I’m often asked for suggestions for the best apps for elementary schools. In general, my opinion is that less is more. I tend to stick to a few, open-ended, content creation apps. I don’t use a ton of specific subject area content consumption apps.
Here are the iPad apps I use regularly in my classroom along with an example of how I’ve used them. Where possible, I’ve also included links for equivalent or similar apps for Android and Blackberry devices.
Puppet Pals 2
Puppet Pals is essentially a virtual puppet show. It allows students to choose a setting, add characters and props, select background music and more. Students can record a video while animating their characters with simple touch gestures and at the same time, it records students’ voices. The app does a decent job at trying to ignore background noise, so while a quiet space to record is always ideal, a noisy classroom will still work. Finished videos can be exported to the camera roll (and then shared however you like – including YouTube). The free version includes a basic set of characters and costumes while the paid version ($4.99) includes a larger variety as well as the ability to make custom characters.
I have not found anything comparable for Android or Blackberry.
iMovie is a video editing app that allows students to combine photos and/or videos, add titles or text, transitions, sound effects and music. There are many built-in movie templates and themes or you can work from scratch. (French tip: Make sure the iPad’s language is set to French and then the iMovie template text and titles will be in French.) Once videos are completed, they can be saved to the camera roll or shared in a variety of ways – we use YouTube. The iMovie app simplifies the workflow of filming a movie; however, in comparison to the full version of iMovie (i.e. the computer version), there are limitations. For example, the app does not support green screen editing while the computer version does. For simple, quick and easy projects – the iPad app is great. For more elaborate projects where quality is paramount and more complicated editing and special effects are necessary – use iMovie on an iMac or MacBook.
While I have no experience with it, you may want to try WeVideo for Android.