3 Great iPad Apps for annotating PDF documents


One of the most underused features of the iPad is the ability to both read and annotate e-books and PDF documents.  This is a really useful tool for teachers and students who are using their iPad for research.

These three apps allow you to use your iPad to highlight digital documents and hopefully save some unnecessary storage and printing.

iAnnotate PDF

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by Branchfire, Inc.

iAnnotate PDF offers complete control over PDFs, but the trade off is learning how to use it. Although the app has a User Guide, it has so many buttons and options that it takes more effort than many of the other apps to use, and much more to master. If you’re willing to put in the effort, iAnnotate is very customizable and will likely fulfill your needs. iAnnotate includes several notable features, including the ability to convert any document to a PDF.

PDFpen for iPad

by SmileOnMyMac, LLC

PDFpen for iPad is the highly-anticipated iPad version of the popular Mac application of the same name. Although the app is new, it has an intuitive UI, a full complement of features, and syncs via iCloud to companion Mac apps. PDFpen offers the most functionality of any app for modifying the original PDF, including the ability to delete or modify its text and images or even create a new PDF. The app is also the only one to implement freehand highlighting in a way that preserves the clarity of the original text, and offers a group of helpful editing ”stamps,” the ability to make new stamps (e.g., a signature), and text expander integration. In fact, PDFpen is so easy to use that it's almost fun. The only negative is that PDFpen occasionally crashes, but the autosave feature ensures no work is lost.

Adobe Reader

by Adobe

Although Adobe Reader is the “official” PDF app, Adobe was late to the AppStore party and only recently updated its app to include annotation capabilities. Despite the delay, Adobe Reader is still a good app, and by far the best free option for PDF annotation. Adobe Reader isn’t limited in any way, and allows users to add “sticky notes” (with the ability to mark yourself as the author), free-hand drawing, and signatures. However, the app has some very significant detriments: (1) it does not allow you to add text outside of a note, (2) no cloud connectivity (users can only import files via iOS’s “open in” function), and (3) no undo or redo (it is possible to delete annotations manually). Despite these minuses, Adobe Reader will likely be enough for many people, or at least a good introduction to the world of PDF annotation.

iPad & Android apps for Autisitc Children

I came across this from watching 60 minutes last night and there may well be others intersted in it.  The full story can be found here.

Imagine not being able to communicate with your own child, never knowing what they're thinking or how they feel.

That's what life's like every day for the parents of severely autistic children. And it's just as distressing for the kids who have no way of expressing themselves and often lash out in frustration.

But finally, there's a way. Just as computer apps have revolutionised our lives, they're also changing how autistic children interact with their world.

Now they're truly connecting with their mums and dads for the first time.

And if you think that's remarkable, consider this: world first technology has made it possible for doctors to see how autism affects the brain, providing hope that we'll one day find a cure to this most mysterious of conditions.


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Apps:





Speak for Yourself

Tobii Sono Flex

AAC apps to start on

Gabby Tabs

Simplified Touch

Educational Apps:

The iMums

Smart App for Kids

Apps for Home Schooling

Appy Store

5 great iPad apps to help kids read


Reading is not the most straightforward skill to teach young children.  There is a great deal to it in terms of constructing sounds, understanding grammar and finally comprehending what is actually being read.

Finding relevant material can often be tough to find and many students choose to watch television and play video games over reading as it perceived as boring.

That is why the iPad is an excellent resource to help get kids enthused about reading and also offer a huge range of traditional and multimedia based texts to select.

Below I have listed some apps that will definitely appeal to younger kids and also offer a genuine learning opportunity for them to improve their reading skills.

Rock 'n Learn Phonics Easy Reader

Rock 'n Learn Phonics Easy Reader, priced at $1.99, helps children develop their reading skills through three phonics stories. The stories can be read to the child or she can sound out the words and read the story. If the child needs some extra help with figuring out a word, she can click on the word for assistance. Rock 'n Learn Phonics Easy Reader focuses on developing pronunciation of short vowel sounds, consonant-vowel-consonant combinations and words ending with ll, ss, ff, s, and plural s.

