Skip to main content

What's on your iPhone?

This post is going to be quite long! The iPhone has been around for a while now. I'm often asked which Apps are useful in education, so here's the post the answer those questions. I will give a summary of the most useful Apps, and bold up those that I consider essential.

I have to say, and I'm not exaggerating here, that the iPhone has transformed learning. I know this because it helps me:
  • organise myself, and
  • connect to other learners.
As you can see from my previous post, I firmly have y feet on the ground when it comes to creating 1:1 access to the iPhone. However, I feel that there is a very strong argument for creating class sets of the device, especially in Geography field trips. Other smart phones may have the same functionality, however, I haven't gotten my hands on those yet! I can't comment on the power of these devices, and wold be interested in hearing from colleagues who have experience. In my view, budgets would be much better spent on investing in class sets of the iPhone than in large ICT hardware such as Interactive White Boards and 1:1 laptops. Wouldn't it be great if one of the mobile phone companies, together with Apple, could develop a realistic education package. Possibly in order to facilitate the purchase of iPhone's by young people and their families?

In addition, when we should be personalising learning, the App powered phone encourages this. I download Apps that help me learn and improve learning, I wonder what effect this would have if young people were to do the same?

In summary, just by using the device as an education professional, learning has improved. In that way, it's well worth the investment (and yes, I am a gear freak too ;). Just imagine the powerful learning that could be created.

What follows is an insight into my disorganised mind! I have provided screen shots, and a summary of the Apps. I have spoken about how I have used the Apps to support learning, rather than talk about how the could be used. I have left out those Apps that come as standard, and there are some icons that represent links to webpages of interest (such as School Email, BBC iPlayer). I should add that I have the 3G S version of the phone.

Have I missed any?

Flick Bowling, iPint, Knots, Spore - All good for filling up some time and keeping my 8 year old sister and niece entertained.
Seismometer - Useful for creating earthquakes in the classroom. Use with a visualiser. What's the greatest quake that we can make? Would be even better in a 1:1 iPhone classroom.
Wikipanion - I very occasionally use this App, but useful for quickly answering some pupil questions (as a starting point).
Wordpress - A useful App, but not one that I use often as I prefer to use a full keyboard etc for blogging
Google - One of the most essential and often used Apps - access Docs, Reader, Gmail on the hoof.
Decibel - Measures sound, through a visualiser good for demonstrating noise pollution in classrooms, and I have used to collect data in the field. Would be a great App if you were in an iPhone 1:1 classroom.
Evernote - This app is fantastic and now acts as my digital notebook. I still prefer to write in my Moleskin. I use this App to plan CPD talks, lessons and even my speech as groom (see I told you the iPhone gets me organised!!)
Shazam - Great for ending those pub arguments about the song being played!
Tweetdeck - Has become an essential App for in in keeping up with my network. Yes, it crashes every-now and again, but I like the way I can add columns and sync between PC, Mac and iPhone. I often use Tweetdeck to provide formative feedback - photo's taken of pupils work and tweeted from the iPhone appear on Tweetdeck as it's displayed on the screen.
iDisk - Mobile Me provides my email on the hoof. This App provides access to my iDisk - a cloud based service. Not as useful as Dropbox, so not used very much.
National Rail - As someone who commutes and travels by train often this App is essential.
Facebook - used often, but as I split my social networks into education and personal, not hugely relevant to learning. Although I have used to gather information from friends about cheese on toast and pirates.
Remote - if you have a wifi connection between your Mac and iPhone this app is great. I have used in the classroom to change tracks and playlists when exploring the effect of Music on places and spaces. Not an essential learning App though.
My O2 - Tells me how much my next bill will be!

