Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Power of an iPad App

If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know that I received my class iPad back in December.  To no surprise not a day goes by that it isn't in use by someone or a small group of my students.  We use it as often as we can, all day long.  And if you know me at all, you'll know that I am constantly learning and reading about new apps to add to it.  Some apps stay for a little while, while others are here to stay for a long while.  I have apps to meet different students individual needs.

One of my absolute favourite apps is still Word Wizard.  The thing with Word Wizard is that it is not an app that can be used for creating or showing learning yet I still love it.  So why?

Word Wizard is a simple app really.  There are two parts to the app - movable alphabet and spelling quizzes.  While the spelling quiz side is good, I really love the movable alphabet side best.

First screen you see when you open the app.

The moveable alphabet side does something that no other app does - or at least no other app I've come across.  This app actually sounds out letters for kids, and then it blends letters together to help students read what they have written.

Movable alphabet side of the app. 
Instructions disappear as soon as you touch the screen.

This year I have a few students that are working extremely hard but are still struggling with letter and letter sounds.  Reading and writing is difficult for them to do independently because without letter/sound knowledge it's super challenging to decode words, or write words on paper.  But with the Word Wizard app they are finally able to be successful independently.

When they are doing word work they are able touch letters until they hear the sound that they are looking for. Then they drag that sound onto the mat. They continue to do that until they have found all the sounds they want.  The app will read their letter combinations even if the word isn't spelled correctly.  The app puts a white box around a word that is spelled correctly, and a red one around a word that isn't.  Obviously I haven't told my students about the white and red boxes because at the moment I am just so ecstatic that they can write words on their own.  They love it too, and the smiles I get from them when they are able to write independently are worth everything.

The app screen (you can change the background if you'd like)

My students who are still struggling with p/d/b/q reversals just tap those letters until they find the letter making the sound they need. Then they know which direction to make their letters.  You have to understand that this app is like a life line for these students.  It has opened up so much for them in terms of reading and writing.  Heck as I type this blog post I just realized that they could be using this app to help read words. They could put the letters in their books onto the app and the app could read the word back to them. 

Without my class iPad, and this app in particular these students would still be dependent on those around them.  And while we are all working with them to help then master these basic letter sounds, it's so nice to know that they have their own personal teachers just waiting to help them in this app.

Now my one wish would be to have more technology in my room so that everyone that needs it, could have access to an app like this.

What are your favourite iPad apps and why?


  1. Love Screen Chomp. You can take photos or use uploaded images as background, write on them (or blank screen) with "whiteboard" pens, and record audio. Great for tutorials you can upload to your blog or web page. And it's free!

    Scribble Press. Kids can use prompts to write and illustrate their own story with a variety of cool art supplies they can manipulate. Have the option to publish but I haven't fully explored this yet. Also can use as just a drawing app. Free!

    Play doll. Characters you can dress etc, then manipulate on your chosen stage background while recording audio story. free!

  2. I also love Screen Chomp and Scribble Press too ( along with My Story, Book Creator, Puppet Pals, Sock Puppet, Comic Life, Toontastic, Strip Designer, Show Me, Draw and Tell, Sonic Pic Lite, Skitch etc). I would love to use both (all) apps more often but having just one iPad for 18 students does have its limitations. But I agree they are both fantastic apps.

    Play doll I know nothing about but you can bet as soon as I put this comment up I'll be checking it out. Much thanks for the suggestion. Keep them coming!