Expanded 2016 Directory of Apple iPad apps for classroom and personal life

Click this link to download the 2016 Directory of nearly 600 Apple iPad apps for classroom and personal life. 

This document provides an overview of the iPads apps I have found useful as an educator and in my personal life.  Most of the apps were free, some cost a dollar or two.  I have a separate section in the directory for the apps used in my college history course as well as current history events that are also integrated into class sessions.

Some of the Apple iPhone and Apple TV apps on those iOS devices will download to your iPad.  This automatic downloading only occurs if the iOS devices have the automatic downloading enabled through the settings of the iOS device.  I have noticed that some Apple TV apps will download to the iPad but not to the iPhone.  This may have to do with whether they can display on the smaller iPhone screen than the larger iPad.

Features of the Apple iPad

There are four features of the Apple iPad I find compelling in comparison with other desktop or laptop computers:

  • Due to its slim design and modest weight, mobility is a key feature.  I carry around the home and use in different places.  Rather than feeling burdened by its constant connection to the Internet through WI-FI, I use it frequently as a resource to enhance other parts of my life.
  • For me, the touch screen with the iPad is an enjoyable way to interact with the device.  This tactile interaction with the iPad is different from use of a traditional keyboard and a mouse.
  • Ease and enjoyment of reading has been increased since I can use the touch screen easily with my fingers to enlarge the image or text to increase readability and focus attention.  While the pinch and zoom feature is not available through all apps, nearly all of them allow easy increase or decrease of text size as well as changing the font and the background color of the publication.
  • The apps. With the total approaching two million to select from, there is an app for nearly everything.  While creating an app requires great skill, it has opened opportunities for many more software designers to share their applications for free or very modest cost.  The app store through Apple provides a very democratic way for people to widely share their work with others.

Check the App Store Often

This abridged directory contains apps that are often free and are of my interest and taste.  With additional ones being added weekly, this directory does not try to be inclusive of all of them.  You can go to the official Apple App store and use the options on the top menu bar to search all apps by name, category, and whether paid or free  I also downloaded some apps noted below that focus on identifying the newest and best apps.  I have noticed that some apps are free for the first week or two they are introduced and then they become paid only.  I think this is done to generate positive buzz and reviews in the App Store to encourage future consumers to purchase them.  I have made it a game to check out the official App Store every few days.

Click this link to download the 2016 Directory of nearly 600 Apple iPad apps for classroom and personal life. 

Free eBook for teachers and students to create digital stories

The Changing Story:  Digital stories that participate in transforming teaching & learning by Linda Buturian  http://www.cehd.umn.edu/the-changing-story/  Free download as iBook or ePub formats for other devices through this website.

If you are interested in having your students create digital stories or creating them as part of your learning activities, I recommend the following free eBook.  Linda is a colleague of mine in our academic department at UMN.  I have used principles from this book for digital stories that my students have constructed.  It is a powerful experience for those who create them as well as everyone who views them.

This truly is a "must read" if you are interested in digital storytelling. Rather than just focusing on shallow techniques to quickly use the latest app to produce a video, the author takes us on the journey through the eyes of students and teachers why this approach is such a powerful and transformative learning experience. This experience occurs for both those who watch as well as those who create them. I enjoyed the embedded video clips from the teachers and samples of student-produced work. Plus the writing style of the author is accessible, enjoyable, and nuanced. Don't miss this book just because it is free.

Description by the author:  “The Changing Story gives you assignments, resources, and examples to use in your teaching and learning. It will also help you think of ways digital stories can be used in your teaching, and help students harness the power of visual storytelling.  The Changing Story is a free ebook that is downloadable and licensed with Creative Commons.”

2016 David Arendale's Directory of iPad Apps for Classroom and Personal Use

2016 David Arendale's Directory of iPad Apps is available for downloading

<Click on this link to download the 2016 directory.>

The Apple iPad continues to grow with the number of users and the enormous number of apps available for downloading, many of which are free.  The latest count is approaching two million.  My directory contains my favorite 300 I use personally and with my work as a college history professor.  I am excited to see how I experience them on the iPad Pro that I will be purchasing in December. 

David Arendale 2015 Guide to iPad Apps

David Arendale 2015 guide to iPad Apps

<Click here to download the directory>

The Apple iPad continues to grow with the number of users and the enormous number of apps available for downloading, many of which are free.  The latest count is over 1.2 million.  My directory contains my favorite 300 I use personally and with my work as a college history professor.

