, and green technology, along with many others.  You can also manually add feeds from any publication that has an RSS feed, like the Sacramento Bee or the Los Angeles Times.  Flipboard’s user interface feels similar to reading a magazine or book, allowing you to actually thumb through pages.


4. eReader – Kindle/iBooks/Stanza (Free)
Choosing an eReader is a bit like choosing the right pair of shoes – all of us have our own opinions on what is most comfortable, so you really need to check out multiple apps and figure out what will work the best for you.  The two most common apps for purchasing and downloading books are the Kindle and iBooks apps.  Both of these apps will sync between multiple devices, so you can start a book on your iPhone or iPod Touch and finish it on your iPad later.  The Kindle app will also sync between Amazon’s Kindle device and Kindle applications you can install on your computer.  The iBooks app has the handy feature of allowing you to download, save, and review PDFs.  Finally, if you and/or your students plan on reading any of the classics, the Stanza app allows users to download free versions of books in the public domain (published before 1923) by interfacing with Project Gutenberg.


5. iWork – Pages/Numbers/Keynote ($9.99 per app)
While there are a variety of productivity suites that can be accessed or purchased for the iPad, iWork, which consists of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, was designed specifically for the iPad.  These applications provide many of the same features as their desktop counterparts and are fully compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.  Students and teachers can easily use these applications to word process, design spreadsheets, and craft presentations.


6. iMovie ($4.99)
The second generation iPad, similar to its smaller iOS siblings (the iPhone 4 and 4th generation iPod Touch), is equipped with two cameras and the ability to record and edit video.  While there are a couple of video editing applications for the iPad, iMovie is certainly worth checking out.  The app is fairly easy to use and allows users to quickly craft and compile a short videos on any content.  Once created the movies can then be shared in variety of ways.


7. ComicBook! ($1.99)
Many of us have used ComicLife in the past.  ComicBook! is a very similar program designed for the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone.  Just like ComicLife, users can craft graphic text on topics ranging from a personal narrative and feature article to a diagram labeling hte parts of an atom.


8. StarWalk ($4.99)
Regardless of whether you’re sitting with a room full of adults or a room full of students, the moment StarWalk launches be prepared to hear lots of “oohs” and “aahs.”  Using the location services found in iOS devices, StarWalk, identifies your location in the world and provides a display of the night sky…even if the sun is still out.  You can zoom in on constellations, stars, planets, and satellites and identify what is above you in real-time.


Ever wished you could just speak into a device, have it transcribe your text with amazing accuracy, and email it or save it for later?  Well, if this has ever been your dream, then Dragon Dictation is a perfect app for you.  Using your iOS device’s built in microphone Dragon Dictation will quickly record speech and transcribe it into text.  Its a great way for efficiently crafting emails or creating notes for later.


10. Google Earth (Free)
Once upon a time an atlas came in handy for identifying countries, their capitals, and studying landforms.  Today, Google Earth provides much of this information, with the ability to directly interact with a globe and recent satellite images.  Google offers a version of Google Earth for iOS devices with many of the same features of its computer-based counterpart.  Users can explore the globe and even manipulate custom maps they have created in Google Maps.