Every Thursday evening a group called EdAppTalk gets together to talk education and tech. The group has over 3000 members, but on a usual night, we have a handful of regulars that come out. If you would like to join this group all are invited, just go to EdAppTalk and ask to join. This post, 25+ Terrific Educational App Developers came from a great discussion recently of those in the trenches. If you have a favorite educational app developer that we missed please add their name in the comment section. Angela Moorad from OMazing Kids was the impromptu guest host for EdAppTalk recently. EdAppTalk had such an inspiring conversation covering the following two topics that I felt the need to share some of these brilliant ideas for extending the play and learning with apps. 2.5.15 EdAppTalk Thread (edited to keep your focus on great stuff to share, Facebook icons may have been altered to protect the innocent...) Angela chose the following as topics for this talk. * What are features that make an app "special needs friendly"? * What are your favorite creative/alternative ways to use apps? Angela started out the chat with: Angela - Anybody wants a sneak peek at the apps that I have to give away? Super Nano Trucks by Bughouse, World Racers: Family Board Game by Tipitap. and Racoon Treehouse by TinyHands Apps. Take a look & post a comment about creative ways to teach early concepts using a mix of apps & manipulatives. Jayne -Sure, and while we are at it let's talk special needs friendly and creative and alternative ways to use apps... Jo - I always want to use an app that is meaningful and not just glitz. Meaningful can be many things and that is why we need to adapt and be creative with the apps we use. Jayne - We Publish App has some really cool options We Publish by Kids Own Publishing is one of the easiest to use creative story apps for preschoolers and young children. Angela - from your perspective as a special ed teacher, what qualities make an app "special needs friendly"? Jo - Ability to engage and sustain attention, easy access, and something that is relevant to the user. Jayne - Many apps developer for your average kid end up being perfect for the special needs population, esp. exploratory play apps and great interactive books like Nosy Crow. they have great fairy tales with a very new twist. Angie - Easy navigation is also an important factor to consider if it doesn't start off seamlessly than there is an immediate disadvantage. Jayne - One of the suggestions to app devs is to make it flow from the get-go! Easy access early on can make or break an app. Be mindful of your introduction... Jackie - and I love the Sago Sago Mini apps! They lend themselves to exploratory play and all types of expressive language without any built in language! Angela - Because most of the kids on my caseload have ASD, SPD or other similar needs, I look for apps that are sensory-friendly. Especially those that you have the option to toggle off background music & the graphics are not too busy. Jayne - Also my students did very well with apps where they raced against themselves, fav in my class was Math Drills, sounds dull - kids love it and it has a very cool tracking system. Angie - There are quite a few apps by Toca Boca and others that use open ended play, that addition is great for special needs kids. Angie - Dr. Panda has several apps, as well, that work well in that area, a favorite here is Restaurant 2. Following directions, trying to please customers, and so on. Jo Booth - Angela, you are so great at finding hidden gems in the AppStore, what are your current favs? Angela - I also love apps that have calming qualities via the colors, music, narration, etc. The new Chilikids Chili Fish app is a good example. The subtle ocean sounds, underwater feel & free-play combo has been a huge help this week. I have two new in patients...See More at Chili Fish. Here's the app trailer that will give you a feel for it. Jackie - and Avokiddo Emotions....another great open ended fun one...that gives so many opportunities for language. There are so many fun apps and the high-interest factor to engage with them also motivates them. I often hold off and use some apps for the very end of a session and find that it then will turn into a lesson for the next session when I see how the student reacts to it! Angie - Yes, that one is great, as is Beck and Bo. I also like Splash Math for special needs, especially if you have access to more than one grade level. Jo - Avokiddo is so adaptable! TWAs loves Avokiddo so much, we all want to review it their apps! Alison - I really like What Time is it, Mr. Wolf? by Teacher's Pet! I can easily customize it for my student who is learning to tell time to the hour with 3 choices to the other extreme of a student who can tell time is learning to tell time with words and 8 choices yet they are both using. Jayne - I just saw Eyal and his WONDERFUL Faces iMake review when I went back to grab Toontastic. That is an incredible app for any child, any age, lends itself to a plethora of activities! Jo - Eyal is a genius, always creative and cutting edge, his apps are the perfect way to develop right brain creative capabilities and we know just how important that is. Jackie - The plushies add another dimension of fun! I was so excited when I found the cutest little Sago toys that are an exact look alike to their characters! Jayne - What other apps are incredibly adaptable and provide lots of room for creativity and self-expression? Or of course, love exploratory game play! Angie - Bugs and Buttons... series. Great for a wide range of kids. Check them out here they have so much to offer: Little Bit Studio Jayne - Curious Hat has some very cool apps going on! Anyone know Luca Prasso? Jo - Curious Hat is very innovative, they strive to design tools for children that encourage discovery play and foster creativity, they succeed spectacularly! Angie - I love Curious Hat,. Todo Telling Time and Todo Math are also great for all kids. Locomotive Labs offers so many levels within their apps. Angela - I love using any apps that are a mix of creativity & lots of language opportunities. Jackie - and Number Matrix too by LocoMotive Labs, has six areas of play that are offered in this comprehensive logic puzzler. And Kid in Story! Alison - I have a bunch of Grade 7s writes some Kid In Story stories for my students. They loved it!!! Another great app for special needs but wasn't designed to be in Word Wizard. I use it daily in my class, perfect for making words. Jayne - I LOVE Phonics Genius, do you know that one Alison? A never went by that I didn't have my students working on their decoding skills in this fun, friendly, and highly efficient manner. Alison - I will look at Phonics Genius tomorrow, I have it downloading now, it's by Alligator Apps and they have so many apps to choose from and many are FREE! Jo - Drawp has always been a personal favorite! They have tons of effects with the drawing tools to experiment with, as well as the ability to add voice message “buttons” into the drawing. Jayne - Last night I discovered Paper, great for older students by FiftyThree Draw Capture ideas beautifully. This versatile fountain pen draws from thick to thin based on your movement. They set all of their tools free today! Jo - Paper by 53 is truly elegant, on their website they say it all: Paper helps you capture new ideas quickly and beautifully. Share your ideas to Mix, the open platform to discover and remix ideas from others. Angela - This creativity bundle from Duck Duck Moose is a steal at only $2.99 for 3 apps. Love the in app recording feature! Jackie - Oh and I love Foldify Storest! Fun with the app doesn't have to end on your device. Print your figure using AirPrint or send as a PDF by e-mail. And Storest is real learning in the fun that teaches kids about money and shopping through a hands-on approach! Alison - I'm taking an online technology seminar/workshop (not sure how to define it) and the instructor was talking about Draw and Tell by Duck Duck Moose. I have done many blog posts on collections of apps... MRSWIDEEN.COM Mrs. Wideen is one of the instructors. It is put on by the teacher's union. It was free to do, so I thought why not. Jayne - Wish all teachers were thinking like you Alison! I am a guest at grad classes and most students preparing to be teachers don't even know what a PLN is! Alison - I think I am in over my head, as I use mostly close ended apps or fun apps BUT they are all getting their students to make blog posts, use twitter, etc. Jo - Alison, you are one of the teachers I truly admire. You are always willing to try new things. And that is so important with tech changing society so quickly! Jayne - Everyone needs to be open minded and willing to learn new things, every day. I hear so often, "Oh no please, you don't want me to learn something new or different." Angela - Love the Duckie Deck apps, Jo! They have over a dozen wonderful apps in their extensive collection that covers an array of essential topics... Read about this incredible collection here, Duckie Deck. This developer has a niche in educating the whole child with a full collection of apps about health, self-esteem, sharing! Angie - Worlds Racers looks cute. At home, we add to learning with games by continuing things like taking turns, integrate AAC into games, as well as mathematical concepts. Angela - What are your favorite items to use in sensory bins? That would be fun to combine that with an app. Read Sensory bins and apps article. Jo - Sandbox! Sensory bins...the app serves as a model. What about hiding Mr. Potato head parts and paired with a picture of the building...or Legos? Angie - It could be used in conjunction with a toy truck in speech working on letter sounds, z- zoom, t- truck and so on, modeling play in real life. Jo - Or just seasonal items from a picture collage app? The possibilities are endless as well as the different apps that one can use to mix it up. Angie - Pairing Legos with something like Bloxy? There are so many possibilities. Take a kiddo like mine who loves Christmas and hide bells and other Christmas trinkets in a sensory bin and pair it with a laminated collage with numbers, so he can check them off, and you are good. Jayne Clare Add some Augmented Reality and WOW! Heard a dev on Kickstarter got funded in 47 hours for "Goodnight Lad" an augmented reality storybook. Comes out in June. I have a hard time thinking about the younger ones understanding the whole AR concept. But hey, we are living like the Jetson's... Angela Sounds cool. Is it going to be an AR book app? Augmented reality is as hard a concept to understand as the 3D printer. Angie - Crayola has come out with coloring books with pages that "come alive" in augmented reality with an app, in case anyone had missed it. Angela - Do you have the Crayola Color Alive? Sounds really cool! Definitely checking it out. Alison - Thanks everyone for telling me about some new apps, I will look them over tomorrow. Have a great evening! Another fun educational app from TinyHands Apps. Tiny Hands Raccoon Treehouse, creative ways to teach early concepts using a mix of apps and manipulatives. Jackie Bryla Somehow no one mentioned Tiggly! Love these apps and they can be downloaded for FREE and used with fingers....of course, the manipulatives make them that much better. The kiddos love them! Jo Booth It is a spectacular app, Tiny Hands....so gentle So, there you have it - a condensed version of some very cool ideas about using great apps in creative and alternative ways from a group of caring educators! The list is lengthy, but well worth a look through to find apps from some of the best developers and wonderful suggestions for implementing or adapting them in ways you may have never thought of. Thanks again to Angela from OMazing Kids for being our host and thanks for the wonderful topics you put out there. Thanks to all who contributed...Here are some of the visuals that were shared throughout the thread:
Written by Jayne Clare
Jayne Clare is dedicated to being in the forefront of the ever-changing digital landscape. She has been working directly with students and startups and recognizing what works and what doesn’t, along with the why behind both. Jayne co-founded Teachers With Apps in 2011.