Bob Books #1 - Reading Magic

Bob Books #1 - Reading Magic is an excellent introduction to phonics for young children, or a nice companion to the printed Bob Books (a systematic method of teaching kids to read). Since you can either control the difficulty level or set it to Automatic, this app will grow with your learning child, and keep their interest as they read and re-read the sentences on each page. The artwork is simple, just as in the printed Bob Books, but the added elements of color and animation are well done and attractive.

Smiley Sight Words (Ages 4+; iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch; $0.99)

If you're seeking a set of virtual flash cards with which to drill your child on reading common words, Smiley Sight Words might be the best you can get. It's got over 1,500 words, arranged into five decks, each with multiple levels of difficulty. Kids can interact with the words, tapping to hear them aloud and marking them with either a smiley or frowny face. They can also shuffle the deck with a shake of the device. Parents have a lot of control here, with the ability to track progress, remove already-mastered words, and even create a custom deck. Up to five kids can each have his or her own profile on the app.

TouchyBooks. Quirky sounds, animation, and flip-book usability offer a realistic experience and a touch of magic for toddlers and tweens. Use the easy star voting system to rate your favorites on this multilingual platform

The Story Mouse Talking Books

Do you remember all those wonderful stories we grew up with? Now they're here, retold with bags of character for your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. But the tale is only half the story! All our titles come with bright, colourful illustrations to complete the listening and reading experience, with lots of fun along the way.

★ Stories from The Story Mouse are presented as virtual books.

Our professional presenter reads the story aloud as the text appears.

On the iPad, each page has an illustration on the left, with the text on the right. On the iPhone and iPod touch, the illustrations are displayed full screen when you hold the device vertically. Turn the device horizontally to display the text.

Sentences are highlighted as the story progresses, making the words easy to follow.

We would love to hear of any other recommendations you might have.

2 Solutions to writing lesson Plans on the iPad

Every week there seems to be some new teaching apps for mobile devices but not a great deal of them are aimed at writing lesson plans.  These two iOS apps aim to cover this area of the market.


GoClass is a free iOS app and website that allows teachers to create lesson plans, annotate images, and more.  Also, the app interacts w/ the website to allow for student assessment while interacting w/ student devices in real-time.  Students can learn at their own pace w/ GoClass while interacting w/ the lessons and images.


iLesson Plans

Why carry lots of paper lesson plans around with when you can have all your notes on your iPad!

iLesson Plans not only allows you to create detailed Lesson Plans whilst on the move you can also:

•Keep a daily planner of which lesson are for which period
•Keep track of Classes
•Keep track of each Pupil
•Export your Lesson in PDF or Word Format
•Save your lesson plans to iTunes
•Save your Lesson Plans to Dropbox
•Send your Lesson Plans Via Email
•Add Hyperlinks to your Lesson Plans and open them on your iPad.
•Use Airplay to Mirror your lesson plans to the computer*
•App data backed up to iCloud (You can use multiple iPads)

iLesson Plans is suitable for any teacher from Primary to Universities.  Access it here.

5 Apps Your Students Are Using When You’re Not Looking

This is a great excerpt by Susan Davis @ gettingsmart.com about apps that students are using to learn.

So, Dick (now he prefers to be called Rich) and Jane are upstairs in their bedrooms, supposedly doing their homework. But you suspect they are doing what they usually do, chatting in Facebook, browsing friends’ Tumblr posts, or looking for funny cat videos on Youtube. Think again.

Students these days are discovering their own applications and tools to enhance their learning online. I’ve learned about some of these tools from my students themselves, as well as through the teenager grapevine. Not only do these applications reveal to us that students are discovering ways to use social media and web tools for more than entertainment, but they tell us something about our kids’ needs in an online environment.

App #1: Anti-Social

A senior at my husband’s school recommends this tool for anyone who has serious work to do and needs to avoid getting sucked into conversations on social media. Basically, for $15 (a free trial is available), you can set a timer and Anti-Social locks you out of Twitter, Facebook, and other distractions you may select. The only way you can get back into these sites is to reboot your computer, and by then you have time to talk yourself out of checking your Google+, and back into doing your U.S. History homework. A similar site for both Mac and PC users is Freedom ($10).

