10 Exemplar Educational Apps


Dust or Magic, exactly what does that mean? In my field we are talking about the exemplary apps that tickle your funny bone, move you into a WOW space emotionally or the ones that don’t make it for various reasons and leave you deflated. In addition to 10 exemplar educational apps, we have listed six developers that need to be recognized for their outstanding work.

If I had to pick one thing that resonated with me at the Dust or Magic event held at the gracious Highlights Foundation in Honesdale, PA. it would be the concept of possibilities! It was Gail Lovely that presented a series of apps that she felt with minor adaptations could go above and beyond the expected and deliver a much richer learning experience. It was this concept of “What if?” that propelled and drove this conference.

The three days spent sharing, critiquing, and exploring digital literacy bolstered my scope and knowledge of the art and science of education. It was Faith Rogow that helped me realize the importance of teaching children at a very young age where and from whom they are getting their information. Summarizing a news article is not enough, we need to give credit and cite where this information originated, and we need to start teaching this at a much younger age. Karen Nemeth was there to keep us all in check with the ESL population and the use of multiple languages in apps.

Defining exactly what active learning is comprised of, as well as exactly what digital citizenship involves were two topics that got much attention. The idea of the student learning best when driving the apps themselves was explored. By putting the student in charge of learning through self-driven exploration, they are able to step out of the box so that the ability to integrate the material and allow for creativity to arise.  Warren Buckleitner along with his wingman, Daren Carstens were the consummate facilitators who kept this feisty group focused and in check.

Everyone attending had a different vantage point, whether it was the art of story telling, ESL, occupational therapy, speech and language, app development, teacher, or reviewer. We were all critics who saw things we agreed on and others we agreed to disagree about; everyone involved was respectful of one another’s opinion and expertise. On our final afternoon, Al Benner swung by and gave a demo of Powerful Plants, a very cool augmented reality app that is accompanied by a book, and seed packets.

The first apps that got a high five and surpassed expectations were from the Bologna Ragazzi Children’s Book Fair:



My Very Hungry Caterpillar by StoryToys

Mention Fiction

Spot by Houghton Mifflin

Good Night Dada by Elastico

Mention (Non-Fiction)

Forme in Gioco by Minibombo

Toca Nature by Toca Boca

In addition to the Bologna Razzi standouts, these apps were just a few of the many singled out for their superlative qualities:

Book Maker by Red Jumper

Enchantium by Daqri

My Back Pack by Waterford


Numberlys by Moonbot Studio

And these Developers:

Touch Press

Nosy Crow


Spinlight Studios

Carstens Studio

Big Cat Collins

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