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15 Favorite iPad Apps As Selected By Teachers

by Kelly Walsh on March 25, 2012


Out of 125 responses from teachers indicating their top 3 apps, these are the apps that were listed most often.

Over the last few weeks, we ran a survey asking teachers to tell us about two or three of their favorite iPad apps that they use in an education-related context. Today we share the apps that were listed most often, and include some feedback from teachers regarding why they like them so much.

Teachers Top iPad Apps image by K. Walsh, EmergingEdTech

As it turns out, free apps really outweighed paid apps in our survey responses. Here I list eleven free apps that rose to the top of the list when ranked by numbers of votes, followed by four paid apps that performed as well as the lower ranking free apps. Evernote and Dropbox easily rose to the no. 1 & 2 spots in the ranked list, with about 1 out of 3 respondents recommending at least one of these two popular applications.

First, we list the Favorite FREE iPads Apps that teachers indicated they use in their roles are educators:

  1. Evernote
  2. Dropbox
  3. Neu.Notes
  4. Screen Chomp
  5. TED Videos
  6. EduCreations
  7. iBooks
  8. Skitch
  9. Twitter
  10. Zite
  11. Science360

Following is a little information about each of these apps, and some feedback on why teachers like them.

1. Evernote (link to app in US iTunes store here)
Evernote allows you to easily maintain sets of notes and access them from just about any device, along with additional functionality. Here are some of the teacher’s comments about why they love this app:

– “It makes my life simpler!  Who couldn’t use an app that allows you to clip information from the web, connect to a drawing tool, (Skitch), take notes, has its own email AND syncs all your information seamlessly with your computer, phone and ipad!”

– “I don’t even know where to start. I love this App. I know it was on last year’s list but it is my top App. I use it to store job related info, … snapshots, urls, and mainly just keep me organized!”

– “I save all kinds of resources for myself and to share. I am able to organize them and file them.”

Teaching and Learning with the iPad Conference

2. Dropbox (link to app in US iTunes store here)
Another highly popular app, teacher’s love this one too. Dropbox allows you to synch files between multiple devices so you can easily get to them regardless of which device you’re on, and provides 2GB of storage for free.

– “It allows me to keep all my files in one secure place. When necessary I can share a specific folder with a class and allow for a quick and secure transfer of files.”

– “I use it to transfer/access files between my computer and iPad.  I love it because it is an easy way to access files – using email can clutter my inbox and make is difficult to organize.”

 3. Neu.Notes (link to app in US iTunes store here)
Take hand written notes and drawing on your iPad with great free app for sketching, note taking, mind mapping and more.

– “I use this to write all my notes in class every day.  Love it–just like writing on a whiteboard.”

4. Screen Chomp (link to app in US iTunes store here)
This teacher’s comment explains Screen Chomp, and why he or she likes using it in their teaching role:

– “This is a whiteboard that allows you to record what you do, and narrate at the same time. It’s great for anything you want to show students. The file is saved online and you can play it on their site or download the mp4.”

5. TED Videos (link to app in US iTunes store here)
Access TED Talks here, “talks from some of the world’s most fascinating people”.

– “I use the videos from TED to spark discussions in my class, as well as to gather information on subjects I’m getting ready to teach.  Awesome information here!!”

6. EduCreations (link to app in US iTunes store here)
Educreations turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard.

– “The ultimate screencasting app for teachers AND for students–teachers can flip classrooms and students can build demonstrations of thinking/knowledge. GREAT app!”

– “I can draw and create lessons on my iPad and I can find other user’s lessons.”

7. iBooks (link to app in US iTunes store here)
Apple’s electronic books app is included with iOS 5 (already installed on new iPads). I thought this teacher’s comment showed an interesting approach to the use of this tool, and this can be done more easily for a PDF – you can open a PDF in iBooks once you have it open on the iPad and it will be saved there until you delete it (when you have a PDF open on the iPad, click the ‘send to’ icon and you should have an ‘Open In …’ iBooks option if you have iBooks installed).