Click here for the entire article

The best iPad apps for special needs kids

This article from the Washington Post looks at the better apps avaialable to help students with special needs.  

Written by Joan L. Green, a speech-language pathologist in Potomac and the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education,” she shares some of her favoriteiPad apps for kids with special needs. 

Read the article here.

Top iPad & iPhone Apps for Teachers in 2012

It has been a little while since we did a comprehensive round-up for our iOS users seeking great teaching apps to help them in and out of the classroom.  So here are 16 apps that will really make a difference to your productivity for 2012.

Please note that we have not included prices on these apps any more as they change so frequently it is almost impossible to keep up with.  If you click on the links you will find the latest pricing direct from iTunes.

Classroom Management

TeacherPal - TeacherPal is a personal organizer for the teacher. It enables the teacher to organize classes, and students. Its simple and intuitive interface enables teachers to track the attendance, grades and behavior of students.

Cam Scanner + - CamScanner is a must-have application for your iPhone. With CamScanner, your iPhone is actually a portable scanner, with which all your paper documents, receipts, notes, whiteboard discussions can be archived anywhere at anytime. Our Smart Image cropping and Image enhancement algorithm ensures the scanned images perfectly clear and recognizable. With OCR technology, text within PDF files will be searchable.

Wunderlist - The Wunderlist mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch will boost your productivity. Organize your to-do lists on the go and synchronize them with your free Wunderlist account. View and modify your tasks on Windows, Mac, Linux,iPad, Android and the Web. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide use Wunderlist everyday. Wunderlist - your tasks anywhere, anytime.

Curricula Support

School A to Z - Do you struggle to understand your child's homework? Does your child need to practise their spelling and times tables? Are you looking for inspiration for projects and assignments?

The School A to Z app is an essential tool for every parent of school-aged children. Produced by the NSW Department of Education and Communities, the School A to Z app brings together a wealth of resources to help parents to understand and support their child's homework.

Brainpop Featured Movie App - Bring learning to your fingertips™ with the BrainPOP® Featured Movie app for the iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch®. Watch a different animated movie every day, then test your new knowledge with an interactive quiz – free!

For even more access to BrainPOP’s award-winning content, choose an optional in-app subscription and enable kids to explore more than 750 Science, Math, Social Studies, English, Engineering & Tech, Arts & Music, and Health subjects right on their mobile devices. All movies are close captioned, so it’s easy for them to read along.

Pictello - Pictello is a simple way to create talking photo albums and talking books. Each page in a Pictello Story can contain a picture, up to five lines of text, and a recorded sound or text-to-speech using high-quality voices. Stories can be shared using iTunes File Sharing or via WiFi with other Pictello users through a free account on the Pictello Sharing Server. Stories can be shared with non-Pictello users as PDF files through email or iTunes File Sharing.

Is developed for all ages and skill levels, so it is easy to use and requires no reading skills to locate and read stories. Pictello offers an easy visual story creation wizard so everyone can use pictures and sound to share important moments in their lives. An advanced editor gives full control of the editing capabilities.

Flashcards - Flashcardlet is a free, easy-to-use studying application with material for any class or standardized test. You can also create and share your own. It is the best way to study on any iOS device.

Other flashcard apps can't handle large decks, deck sharing, images, intuitive gestures, or even manage to show nice looking cards. Flashcardlet feels like a real deck of flashcards and does not get in your way.

Collaboratively creating and sharing study material does not get easier than Flashcardlet. You can email your flashcard decks or share them using Dropbox.

Flashcardlet allows you to search for, study, and make local edits to Quizlet.com flashcards. Any subject you can think of already has a Quizlet flashcard set that is perfect for studying.

From grade school to law school, Flashcardlet is the perfect studying tool for any subject.

Instructional Tools

Mindnode - MindNode is a very easy and intuitive application for collecting, organizing and
outlining your thoughts and ideas as mind maps.

Mind maps can be used for many different tasks (e.g. to-do lists, brainstorming, holiday planning, research, writing, project management...)
and in many different environments (e.g. school, meetings, working place...).

