This presence of new technology such as iPads often splits opinion amongst those in education, with some decidedly staunch supporters and others generally far more sceptical.
However, with the increasing number of high quality apps that are being designed with the classroom solely in mind, there seems little reason not to embrace these classroom aids and use them to the advantage of both teachers and pupils.
It is widely acknowledged that iPads cannot be used as a tool to teach new concepts, but rather as a tool for pupils to cement their understanding of the content taught, whilst also introducing pupils to new ways of building their learning and knowledge in a variety of innovative ways.
To use them to their best advantage, iPads should be used alongside existing classroom resources such as textbooks and exercise books.
With this is mind, we have created a list of apps to be used in primary classrooms. These apps have been split into key stages to give a broad suggestion of the age ranges these apps are best suited for.
Apps for EYFS
This app introduces the fundamentals of numbers and counting with the infamous Hungry Caterpillar! With five levels of increasing difficulty, the app keeps children engaged in a variety of activities and encourages a number of different skills to practice.
Things That Go Together £0.69
An interactive tool designed to help children enhance both their problem solving and language development skills through the use of over 200 pictures, in which children are given items that they have to decide which go together. Critical thinking skills can also be improved if you get the child to explain why it is that they have put the two items together. A really fun and engaging app!
Doodle Buddy Free
Doodle Buddy can be used by anyone, and is suitable for any age, but is especially good for children at this stage. It allows children to finger paint with hundreds of colours at their disposal, but without the mess! With a shake of the iPad, doodles can be erased and started again. The app is also good for practising letter formation and spelling.
Toca Kitchen Monsters is a great tool for exploring different foods and cooking with children. The app supports free play meaning pupils are free to use their imagination to engage with the app rather than focusing on scores or time limits. It’s also a really good way to test listening and conversational skills with pupils.
Another app to aid learning first numbers. Children can become familiar with counting fingers, quantities ( e.g. 5 apples) and their first numbers. It uses flashcards games to aid this, which can be made to include personal voices and pictures. Particularly good is its ability to combine multiple senses within the application; audio, voice and written words.
abc Pocket Phonics £1.99
This app is aimed at children from ages 3-6, and introduces them to each of the key letter sounds.
The app then guides them how to write each letter through a follow-me arrow, highlighting how to correctly form letters. A fun and engaging app that really aids the teaching of phonics.
This is aimed at children in reception who are learning to spell. There are 10 levels of ten words, with two modes of training and testing.
In training mode the user is asked to spell a word which is displayed for a few seconds and then wiped clean with the blackboard eraser - correct spelling is rewarded with upbeat messages and various congratulations - and wrong answers are encouraged to try again.
The Spelling test will produce a high score and if the pass rate is reached the next level will be unlocked.
Key Stage One Apps
This is a simple story maker and e book creator. It combines drawing, photos, voice and text, and is a really good tool for encouraging literacy and creativity amongst children. Their books can then be shared within the app or in iBooks. A perfect tool to fully engage pupils that are eager to create stories.
Sentence Builder £3.99
An app designed to help pupils build grammatically correct sentences through 3 varying levels of play. Focus is placed on connector words that make up over 80% of the English language.
Math Board £2.99
This app supports the learning of maths in classrooms and aids the understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. There are a range of customisation options meaning varying needs and abilities of pupils can be applied, and quizzes can be set to add a fun element to the process.
Bluster develops vocabulary and word understanding in Key Stage 1 children through a series of engaging animated gameplay with sound effects. Children can play alone, work in team mode or against another pupil.
Chicktionary is a fun word game that requires children to rearrange chickens with letters to form words. Engaging and motivating, Chicktionary is an ideal tool for spelling reinforcement, and can be used on an individual basis or in a small group of pupils.
Writer's Hat Free
Writer’s Hat is the ideal tool to inspire pupils with their creative writing, oral literacy and imaginative thinking tasks. The Writer’s Hat app selects four basic elements of the story for idea generations; so an idea word for What, Where, Who and When will be provided. If these words fail to provide inspiration, then four more can be selected.
Math Bingo £0.69
A good app to supplement maths lessons, Math Bingo uses the popular bingo game to help children with mental arithmetic. It features five different game modes and three game difficulties. The objective of the game is to get a pattern of five Bingo Bugs in a row by correctly answering maths problems using addition, subtraction, division or multiplication. There is a leader board too which can help create some healthy competition amongst children.
Key Stage Two Apps
This app has been created to help pupils understand and learn how to design circuit arrangements such as series, parallel and combination using batteries, wires and bulbs. There are a series of pre-designed learning circuits which are ideal for teachers to demonstrate in the classroom, which can then be followed by pupils trying out different variations of the circuit.
Number Line Free
Number Line helps pupils to learn about fractions, decimals, and percents by ordering equivalent fractions, decimals, and percents on a number line. The app features multiple levels where the player must drag circles with either a percent, decimal or fraction onto a number line in the correct sequence.
Barefoot World Atlas £2.99
An interactive atlas that invites children to explore the regions and countries of the world, with extensive information and facts on every country. Beautiful animations and graphics are featured throughout, and the atlas communicates how all parts of our world are interconnected and reveals some of the ideas and initiatives that are helping to shape a sustainable future.
Fun Science Lab £1.99
The Fun Science Lab is a fun and entertaining way of teaching the basics of science to pupils through a series of 9 interactive experiments which feature themes such as heats, liquids, magnets and gravity. Every experiment has 3 levels, each of which increases in difficulty, and every completed level receives a medal, which encourages further engagement.
Operation Math £1.99
Operation Math needs pupils to use a series of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills to make their way through a collection of 105 missions over three different skills levels. The engaging element of this app means that children get to practice their maths skills whilst having fun at the same time.
Book Creator £2.99
This simple app lets pupils create their own books read them in iBooks, send them to their friends and family and submit them to the iBookstore too. Each page can include photos and videos, and as much text as they can fit on! Narration can be added to the book, with a facility to record voices on each page. This tool encourages children to enjoy creating stories and sharing their personalised stories with their peers.
We’d love to hear if you have used any of these apps above; do you have any particular favourites with your pupils? Equally we’d love to know of any other apps you may be using that we could add to our list, please just leave a comment below.