From Teachers College Record: "BYOD: Re-Examining the Issue of Digital Equity"

by Rae L. Mancilla — August 08, 2014

This commentary questions whether the implementation of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in American schools is a way of bridging or deepening the digital divide amongst students of differing socioeconomic backgrounds. It argues that that digital equity with mobile devices cannot be achieved without individual ownership of mobile technologies and concludes by posing a series of potential means of working toward the goal of ownership in schools.

The digital divide between technology haves and have-nots has been a persistent problem for education recognized on both national and international levels. On the wrong side of the divide are typically minority and low-income students, as well as urban residents who lack access to what are now commonplace technologies (e.g., internet) (Servon, 2002). Achieving equitable physical access to technology is seen as just a starting point in addressing the many disparities that emanate from the digital divide and that pervade students’ technology use, training, and learning outcomes once initial access has been granted (Warschauer & Matuchniak, 2010).


Educators and administrators are increasingly turning to mobile devices as a means of closing this digital gap because they are cost-effective and widely used, especially by students between the ages of 12-17. (Madden, Lenhart, Duggan, Cortesi & Gasser, 2013). Although these figures are somewhat lower for low-income students, the overwhelming growth of student ownership of mobile devices has fueled policies such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in schools, with the underlying goal of helping schools manage budget cuts while still preparing digitally literate 21st century learners (Dixon &Tierney, 2012).


The trade-off of shifting the financial responsibility from schools to students to provide their own devices for learning may seem financially advantageous; however, from the standpoint of digital equity, it is not. Digital equity means, “ensuring that every student […] has equitable access to advanced technologies, communication and information resources, and the learning experiences they provide (Solomon, Allen, and Resta, 2003, p. xiii). Ensuring equity for students of varying socioeconomic backgrounds under BYOD is complex and problematic on multiple levels.


Very basically, students of low socioeconomic status are not often owners of mobile devices, or bring nonequivalent technologies to school. Given the varied nature of mobile devices, it is difficult to equate the capabilities of one device with another. A case in point is comparing a mobile phone (the most commonly owned device) to an iPad; can the learning experiences with these devices ever be approximated? Many schools have also attempted to troubleshoot the non-ownership of devices by allowing students to borrow or rent school-owned devices (Chadband, 2012). However, lending students devices for limited periods of time or only for use throughout the school day denies them the fullness of the mobile learning experience and contradicts the very purpose of mobile learning: mobility.


Research now shows that the use of mobile devices is related to changes in students’ cognition, affecting essentially how they learn (Kukulska-Hulme, 2009). Given that the way students access, process, and interact with educational content is shaped by the technology they have available to them, it is necessary to ensure that all students have the same toolbox to work with. This begs the question: how is it possible for all students to share an equivalent learning experience when owners have unlimited access to tools that borrowers do not?


Finally, individual ownership of mobile devices is a prerequisite when considering the affective (i.e., emotional/relational) dimension of mobile learning. For example, studies on mobile phones show that people develop a relationship with their phones and an emotional attachment that stems from the extensive time shared with them (Vincent, 2006). Therefore, a key element in students’ learning experience with mobile technology is the growth of a mobile identity that occurs over time. This is impossible to achieve when students are required to borrow and return school-owned devices.


Using ownership as the most fundamental and necessary criteria for establishing equity, how then can equitable access be practically leveraged to borrowers in schools? Currently, few models exist to tackle the obstacle of funding one-to-one mobile technology initiatives, with laptops being one of the only examples of how schools have provided access to individual computing in the past. Most of these efforts have been backed by large federal and state monies, such as 21st Century Community Learning Center grants and State Educational Technology grants associated with the Race to the Top Initiative (2009), but have not yet trickled down into mobile devices.


Besides government funding, there are several potential pathways for funding a BYOD program. These include partnering with local businesses to refurbish their used devices, allowing students to lease school-owned devices (e.g., semester or yearly basis), and providing financing plans for families who cannot afford to purchase a device (e.g., layaway) (Intel Education, 2013). Expanding on these alternatives, I call for the development of a sliding scale for families of low to mid-income students to subsidize the purchase of a personal device based on family size and income. This is necessary for students of mid-income families who may not completely qualify for a school-purchased device, but still have a substantial economic need. Additionally, why not consider partnering with nationally-established businesses in the private sector to launch or expand programs such as the Broadband Adoption Challenge (2010), which currently offers eligible families affordable home internet and computer access through participating providers such as Comcast, Time Warner, and many others? Although this program does not cover vouchers for purchasing mobile devices, this option needs to be added for interested families to help bridge the new mobile divide.


