Back To School: 50+ Fantasic Apps For High School Students | iPad.AppStorm

I know, I know. Another article listing a bunch of apps. But this one caught my eye because of some of the subject specific apps. On my list of apps to review from the list:

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.03.19 AMMolecules

Price: Free




Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.05.04 AM3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tool

Price: free




As well as a few of the English apps:

Literary Analysis Guide, Price: $4.99

SAT Vocab, Price: Free

And a Geography App:

Atlas by Collins, Price: $0.99

Check it out and let me know which app you would like to try!

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With school coming up just around the corner, it is important to have all the tools you might possibly need for the next school year. Nowadays, many students

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rAPPido Review: Erudio Pro

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 9.46.00 AM



Although I reviewed the free version of Erudio last year, I thought I would give the paid version another chance after I read some of the new features:

              What’s New in Version 1.5

– Adds daily digest—Erudio will now automatically notify you every day of your tasks and assignments that are due today, due tomorrow, and overdue
– Improvements to calendar sync—you can now choose to sync your tasks and holidays in addition to your courses
– Tasks are now due at a time of day in addition to being due on a date.
– Reminders can now be set relative to the due date of a task (e.g. 30 minutes before due)
– Various improvements to the Erudio settings interface
– Numerous bugfixes

I was especially interested to the second point : “Improvements to calendar sync”. Could it be that I finally found an app that gave you a weekly view of your assignments, not only of your schedule?

Colour me intrigued…

Although I like the simple, warm interface, with the quaint cursive and the wood panelled background, it still took me a while to figure out why the calendar was showing stuff from last year. I finally figured out that it was still using the semester I inputted last year for the purpose of reviewing it. So the first thing I did was click on the graduation cap icon on the left hand side and changed the winter semester to 2014:

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That was easy! So back to the default screen which is accessible via the checklist icon.

When you first enter the app, this is the first thing you see:

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To see your calendar events you tap the red dot:

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 9.01.45 AM


Ok. So far, I haven’t inputted any extra data. Everything on my calendar has been synced with my iCal and Gmail calendars. To choose which calendars you view in Erudio, go to settings (the gear icon)–>Calendar Sync–> and choose your calendars:

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 9.05.38 AM


Now let’s populate our app once again. I am going to use a typical grade seven schedule. I already have the winter semester plugged, so now I am going to add some classes:

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Erudio doesn’t allow for a 2 week schedule so it would not be useful to you use it for class schedules. Although this is not as important as keeping track of the homework, as the students have their schedules in other places, it would have been nice.

However, you can’t have a course without a section apparently, so that is kind of annoying…I want to simply add the courses so that I can colour code my assignments. Okay- so I tried adding sections to PE- this is how it would look:

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 9.20.02 AM



Not ideal…

Okay, now I am going to add an assignment. In my settings, I chose to sync it up with my calendar:

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Now, this I like. Simple, and intuitive, with the ability to set your reminders at a specific time, date as well as set repeats until the assignment is due:

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 9.24.22 AM


When you go back to the default view of the timeline, you can very clearly that there is one task due this week:

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 9.29.39 AM


And voilà! The task appears in the calendar view as well:

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 9.31.12 AM


However, you will also notice that my PE classes are showing up. This is annoying because Erudio doesn’t allow us to have an every other week schedule so both week 1 and week 2 schedules are showing up.

Let’s see how it stacks up with our criteria:

  • Easy and quick to use: (0/2)

Although it is really easy to use once you get the hang of it, you have to get the hang of it. Also the fact that they require you to add sections to your courses and that they don’t allow for a 2 week schedule is a major problem.

  • Clean, intuitive interface: (2/2)

Yes. The interface feels warm and welcoming, is simple, uncluttered and user-friendly.

  • Different views (daily, weekly, monthly) of all assignments:(2/3)

Out of all the apps, I like the default view the best. It gives you your weeks in a line with the number of tasks due that week. If you want to go more in detail, you simply tap the week.In this view you can even see the whole semester. The weekly view however is in list format. It would be nice if you could see it in an actual calendar view.

Different colours for different classes:(1/1)

Yes! It was very pretty.

  • Alerts for assignments (1/1)

Yes, the alerts lets you choose when you want to be reminded- a day before, etc. It also allows you to add repeat reminders which is awesome.