– “This is a perfect app for a classroom teacher.  If you want kids to share their writing with one another, all you need to do is take their Word document (or PDF), upload it to a site like, convert it, put it in your Dropbox and then open it in iBooks.  Think of the power of all those books on the iBooks shelves… and they’re all written by your students!

8. Skitch (link to app in US iTunes store here)
“Mark up photos, screenshots, maps, and webpages then share them with anyone you like” (from iTunes store description).

– “It is great for annotating pictures, maps, or screenshots.  Simple to use and syncs with Evernote.”

9. Twitter (link to app in US iTunes store here)
The insanely popular microblogging platform offers it’s own free iPad app.

– “I use this app to stay up to date on new educational technology, trends in education, trends and ideas in gifted education, and am researching and brainstorming how to incorporate Twitter with my students next year.”

10. Zite (link to app in US iTunes store here)
“Zite is a free personalized magazine for your iPad that automatically learns what you like and gets smarter every time you use it” (from iTunes store description).

– “Gathering web articles on many different topics for educational professional development.”

– “Keeps me up to date on news and blogs–love the easy set up and format.”

11. Science 360 (link to app in US iTunes store here).
“The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Science360 for iPad provides easy access to engaging science and engineering images and video from around the globe and a news feed featuring breaking news from NSF-funded institutions” (from iTunes store description).

– “I like to use these videos to reinforce ideas of what my students are learning.  This helps me pull them up quickly and use apple TV to watch them.”

– “The app has a good visual field when you open it so you have a good idea what the topic is and if you can tell if it’s a video.  I use it with my 3rd grade reading group mostly as a behavior modification.”

So there you have the top free apps chosen. To round out survey results, there were also a handful of paid apps that ranked the same as the lower entries in the top listing above.

The Favorite PAID iPads Apps that teachers indicated they use in their roles are educators:

12. Alge-Bingo (link to app in US iTunes store here)
Students can develop their algebraic equation solving skills through playing a Bingo game. Created by a high school math teacher with over 25 years of experience in the classroom. ($ .99)

– “For Algebra students to learn and review their equation-solving skills. It is addicting and a fun way to get my kids to learn!”

13. SplashTop (link to app in US iTunes store here)
A very popular remote desktop app that let’s you access your desktop PCs or macs and run the apps on them. ($2.99)

– “This app allows me to control my PC computer through my iPad. I am also able to use the iPad as a slate. This allows me to use my IWB remotely from across the classroom.”

14. Explain Everything (link to app in US iTunes store here)
This iPad presentation tool is easy-to-use, letting you annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations. ($2.99)

– “This is a great, low-cost app that enables you to draw and annotate on the screen, while narrating or recording explanations. You can import photos, PDF and slides on which you can draw and then you can export in multiple formats. Great app when you need to quickly explain something that requires a sketch or drawing and it’s easy to share to your cloud storage or YouTube.”

15. NoteTaker HD (link to app in US iTunes store here)
Capture and manage handwritten notes and diagrams. ($4.99)

– “This is the preferred note taking app for our students. It is very easy to use and has a great interface.”

That rounds out our listing of those apps indicated multiple times by teachers who submitted them to our survey and told us about why they love using them in their roles as educators. So get clicking and go take one of them for a spin! Don’t forget to let us know how you make out, or to comment and tell us about favorites of yours.

Our Two $25 iTunes Gift Card winners have been selected and emailed their digital gift cards. Thanks to our winners, Melanie Chernoff and Pat Rose, and thanks again to everyone who participated in the survey!


Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Five Fun Free iPad Apps for Elementary School Teachers And Students
Using The iPad As A Digital Whiteboard (Plus 4 Cool Free Apps To Try It Out)

Apple TV In The Classroom – The New Smart Board


Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded He frequently delivers presentations and training on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Walsh became the Community Administrator for the Flipped Learning Network in June of 2016. In his "spare time" he also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

shahid durrani January 27, 2016 at 5:05 am

Great apps..i have learned more from this blog about apps.Dropbox is also very useful for saving your files.The Dropbox client enables users to drop any file into a designated folder. The file is then automatically uploaded to Dropbox\’s cloud-based service and made available to any other of the user\’s computers and devices that also have the Dropbox client installed.