In sum, while mobile devices have been foregrounded as a means of bridging the digital divide between technology haves and have-nots, the birth of the BYOD movement in schools is deepening these tensions under a new guise of owners versus borrowers. The issue of digital equity must move beyond providing physical access to technology through schools’ lending libraries of mobile devices. Achieving an equitable mobile learning experience requires unrestricted access to mobile devices (i.e., device ownership) that facilitates the development of a relationship with the device itself and a customized and transportable learning experience across educational contexts. The personal nature of mobile devices sets them apart from conventional computing and requires the re-thinking of how to be equitable with BYOD through creative models that blend federal, state, and local support for leveraging mobile technologies in schools.



  •  Chadband, E. (2012, July 19). Should schools embrace “Bring Your Own Device”?. NEA Today. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2012/07/19/should-schools-embrace-bring-your-own-device/
  • Dixon, B., & Tierney, S. (2012). Bring your own device to school. Retrieved from http://blogs. msdn. com/b/education/archive/2012/08/15/microsoft-bring-your-own-device-in-schoolswhitepaper. aspx.
  • Intel Education (2013). K-12 Blueprint: Funding a BYOD (bring your own device) program. Retrieved from http://www.k12blueprint.com/funding
  • Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2009). Will mobile learning change language learning. ReCALL, 21(2), 157–165.
  • Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Duggan, M., Cortesi, S., & Gasser, U. (2013). Teens and technology 2013. Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  • Servon, L. (2002). Bridging the digital divide: Technology, community and public policy. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Solomon, G., Allen, N., & Resta, P. (2003). Toward digital equity: Bridging the divide in education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  • Vincent, J. (2006). Emotional attachment and mobile phones. Knowledge, Technology & Policy, 19(1), 39–44.
  • Warschauer, M., & Matuchniak, T. (2010). New technology and digital worlds: Analyzing evidence of equity in access, use, and outcomes. Review of Research in Education, 34(1), 179–225.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: August 08, 2014
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17639, Date Accessed: 8/19/2014 2:12:11 PM

2014 Apple iPad App Directory

Just in time for the holidays, I am reissuing David Arendale's Guide to iPad Apps.  <Click on this link to download the free PDF document.>  This is my hand-picked favorite iPad apps.  The 31-page directory lists approximately 330 of them.  With more than one million to select from, it was difficult to identity the ones that I find the most useful for my personal and professional life.  Enjoy.

Apple's 94% Dominance in the Education Market

I was reading an online article,  "Educators Weigh iPad's Dominance of Tablet Market" in Education Week.  From the article:  "From Los Angeles to Illinois to Maine—where Apple products far outpaced Hewlett-Packard in districts’ choices through the state’s bulk-purchasing program earlier this year— iPads are hot. In fact, they command nearly 94 percent of the tablet market in K-12 schools, according to Tom Mainelli, the research director focusing on the tablet market for IDC Research, a San Mateo, Calif.-based firm that provides market analysis of technology.  By the end of this calendar year, total shipments for tablet computing devices in the U.S. education marketplace are expected to exceed 3.5 million units—a 46 percent increase over 2012, indicated Mr. Mainelli, who explained that the research is proprietary and declined to name the runners-up in the tablet race. The figure covers tablets in higher education and K-12, but colleges and universities account for a much smaller proportion because, at that level, most are personal devices."

Our College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota issues an iPad to all incoming students.  As a faculty member in the college, we have integrated use of the iPads into all our first-year courses.  I bought an iPad for personal use about a week after the first ones were available for sale.  Why do I prefer the iPad, even at its expense?  Like the old saying, I think you get what you pay for.  I wanted a slate computer that did it all and had the largest number of apps.  When I think about how much money I spend throughout the year, paying a premium for the iPad seems insignificant.  I am not a snob.  Most of the clothes I buy come from WalMart and JC Penny.  I buy my jeans at Goodwill (jeans never wear out and the price is pennies on the dollar).  I drive a 1997 Ford Explorer with some dings and dents in it.  But I want the best technology.  I am a value shopper, not a low cost shopper for technology (everything else falls into the low cost category).  Anyway, that my story why Apple products are my choice.  Plus, I think Google is evil.