My Homework - Something that I played around with as a way of tracking the homework that I set, however, find that iCal is much better.
London Tube - Love this App for getting around London easily
Pac-Man - Just a great little game to play now and again.
Right Move - Great little App for exploring urban morphology. I use the proximity search filter to find details of houses for sale at varying distances from the school. Fantastic for exploring urban morphology. I can then display via a visualiser or take a screen shot and import into Keynote or PowerPoint. - Nice little App that Richard Allaway put me on to. Displays the names of peaks around you and information etc. Have used on field trips and outdoor education ventures in order to add a little interest. And, if I'm honest, to add peaks to the tick list!
AudioBoo - I haven;t really explored the use of the App in relation to learning.
DropBox - Fantastic App for sharing across platforms. Means that I can quickly look over activities, resources and presentations from the staff room or on duty, before using with class. Also great for checking that the resource is where it should be!
Bump - Just a gimmick to be honest
RAG - From John Davitt, I have used this tool with small groups, pairs and one-to-one sessions in order to provide alternative activities. I tend to ignore the 'do' and just use the 'as.' Have used with lower ability small groups in order to find an activity that they are comfortable with.
FourSquare - I don't really get this App
GeoRev - Too limited and focused on traditional answers. Not specific enough to specifications for my liking, especially with terminology. I could create better, tailored quizzes and podcasts. Worth keeping an eye on though.
Nearest Tube - Handy for when in London, I just love the augmented reality app.
Nearest Wiki - Not a good as Wikitude for edibility, but useful on pre-visits and for obtaining information about places. Requires the 3G S. See this post.
Echofon - Downloaded this as I liked the Push feature not available on TweetDeck. Don't like the interface though, although this is a good App.
Flickr - I don't really use this for learning as I have access to full sized computers
Gorillacam - Useful as it adds features to the standard camera, such as an Auto Timer etc.
Guardian - I usually flick through this newspaper at home, but now use this App in the morning to spot any geography specific news stories.
Movie Genie - Useful for finding out facts about the films used in class, and is helping with ideas for the collaborative Pixar unit (which I must get around to adding to the wiki!)
PS Mobile - Photoshop for on the go. I don't really use it often.
Wikitude - Nice little App for exploring Place. See this post.
Rain Today - Useful in exploring the reliability of weather information services - especially when this says only a 10% chance of rain and it's raining outside!
Air Mouse - Spotted this in a tweet from Doug Belshaw and love it. Use in the classroom to control my Mac from anywhere in the room. Pupils also can use to enter information and data.
Tiltshift - Alan Parkinson put me on to this App. It creates model images, but I haven;t payed around with it enough
Remote - This version controls Keynote presentations via wifi. To be honest, Air Mouse has taken over.
Thethering - Although fairly overpriced, I have added the Internet tethering option to my tariff. The signal and reception is not as good as my Vodaphone dongle, however, great for getting two machines hooked up to the Internet in order to circumnavigate blocked sites such as YouTube.
Trails - Use this App mainly for keeping track of personal adventures. Have used with classes in on-site Doorstep Geography activities, such as writing directions and then following them. Can create naughty, invisible art on the school site. Top feature is that you can upload the tracks to a website, which is viewable to all.
Bloglines - Don't really use this
Animoto - Has some potential, but haven't used with classes
iPity - I use this with classes quite often. Usually as a challenge to include a saying and link it to the geography in the lesson. Used this to put together my TeachMeet BETT2010 presentation.
Optiscan - used to scan VR codes. I've played around with this a little, linking to Guerrilla Geography activities, but nothing in class yet.
Comic Touch - Haven't used the App in a learning context, although I do use the full Mac version.
Skype - Don't use
Google Earth - Have used during pre visits of field work locations.


  1. Very useful David.. I've been organising my apps into screens which relate to particular things: a page of tools, a page of locational things, a page of apps for when I'm travelling etc...
    Will do a similar post at some point, and will direct John Lyon here, as he got an iPhone this week too...

  2. Thanks David. As someone who has only just got an iphone, this is a really sueful post for me!

  3. Cheers Alan. I have an anarchic brain that likes chaos - so no sensible filing system for me ;-)

    I'm working up to try to get some 1:1 iPod Touch or iPhone going on - watch this space.

    (PS, don't suppose the GA would be willing to help fund ;).......)

  4. Hi Helen!

    No worries, it's actually been quite useful to me. While documenting the Apps I've remembered a few and now plan to use again!


  5. Hi Helen!

    No worries, it's actually been quite useful to me. While documenting the Apps I've remembered a few and now plan to use again!



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What makes a learning experience profound? Personal reflections and possible implications for classroom practice.

I have recently begun a Leadership Pathways journey.  As part of the first core day, we were asked to reflect on a profound learning experience. This got me thinking about how many profound learning experiences I have both been involved in, and how many I have been able to give to others.  Our group came up with a huge long list, but these are my five. Emotional Connected Demanding Reflective Collaborative As always, these are personal thoughts and quite mixed up.  I put them here so that I can look back on them (plus they’d get lost inside my world-cup-free brain) 1. Emotional I can’t think of a time where deep learning hasn’t engaged my emotions.  From being awe inspired to that tingle feeling when a student gets a light bulb moment.  From this-is-the-happiest-day-ever, to I-think-I’m-about-to die.  How often do we engage the emotions of those we teach?  Here, I would argue that having a safe learning environment is not always conducive to profound

#GAConf22: A paradigm shift for anti-racist, decolonised teaching and inclusion

 " You can't start a fire,  You can't start a fire without a spark" Bruce Springsteen.  Well, it's been a fair while since I felt the motivation or the need to blog. Whilst not a story for now, over the past five years I've danced along the knife edge and, often, the call of the abyss has been both tempting and compelling. Certainly, my failing in both my personal and professional life have been numerous. But. This is not about me, but the people that have (re)ignited the spark to the fire in my soul. I realise that this is from the perspective of a privileged, white, middle class male view. I even have a beard. I am scared of getting it wrong on this topic. Teach me if I am wrong, it is from the position of a learner. I was looking forward to the GA Conference this year, the first face to face since 2019. I have to say that Alan , as president, and the Geographical Association's team did a fantastic job at being inclusive. The hybrid format allowed peopl

Trust and support our school leaders, the role of the governing body in the Covid times

One of the roles that I love is being the Chair of a Governing Body.  The aim of this post is to share what we are doing, as a Board, during these difficult time.  I will refrain from commenting on the role of the Government, DfE and local authority as I intend for this to be both a positive and useful post. What is clear is that governing bodies have a crucial part to play. I am grateful both to the brilliant Clerk and the National Governance Association whose Covid advice pages are fantastic. Firstly; from the outset, the brilliant leadership team that I work with have my unwavering and public support. Regardless. As this is a fast evolving crisis, often with pages of advice, guideline and directives to decipher and digest on a daily basis. As such, the role of governing bodies is twofold: 1.  to prioritise the providing of support to the Headteacher and all colleagues in the school, and 2. to allow them to get on with operational matters and decision making. The role of