MindNode makes creating mind maps on the iPhone and iPod touch extremely easy. You create new nodes directly on the canvas by dragging them out of the node well which appears as a plus sign next to a selected node.

Posterous - Posterous Spaces is the easiest way to share photos, video and ideas safely with family, friends and groups.

★ Easily control who you share with, every time.
★ Post anything – combine photos, video and text in seconds.
★ Follow friends and favorites, keeping up on their posts while commenting, liking and more on-the-go.
★ Create as many Spaces as you want (make them private or public.)
★ Automatically broadcast your public posts to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
★ Create a Space for your group in minutes, letting everyone involved contribute.

Stick Pick - Pick a student at random just by giving your device a shake or tapping the screen -- but that’s just the beginning. Stick Pick suggests question starters for learners at different levels and also records how well students respond during classroom discussions. If a student is consistently scoring near the top or bottom, simply change the level so students aren't bored or frustrated. Depending on students' levels of English proficiency, they might be asked simple yes-or-no questions or to elaborate in longer sentences.

Personal Organisation

Evernote - Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders--and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.

DropBox - Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your iPhone and iPad and even the Dropbox website! With the Dropbox app, you can take everything that matters to you on the go.

Read your docs or flip through your albums when you're out and about. Save photos or videos to your Dropbox and share them with friends in just a couple taps. Even if you accidentally leave your iPhone in a taxi, your stuff is always safe on Dropbox.

● Always have your stuff with you, no matter where you are.
● Add files to "Favorites" for fast, offline viewing.
● Easily save photos and videos to your Dropbox.
● Share your photos and docs with family and friends.
● Save email attachments straight to your Dropbox.

Go Docs for Google Docs - Use this app for both devises and I love it! It's my favorite app because with it I'm working with all my documents: I view all my spreadsheets, documents, PDFs images, video and audio files. All these files are stored on my devise so I can use it mush faster! And with this update app has folders support and it's great. Thanks for your work. And it's working so good - fast, without bugs. My conclusion - useful and extremely amazing app for everyone."


Articles -  Articles is a beautiful Wikipedia reader for your iPhone and iPod touch.

Articles makes it easy to read about whatever happens to be on your mind. With the integrated map feature, you can also learn about interesting places and historic events nearby with a single tap.

Articles’ award-winning design presents Wikipedia articles perfectly optimized for reading on your iPhone or iPod touch. A single tap in the search bar lets you find the article you need and start reading.

Wolfram Alpha - Remember the Star Trek computer? It's finally happening--with Wolfram|Alpha. Building on 25 years of development led by Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram|Alpha has rapidly become the world's definitive source for instant expert knowledge and computation.

Across thousands of domains--with more continually added--Wolfram|Alpha uses its vast collection of algorithms and data to compute answers and generate reports for you.

Parts of Wolfram|Alpha are used in the Apple Siri Assistant; this app gives you access to the full power of the Wolfram|Alpha computational knowledge engine. Domains covered by Wolfram|Alpha include:

2012 World Factbook - The World Factbook is the reliable and extremely popular source of information on all the nations of the world.
It provides up-to-date, valuable data for more than 250 countries and territories in a concise, well-organized format whenever and wherever you want.
The World Factbook also provides interesting chapters for our changing planet, oceans and parts of the world whose status has not yet been resolved (e.g., West Bank, Spratly Islands).
Topics addressed include natural resources, industries, GDP, religion, ethnic groups, legal system and much more. Key data are grouped under the headings of introduction/background, geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, transnational issues.
The World Factbook is a must-have application for those who possess a curiosity or concern about the rapidly changing world in which we live.

3 iPad apps to assist teaching mathematics


Featured in the recent iPad TV ad "Learn".

