The 10.5″ iPad Pro is my favorite technology device. I know that it’s expensive, especially if you add the excellent keyboard and pencil, and that is why Apple revised their iPad to have the ability to take advantage of the pencil, however the iPad Pro is what technology should be. It’s light and portable, it has a fairly large screen, it has a flexible operating system (one that could stand some more Jobsian attention to detail but a good one nonetheless), and it has accessories that fully complement it. It
is, should be, the future of technology in education.
Side note: I think the greatest educational technology commercial ever created is the one with the young girl and the iPad Pro, “What’s a Computer?” There is so much good stuff packed in a one minute commercial that it should be considered a work of art. But that’s a subject for another post (although if you haven’t seen it, take that one minute and watch it).
One of the greatest things about iOS is the app ecosystem. Not only do we have access to over 2 million apps (although I would debate whether that’s a good thing or not) but those apps are curated by Apple and therefore, at least on some level, we can trust that they only do what they say they do and not some other nefarious function(s). Due to the nature of my job, I have a lot of apps on my iPhone and iPad. As of right now, I have 436 apps on my iPhone and 214 on my iPad. Clearly I don’t use all those apps every day and some I haven’t opened in years months. But, I wanted to take some time and think about my favorite educational apps and share that list with you.
Fantastical ($9.99) – My favorite, natural language calendar app. Works with Apple, Exchange, and Google calendars. It is fairly expensive though and it’s only for the iPad. If you want it on your iPhone as well you have to spring for another $4.99.
Pocket Schedule Planner (free/$.199 pro) – Good academic planner. Includes the ability to add your classes and for each class you can add assignments, tasks, projects, and exams. This is a universal app so it works on the iPad and/or on the iPhone. You can create an account and sync the information between devices.
Microsoft OneNote (free) – I can put this app both in organization and note taking. It’s a great app that is available for free as a web app, a computer app or an iOS or Android app. On the iPad you can type your notes or you can write them with the Apple Pencil or a stylus. I use it to organize my notes for the classes I take as well as any committee work that I have to do. I use it to take notes in class and I use it to take notes from my readings. I can take pictures of PowerPoints or things written on the board and it will automatically crop them and insert them. I use it to take notes during meetings and I use it to import documents and minutes for each committee. It’s an app that I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone regardless of operating system or student status.
GoodNotes ($7.99) – Good note taking app that also converts handwriting into text. Good handwriting recognition but not the best (see below). It provides a large gamut of paper templates and the handwritten notes are indexed and searchable. Also allows for handwritten PDF annotations. You can also type your notes. It only works on iOS.
MyScript Nebo ($5.99) – In my opinion, the best handwriting recognition app on the store. In addition to English it offers a variety of other languages as well. It also recognizes math. In addition to handwriting, you can also type your notes. As it stands right now you only have one paper type template which is a drawback compared to some of the other apps out there. It’s also the only one in this list that only works on the iPad and not the iPhone but it also has a Windows 10 version and an Android version.
Notability ($9.99) – The only one on my list of note taking apps that records the audio at the same time you’re taking notes. It correlates the notes with the audio so if you need to hear what was being said when you took a specific note, you tap on it and it plays back the audio. You can type or handwrite your notes. They also have a MacOS version but no Windows and no Android.
LiquidText (free/$4.99 – $24.99 for pro versions) – My favorite annotation app. You can import PDFs and other documents as well as webpages. You can handwrite/type notes, you can highlight and extract passages, you can link notes to each other and places in the text, you can tap on an excerpt and be brought to the original source. You can save notes/annotations as text files or save a PDF with your entire “workspace.” You can pinch a document and only view the passages you highlighted. It only works on the iPad and has no other OS versions.
Voice Dream Reader ($14.99) –
Well, that’s my list as it stands right now. What about you? What are your favorite educational apps? What do you think about the iPad/iPad Pro?