  • If not free, then cheap (2/2)

Yes. The upgraded version is only $2.99

  • Easily synced with your other devices: (3/3)

Yes- you can sync Erudio with iCloud and you can import your iCal calendars and your subscribed calendars into the app.

Result: 11/14

 Erudio has some very nice features, all of which are overshadowed by the limitations to the course schedules. And although they have gone the farthest in letting us add assignments to our calendar list view, I would like it if they went even farther and let us have an actual weekly calendar view, for those students who need to have a visual of their week.

Digital Citizenship Exploration

A spectacular Digital Citizenship lesson plan for Grade 7 students from Langwitches.  I especially like the model where they students are asked to write what they think they know about Digital citizenship before they look at certain videos and discuss ideas. Then at the end, they are asked to write how their view changed.

I am definitely going to use that in our next session!

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Our 7th grade students are exploring the concept of digital citizenship in their advisory classes (unfortunately only three- 30 minute classes). Below you will find the slide deck with lesson progr…

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3 Ways To Use Data In The Classroom – Edudemic

When I first clicked on this article I thought they were going to talk about the propensity of open data available to us in this fabulous digital age. I thought it was going to be an article on how to use statistics in the classroom.

Boy, was I wrong.

The data they are talking about is the kind that you collect in real time from your students using a quiz tool like Socrative. I have talked about this subject before, but lately I have seen some renewed interest in this subject- a teacher came to me last week asking about a good tool for this purpose.

The author of the article below makes a very good case for using these tools to gage the level of understanding of her students, or taking a poll and asking them what they feel they need to work on. As a 1:1 school, this tool is particularly appropriate as each student can use their devices and reply to the quiz. Their answers are hidden from their classmates (which hopefully translates into more honest) and the report is immediate which means that it will be very evident who is not understanding and intervention can happen right away.

I would be interested to hear from any teachers who have used an online, interactive quiz tool with their students. Let me know!

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

The phrase “using data to drive instruction” is showing up everywhere in education circles lately. Particularly with the incorporation of the Common Core State Standards.

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rAPPido Review: iStudiez Pro

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 9.57.11 AMLast year I reviewed the light version of Istudiez Pro. Even with the light version, it clearly had a lot of options that were very useful for us. So I decided to splurge and pay the $2.99 to try out the paid version.

The difference between the lite version and the pro version is that the lite version limits you to:

– 1 semester
– 5 courses
– 15 classes/exams per course
– 15 assignments
– 5 instructors
– 2 holiday periods


But for the low price of $2.99 you can have (I am assuming) unlimited semesters, etc. For this review, I thought it would be good to pretend I was a student,so I have shamelessly stolen my daughter’s schedule. I did this instead of using a generic student because I have a calendar of her extra curriculars in my iCal, and the great thing about Istudiez pro is that you can sync your calendars to the app.

The first thing I did after buying the app was to go into settings–>calendar and choose the calendars I wanted to appear in my homework app. This included my personal calendar as well as the feeds I subscribe to from the school’s web calendar:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 9.58.27 AM


Students can subscribe to their class feeds for  exams and large projects as well. Then I wanted to see if you could create assignments without creating courses, etc.:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.04.31 AM


This is important as some girls will not want to add all the infrastructure (eg. semester, classes schedule, instructor) which they would have to do by hand. They have this information in many other places so it might not be necessary.

Having said that, some girls will want to be as organized as possible. So I timed myself to see how long it took  to add my daughter’s semester, classes and teachers:

Adding the semester (about 1 minute):

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.09.59 AM


Okay- it took me about two minutes to figure out where I can add my courses. Starting at 10:12 am.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.17.04 AM


It took me about five minutes to add my classes. Once again, students could stop here. They have their schedules usually screenshotted on their iPad so do not necessarily need to add their schedule into the app.  But let’s pretend I am a keener and want all my info in one place. Will the app be able to deal with our weird 2 week schedule? Let us see!

It took me about five minutes to add the PE schedule:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.27.50 AM


Because we have a 2 week schedule, I had to be careful to begin the semester for the Week 2 classes on January 12, instead of January 6 so that the schedule would be accurate. As you can see, it is pretty time-consuming and probably not necessary, but very doable. Here is how it looks like in calendar view:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.32.29 AM


Now I have noticed that the assignments don’t show up in the calendar view. Dots show up on the small calendar to notify you that you have something due, but it does not show up in the calendar view. It is possible to add a new event on the calendar:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.59.46 AM


But then they wouldn’t be in Assignments…

The day view allows you to see your schedule as well as the assignments due:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.03.17 AM


It also gives you the ability to add either an event on your schedule or another assignment on the day. With assignments, you can choose when you want to be alerted of the due date:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.05.08 AM


It is possible to either import your teacher’s contact information by allowing istudiez to access your contacts. I did this and it too me about one second. But I am assuming the student would not already have the teacher in their contacts:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.09.25 AM


There is also a grade tracker which we will ignore- students can or cannot explore this option on their own.

Our conclusion?

  • Easy and quick to use: (2/2)

Yes, depending on how many things you want to input into the planner. If you want to input your whole schedule, it will take you some time but it is do-able and pretty easy, if a little onerous. But if you are happy with simply adding classes and assignments, it won’t take you very much time at all!

  • Clean, intuitive interface: (2/2)

Yes. I really like the default interface, which is the daily view. On what side you have your schedule, and on the other side you have the assignments due that day. It is clean and very helpful.

  • Different views (daily, weekly, monthly) of all assignments:(1/3)

And once again, here is where the app lets us down. There is a daily view of both schedules and assignments, but the weekly view is only what has been put into the calendar, not the assignments due. Although we can see when we have something due by the little dots on the monthly view, it doesn’t get more specific than that.

  • Different colours for different classes:(1/1)

Yes! It was very pretty.

  • Alerts for assignments (1/1)

Yes, the alerts lets you choose when you want to be reminded- a day before, etc.However there is no repeat.

  • If not free, then cheap (2/2)

Yes. The upgraded version is only $2.99

  • Easily synced with your other devices: (3/3)

Yes- you can sync iStudiezpro with iCloud and you can import your iCal calendars and your subscribed calendars into the app.

Result: 12/14

Not bad, but the inability to get a nice visual of your assignments due in a week is still a problem. I wonder if the Istudiez pro would consider making adding assignments to the calendar as an option? If so, it would get a 14/14!


rAppido Review: The HW App

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 9.31.14 AMToday I begin to review the homework agendas. I had a little setback, as I was going to start with the ones reviewed in the article I posted the other day only to find out that many of them were either no longer available, or not available in Canada.

Fine then. Be that way stilly app store.

So I resorted to typing in “homework” on the app store and choosing one that caught my eye. The first one I tried was The Homework App. There is a free version, which means you’ll get ads and an upgraded version for a U.S. dollar, which means there are no ads and a few added features, including one that I am particularly excited about, sub-tasks.

The clean, block like interface caught my eye. This is how it looks like when you open it:

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 9.34.12 AM

To begin you tap the + sign in the upper right corner. It will take you automatically to adding a task:

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 9.36.15 AM

When you tap on the subject heading, you can then add all of your subjects, colour coding them of course!

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 9.37.58 AM

And here is the part I really like, the sub tasks! Say you have a big project due, like an English essay or ahem, a science fair project. You can have your own big task and then list all of the little steps inside that big task:

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 10.09.34 AM

Of course the only problem with this is that you cannot set a reminder for each of the due dates of the sub tasks. Nor can you repeat a reminder on the actual task, unlike the built-in reminders app on the iPad.

You can also add a classification to your task. Eg. Is it an exam, essay, etc.?:

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 10.12.45 AM

Hmmm. As I wrote this, the app closed on me and it deleted everything I just did. That is worrisome…

Here is how a completed task looks like:

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 10.17.09 AM

Here is how it looks when you have several tasks to complete:

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 10.26.53 AM

Where this app fails spectacularly is in the calendar option. It is a built-in calendar and does not sync with iCal or google. But most importantly, it doesn’t really work.  It says to pinch out to zoom, but I’ve tried and tried and the thing won’t budge. I have had to tap several times to be able to move forward. Although there is a dot below the date when an assignment is due, that’s about it. There is no broad view of what the upcoming week looks like:

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 10.23.47 AMIt is also very messy, like there is some sort of glitch in the system, so maybe it would be worth to come back and check out the calendar at a later date.