This is the best integer practice app or program I have found in 34 years of teaching math. - Tim Seiber, Math Teacher

MathBoard is a stunning app for teaching addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. The number of customization options available make this a brilliant app for making math fun for elementary school children. -www.androapple.com

MathBoard has charm without losing track of its fundamental purpose (Arithmetic drills). - MacWorld (4 out of 5 mice)

MathBoard is a fantastic math learning tool for your iPad. -- MathBoard is appropriate for all ages from kindergarten (with simple addition and subtraction problems) to elementary school where learning multiplication and division can be a challenge. You can control the range of numbers you want to work with, the amount of questions you want to answer and even assign a time limit per quiz. MathBoard will make learning math fun. 

MathBoard features:
- Random problem generation (up to 250 questions per quiz). 
- Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Squares, Cubes and Square Roots
- Number ranges are configurable from -9999 to 9999, including the ability to require certain numbers to be in each problem.
- Intelligent "wrong" answer generation makes guessing more difficult. Includes the ability to omit negative answers.
- A quiz can be timed, and timing can be set as a countdown timer or elapsed time.
- A quiz can be saved making it simple to replay a similar quiz or the same quiz at a later date.
- Wrong answers are reviewable with both the incorrect and correct answer visible (and equation displayed). You can even generate a quiz from just the wrong answers.
- Problem Solver for Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division will explain the required steps to solve these types of problems.
- Quick reference math tables for Addition, Subtraction and Multiplication.
- LanSchool EdApp certified.
- Supports VGA/HDMI/AirPlay Output.


Wolfram Alpha Algebra Assistant

Taking algebra? Then you need the Wolfram Algebra Course Assistant. This definitive app for algebra--from the world leader in math software--will help you quickly solve your homework problems, ace your tests, and learn algebra concepts so you're prepared for your next courses. Forget canned examples! The Wolfram Algebra Course Assistant solves your specific algebra problems on the fly, often showing you how to work through the problem step by step.

This app covers the following topics applicable to Algebra I, Algebra II, and College Algebra:

- Evaluate any numeric expression or substitute a value for a variable.
- Simplify fractions, square roots, or any other expression.
- Solve a simple equation or a system of equations for specific variables.
- Plot basic, parametric, or polar plots of the function(s) of your choice.
- Expand any polynomial.
- Factor numeric expressions, polynomials, and symbolic expressions.
- Divide any two expressions. 
- Find the partial fraction decomposition of rational expressions.

The Wolfram Algebra Course Assistant is powered by the Wolfram|Alpha computational knowledge engine and is created by Wolfram Research, makers of Mathematica---the world's leading software system for mathematical research and education.

The Wolfram Algebra Course Assistant draws on the computational power of Wolfram|Alpha's supercomputers over 2G, 3G, or WiFi connection.


 Includes tutorials, lessons, quizzes, flashcards, decision trees, calculators, and glossaries for terms, formulas, and symbols. 

◊ “This app is the best statistics tool I’ve ever seen.” 
◊ “This could very well be the future of university textbooks.” 
◊ “It's a great tool to go to for an easy answer.” 
◊ “I can learn anywhere or anytime.” 
◊ “The quizzes help ensure I comprehend the lessons.” 
◊ “It gives real-life examples in each lesson and tables so I can easily reinforce the information I just read. 

The app was designed by educational psychology Ph.D.s, statistics teachers, and software experts. Many of us learned stats the traditional, boring way – through books and lectures. We always wanted more interactive, visual, and engaging ways to learn stats. Statistics has many abstract concepts so we use real-world examples to anchor your understanding. 


 Statisitics 1 for iPad

Includes tutorials, lessons, quizzes, flashcards, decision trees, calculators, and glossaries for terms, formulas, and symbols. 

◊ “This app is the best statistics tool I’ve ever seen.” 
◊ “This could very well be the future of university textbooks.” 
◊ “It's a great tool to go to for an easy answer.” 
◊ “I can learn anywhere or anytime.” 
◊ “The quizzes help ensure I comprehend the lessons.” 
◊ “It gives real-life examples in each lesson and tables so I can easily reinforce the information I just read. 

The app was designed by educational psychology Ph.D.s, statistics teachers, and software experts. Many of us learned stats the traditional, boring way – through books and lectures. We always wanted more interactive, visual, and engaging ways to learn stats. Statistics has many abstract concepts so we use real-world examples to anchor your understanding.