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As of June, 2014 there are more than a million apps available for the iPad (and iPhone), thousands of which can effectively support teaching and learning in university courses. 

Because of the huge number of iPad apps available, this Tip Sheet will only attempt to convey the range and kinds of apps by listing some representative ones:

Making Screencasts

  • Explain Everything. Explain Everything lets you make screencasts on your mobile device. You import whatever visuals you want to feature in your screencast (photos, charts, PDFs, PowerPoint slides) and then record yourself narrating as you annotate those visuals with sketches, text, or call outs. An example of a simple screencast made with Explain Everything is here
  • Nearpod. Nearpod allows you to "broadcast" a presentation from your mobile device (such as an iPhone or iPod) to your students' mobile devices. You control when the next chunk of content appears on their screen, in real time. Here's a brief video on Nearpod
Document Annotation
  • iAnnotate. iAnnotate allows you to use your mobile device to annotate PDFs. Some instructors use iAnnotate during class as a presentation tool: they write and jot on the PDFs on their mobile device while at the same time projecting it onto a classroom screen. Other instructors use iAnnotate to grade their students' assignments: they prefer marking digital assignments to paper ones. Of particular note is iAnnotate's audio note feature, described in this brief video

Text Content

  • Kindle. Kindle is one of many apps for reading eBooks. It displays the text in a pleasing and readable manner, allows the user to change the font size, and allows the user to add annotations. 

Audio and Video Content

  • Podcasts. Are audio or audio/video based content resources. 
  • iTunesU. 
  • Audible. Audible is a repository of audio books. 
Enhanced Content
  • Mobile Academy. Mobile Academy provides brief "courses" in a variety of topics, employing a question format to keep users interested. 
  • Epocrates. Epocrates is a medical reference app for physicians. Here's a video overview of Epocrates. 

  • The Elements. The Elements merges visual animations with text-based content pertaining to the elements of the periodic table. 
Interactive Content
  • Starwalk. Starwalk is an astronomy program that shows the stars, planets, and more in whatever direction you point your mobile device. 
  • Leafsnap. Leafsnap allows you to take a photo of a leaf, which the app will then identify for you. Here's a brief video overview of Leafsnap. 
  • Molecules. Molecules provides access to a database of thousands of molecules which the app renders in 3D on your screen. You can rotate and zoom in on the molecule. 
  • Brain Tutor. Brain Tutor is a 3D rendering of the human brain which you can rotate and zoom in on. You can also highlight certain regions of the brain, with information about those regions being displayed. 
  • Google Earth. Google Earth is a map of the Earth based on satellite images of the planet's surface. You can zoom in on features, and apply different "layers" to the topography. 
Managing Information
Productivity Tools
  • Dragon Dictation. Dragon Dictation is a speech-to-text app. 
  • Evolvo. Evolvo is a text-to-speech app. 
  • Outread. Outread is a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation too. 
  • Dictate. Dictate (formerly known ad Dictamus) records audio, but only does so when audio is present: for example, if you are brainstorming in your office, you can turn on Dictate, and it will record what you speak -- but it won't record the silences between your thoughts. Thus, a 20-minute session of brainstorming might actually end up being just four minutes of actual audio. 
  • Penultimate. Penultimate is an app for taking handwritten notes or for sketching. It can be used with the Adonit stylus to facilitate fine control of the lines. Here is a brief video overview of Penultimate being used with an Adonit stylus. 

Educational Games

  • QuizUp. Is a trivia game that uses the techniques of gamification to keep players interested. 

Augmented Reality

  • Layar. Layar allows users to use their iPhones to overlay onto the real world additional data. Here's part of a Ted Talk about Layar and augmented reality. And here's a video showing some examples of Layar in use. 

Online File Storage

Communication and Social Media
  • Hootsuite. Hootsuite makes it easier to track various Twitter feeds, and other social media feeds. 
  • Skype. Allows you to make voice calls or video calls for less expense than the phone. 

teaching tipsThis Creative Commons license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon our work non-commercially, as long as they credit us and indicate if changes were made. Use this citation format: iPad Apps. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo.