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Finding Apps and Staying Current with iPad and Android

So most of us have read articles that list “The 10 Best Apps for…” or “My Favorite Apps to…” There are hundreds out there, many listed in my list of bookmarks (so what do you call a list of lists?) Several sessions here at the ISTE Conference provide great suggestions for apps (e.g. What’s Your App? Finding Real Solutions with Today’s Applications with resources listed at: http://anappforthat.yolasite.com). But how do we stay current on the latest apps after the conference? And more importantly, when schools implement more tablet technologies and more educators acquire smartphones, where do we direct them to find the right apps on their own? Certainly not iTunes,  Android Market, or Amazon Appstore–using these stores to find apps for specific needs can be very frustrating.

Apps for Finding Apps

Two apps I recommend as a must for mobile device users: AppShopper for iOS and AppBrain App Market for Android. With half a million plus apps between the two platforms, you need tools to filter, and that’s what these two apps deliver. You can filter by category, education for example (but don’t limit yourself to this category–most of my favorite apps to use with schools would not necessarily fall in that category). You can also filter by “New” which can help you keep tabs on new releases. You can also filter by “Free” if your budget is particularly tight (or your spouse has complained about your app bill).

There is even a filter for you bargain shoppers out there: Price Change or Price Reduced. That’s right, you can see what’s on sale. For example, if you filter Education–>Free–>Price Change,  you find that McGraw-Hill’s Everyday Math series of apps are temporarily free during this conference (smart marketing for them, great opportunity for us to preview. They also did this during the NCTM conference earlier this year, and while I did not attend the conference, I did find the deal on AppShopper). I have been amazed at how often apps are reduced in price. By checking in occasionally, you can find some useful software on the cheap.

Bargain searchers will also love that Amazon Appstore gives away a different Android app each day for free. Some are not terribly useful, but often you can find a gem being given away.  Two more honorable mentions for apps to find software: AppZapp for iOS and Chomp for Android.

Education App Resources

One of the most useful resource for educational apps is IEAR– Education Apps Review This site provides useful reviews of apps geared for educators. Also this great article from Web2.0Classroom blog provides this and several other great resources:

Quick List Of iPad Resources For The Classroom


Staying Current in Mobile Tech

There are several podcasts for keeping up with current mobile technology issues and apps. The Twit.tv network has two weekly programs: iPad Today and All About Android. Revision3.com produces AppJudgment which reviews apps for both Android and iOS. Adam Curry’s Big App Show was originally iOS only, but now has Android. You can download an app for watching his daily video reviews. I find all these programs invaluable for staying current.

There are a large number of web news sites on iPad and Android–here are a few to get you started

Resource for Professional Development

As more schools, incorporate mobile tech in their classrooms, it is crucial we give educators these types of tools (and skills) to find the apps to meet their needs and stay current. As technology advocates and trainers,  our PD needs to do more than just demonstrate hardware capabilities and a few apps. It is incumbent on us to move teachers to the next level with the self-sustaining ability to search and find the right tools for their classrooms in the moment of need.

I hope you find this post and my other ISTE post “How to Use Web 2.0 Toolbars in iPad Browsersuseful–if so, please spread the word. Feel free to comment with other resources I may have missed. You can follow me on Twitter @lsinrc.

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