Not Educational… Not to Worry!


Following on my previous posts around student voice and iPad applications for learning, I have listed below just a few applications that I have had students use a lot over the years to support what they have been learning. The catch here with these app’s is that they are not what you might call ‘educational’… ¬†ūüėČ What they are though is well worth a look!


Minecraft PE

Can you really go past Minecraft? All you need here is an imagination and off you go! I have had students use this creative app in just about every curriculum area that I have taught and the most impressive thing I have witnessed is that in just about every case of its use it has been completely justified with what students have used it for.

Alternatives: Terraria

Trading Cards

Trading Cards

OK. This app is in the ‘educational’ category in the App store however it needs to be mentioned! Trading Cards is simple yet highly effective. This app allows students to create a trading card, just like that of a football or basketball card. I have had students use this during ‘getting to know you activities’ where they have been printed and laminated and shared/displayed, used for mathematics when showing understanding of concepts, such as the features and characteristics of a 2D/3D shape and also¬†to create Trading Cards of historical figures, as well as places, for inquiry units of work. They look great when printed and laminated on A3 paper!

Alternatives: Real Cover HD

Pic Collage

Pic Collage

Imagination here is the key! It has been a great application for students to create posters / documents to demonstrate understandings of concepts that they have covered in class. This has been used also very well as an ‘exit card’ app for students to again show what they learnt/completed in lessons as well as a great way for students to represent information they have sourced in a highly visual way.

Alternative: HalfTone2, ComicLife



This is certainly a favourite of mine and is very similar to that of Google’s ‘Photo Sphere’. Using a map of the world, much like Google/Apple Maps, students can search for locations the world over and visit these via 3D/Panoramic images that the public have added. Great as you’d imagine for inquiry based learning and also when discussing current affairs issues in the media. Students can also create their own and upload these! As one student once commented “Sphere is a million¬†times¬†better than any¬†atlas”

Alternative: PhotoSphere

Adobe Voice

Adobe Voice

Another favourite! If students are wanting to share learnt information quickly, easy and in a very engaging way Adobe Voice is great! Due to its ease of use and the final product that is produced students have commented that this is the best app for making quick presentations that look great! There is a large suite of Creative Commons licensed media that students can use to really make their presentation come to life. For more information on Adobe Voice have a look at this blog post via Aaron Davis.

Alternative: Haiku Deck (no voice recording ability), iMovie

Bamboo Paper

Bamboo paper

This¬†app allow students to record information that they have collected in notebooks. Yes, that does not sound all that exciting, however, students can add multiple notebooks and have a notebook¬†for particular subjects areas / tasks / projects / etc… meaning that they can create multiple notebooks. I have had students that I’ve taught previously use their skills in¬†summarising and recording key information they’ve learnt and then document this all in one place. This app does¬†not allow typing as everything needs to be ‘handwritten’ via the might of a finger or stylus! This also allows students to draw and sketch so as to visualise very easily their ideas and thoughts. Something that cannot be done via Google Docs or Evernote.

Alternative: Paper by FiftyThree



Scratchwork is a brilliant little app that splits an iPad screen into two halves with one being a notepad and the other an internet browser. Students I have taught have loved this app as it saves them from having to use multiple apps to view online based content and then summarise that in another application and jump back and forth x1000 over. Students can also add images and draw with in the notepad section. Once students have finished they can then save that note as a PDF and email it to wherever it needs to go!

Alternative: None. 



Thinglink is an awesome app that I have seen students use constantly throughout the past few years. Thinglink allows students to add an image either they have taken or sourced from elsewhere and add interactive components to that image such as web links, YouTube videos, Soundcloud files and more. This has been used extremely well by students in the past to represent their thinking about a concept or topic being covered and has also been used very very well for students to collate and find and house information in one place about a unit of learning they are involved in.

Alternatives: None.



VideoStar is a great app that applies filters and special effects to videos students have recorded on their iPad device. These ¬†can then be imported in to other applications such as iMovie to assist students in taking their filming and video creation to the next level. Students love making videos and film to represent their thinking and show understanding and applications like VideoStar just add that ‘something’ extra when wanting to engage the audience.

Alternatives: VideoFX Live, Action Movie FX, Scary Movie FX



For those familiar with it our there Weebly is a website Building tool that is brilliant and the app version allows students to create their own high quality websites right from the comfort of their iPad device. Students have used this app/tool in sharing information and presenting project and inquiry based work. I even had one student who had developed a ‘math’ website based on a¬†Geometry unit we covered. He had placed all of learning on the website, much like that of a student digital portfolio (of which Weebly is also EXCELLENT for) that other students could visit.

Alternatives: Google Slides, Prezi



I have never been all that fascinated with QR codes. I am not sure why. I never just got the whole ‘scan’ the barcode thing to take you to a video or web link when you could have just given me the link… Anyway… Students on the other hand love QR codes or at least the majority of those i have taught have. When you turn to your students and ask them to submit their homework and they hand you a QR code that is (was) pretty cool. Something which soon became for half the class the norm. It would have been easier for them to email me the link, however they enjoy submitting the QR code of which I then displayed once I had viewed and corrected the work. I have also has teachers add QR codes that students have set up and created to semester based reports which was very well received! QRafter was the app of choice for both scanning and creating QR codes for my students.

Alternatives: QR Reader


So there you have it. Again, student voice is the key. When and where possible always gives students the chance to select what app’s they would like to use because more often than not they will certainly surprise with you what they can do and how they do it!

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