Monday, 12 September 2011

The trouble with lists ...

Like many colleagues, I am very interested in how new technologies are being used to classrooms to support learners with communication, cognitive and other difficulties. Right now I’m researching the use of ipads.  Like many of you I see these in schools and I’m constantly being asked for recommendations of the best apps to use. My research has led me to some great sites and interesting blogs however they all seem to have one thing in common… a list!

Now lists are great… I’d never remember the milk if I didn’t make a shopping list and I’d surely forget my underwear if I didn’t make that ‘holiday’ list. These lists are different. They list interesting and useful apps that one might use with students. Nothing wrong so far except I’ve yet to see a list that doesn’t detail at least one hundred apps, some list thousands. I’ve looked at three lists this morning, a total of 862 apps. 

While it’s fantastic to have so much choice to research, download and evaluate that lot would cost me a fortune and take me a month. Like you I don’t have that amount of free time to spare or the resources to pay for them all. Blog posts that support these list are very helpful.  They provide the detail we need to make more informed choices. My favourites are by far the Spectronics blog …

 … and the posts by Jane Farrall and Greg o’Connor

 and the TeachingALL blog …

… and the posts by Jeremy brown.

In an effort to save both my sanity and my marriage, I’d like to make a (much) shorter list, showing just the top three apps in a particular category that you would recommend to schools and parents. Here’s where you can help. I've shared a Google doc

… please click the link and add your #1 app to any of the categories. If it’s there already, just add it again. I collate it into something more user friendly and post it on the web.

Thanks for your help.


  1. I agree about lists and feel a bit embarrassed that I sent you one recently. In fairness to myself though, I tend to make lists for myself rather than for distribution. I really like Livebinders as a way of making a list but in a categorised and navigable way.

  2. Excellent plan Ian! From tomorrow I'm back teaching IT in a special school and was very excited to find they had an ipad. I saw great results with it just from my visit day - a pupil who is an elective mute happily and comfortably spoke to the bird (whose name escapes me lol)

  3. Great to hear that you're back teaching in a special school :)