Rob Delisa July 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I am also a 4th grade teacher. There are just too many great apps out there to mention them all. My list is quite a bit different than the one above:

Carlos Dias February 11, 2014 at 10:43 am

Forgot one: energyProf is a great app for classroom management!

Karen September 3, 2013 at 12:27 am

Evernote is one of the best tools. Helps you to remember things easily.

Andesken May 12, 2013 at 1:18 am

I personally recommend Air Display, this application allows you to extend your computer desktop to iPad, so that this acts as a second screen. It is very useful and also very easy to use.

iris books September 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

We have a great new app for anyone who needs help with writing their UCAS personal statement:

Best Bloke August 8, 2012 at 1:08 am

This App helps to create quality presentations for lecture/ tutorials:

ed s July 23, 2012 at 10:15 am

I reccomend this Timeline Eons app, a graphic representation of the entire natural and human history:

Rich July 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Check out the Teacher’s Wire app. It allows you to take photos of your students’ learning in action or of your students’ work, attach a learning objective that you’ve previously entered into the application and then email the information to the child’s parents.
Here is a short 30 second video-

Hope June 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I am a 6th grade math teacher and I love the Math !!! app by Math Pentagon. With a wide variety of worksheets on math topics like Geometry, Algebra, Numbers, Statistics, Decimals, etc, it lets students write and practice on the iPad itself. The practices worsheets are saved and even their teacher can view these. Teachers can do a whole lota things too with this app, like, create assignments, schedule LIVE teaching sessions..etc. Oh yes! You can teach live using this app. And not just one but multiple students at a single time. All sitting in their cosy locations in front of an iPad. How cool is that! I’m surprised I discovered this app all by myself on the app store!

Here is the download link:!!!/id467548534 and their website:

Linden June 11, 2012 at 9:35 am

You might like this school report writing web application…

Free web-based school report writing software for teachers, easy-to-use, with great features including an OOOPS! DETECTIVE that spots embarrassing mistakes and spellcheck as you type.

Saves loads of time too! Very quick to register and have a play.

*** TEACHERS’ REVIEWS from TES resources (Times Educational Supplement)…

“So grateful for this – took me a while to get the hang of it but the time investment was worth it. Thank you.”

“The software is great, really excellent. I love it already!”

Best wishes,

Fred May 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm

These are generally useful apps but none of them are particular apps for teaching. I find TeacherPlan is good for lesson planning.

Bill Moyes April 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I would personally recommend SlideShark for the iPad. You can flawlessly display Powerpoint slideshows on your iPad. There are some limitation, most noticeably that SlideShark does not maintain your transitions, but I can live without fancy transitions as long as my content isn’t messed up. As a math teacher, this has become one of my favorite apps and, oh, it’s FREE.

Eyal Dessou Tzafrir April 1, 2012 at 7:09 am

My name is Eyal and I’m the founder of iMagine machine™.
I wanted to introduce you to our brand new app – Faces iMake –Right Brain Creativity
We strongly believe in its Educational potential both in the classroom and at home
Here is some educational love that we got:

Apple picked it for New and Noteworthy.
Washington Post Apps, put us on the cover of the printed weekend edition (as well as online) –
We were in top 10 educational iPad apps in 30 countries and we are now in the What’s hot in Education
Parent’s Choice Awards gave our iPhone version a Gold Medal for being the most creative app they have ever seen. – say that – “This is an all-time TOP 10 ESSENTIAL app to have on your iDevice! –
Teachers with apps gave it rave reviews.
Daniel Pink did notice it and gave it a nice recommendation in his Blog.

Hoping you’ll find it engaging and worthwhile as well.

and here is the video –

Please feel free to contact me for any question – eyal (at) imaginemchine dot com

Mike March 29, 2012 at 4:00 am

I’m a grade 4 teacher, and I personnaly use the iTooch Elementary app with my class on a daily basis.
This app is just great, because it provides a full coverage of the curriculum in math, language arts and science (they also cover gr3 and 5) in a simple, fun interface.
A must have.

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