So. How does The Homework app stack up to our criteria?

  • Easy and quick to use: (2/2)

Yes. The Homework app is simple to use. It was as easy as reminders, even a little more easy. Adding subjects and classifications was also a nice touch.

  • Clean, intuitive interface: (2/2)

Yes. Lovely, simple and elegant interface. Not too crowded and not too many bells and whistles. It is as intuitive as finding the + sign and adding your tasks.

  • Different views (daily, weekly, monthly) of all assignments:(0/3)

Epic fail. Although you can sort your tasks by due date or by subject or by importance, the only view is a list of tasks. The calendar app should have addressed this but it didn’t work very well. All I could see was a cursory monthly view.

  • Different colours for different classes:(1/1)

Yes! It was very pretty.

  • Alerts for assignments (.5/1)

Yes, though there were no repeat options on the tasks and you could not add a due date to the sub-tasks.

  • If not free, then cheap (2/2)

Yes. The free version is pretty good though you cannot add sub-tasks and the upgraded version is only a dollar.

  • Easily synced with your other devices: (0/3)

No. It doesn’t sync with anything which is a major drawback. I think they are making an upgraded version that will cost $2/year that will allow you to sync with all your devices, but it hasn’t happened yet. This is something you can only use on your iPad.

Result: 7.7/14

Code Club: First Meeting a Success!

Last Thursday we had our first meeting of the Coding Club (hopefully we can find a better name for it). A dozen students came to the library after school as well as three teachers who wanted to learn how to code. 

Maja Frydrychowicz, a computer science teacher at a local Cegep, generously donated her time to get us started. She began by showing us how a whole block of code looks like by running a program she developed that demonstrated how cells would react in a petrie dish. She ran the program once and then changed just one line of code and ran the program again. What we saw on the screen was completely different. This was a great way of showing the students how every little bit counts. She also emphasized that programming is one of the most social kinds of work (contrary to popular belief)- most programs are written by a group of people in constant communication. She also warned them that it can get frustrating and that there is a lot of trial and error in programming, so not to get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away.

Then she showed us Scratch and we paired up to work on a few of the challenges she set for us. She concluded with a take home challenge of making a labyrinth for our cartoon cat in Scratch. The hour went by very quickly, with many people staying on to work on their projects.

This week we are going to continue where we left off. There are also a few students who have their own projects they would like to work on – Maja will be around again this Thursday and is very willing to share her expertise!

Below is an article about some amazing youth innovators to get us more inspired!

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Here are 10 youth innovators, from ages seven to 15, particularly worth noting and working on projects ranging from games to anti-bullying apps.

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rAppido Review: Curator

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 10.06.00 AMI received an email this morning from our lovely art teacher who had discovered the perfect app to help her with an upcoming research project. First of all, thank you Ms. Art teacher for letting me know about Curator – it is simple, elegant and extremely user-friendly.

It is essentially a visual bookmarking system, where you can save images, text or websites. In terms of an art project where the students must find images from a certain era or genre, it would be perfect. It is a little like Pinterest, but made specifically for the iPad and, in my opinion, with a cleaner, more intuitive interface.

There is a free version which allows you to make up to five boards but if you want to create a 6th you must pay the $6.99. 

I decided to try one out by making a board about vintage dresses. First I searched the internet for the images I wanted, then saved them to my camera roll. Then I double tapped one of the grey squares in the board:

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 10.13.38 AM


The magnifying glass searches the web for you and when you find a website you want to add all you have to do is leave the square while you are still in that website. The text is a little small to be useful in terms of a screenshot, but it would be possible to use one square for an image and the adjacent square for an annotation. One would need to zoom in to see the text though.

Gradually I populated my board:

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 10.11.24 AM


You can annotate your images, which, for an art history project is very valuable.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 10.15.10 AMYou also have the option to mail the photo, but it doesn’t mail the annotation.

The downside to this app, and it is a considerable one, is that there is no way to share your board. You can present it via projector (I myself am using air server to screenshot the images on my desktop, but you cannot share it. In terms of grading students work (if that is indeed your goal) it would be very hard to do so without physically taking the students’ iPads.

However, if the goal is to have your students project the app and present their research, than this would be a very easy, aesthetically pleasing way to do it.