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‘Apps for Learning’

Two of the questions that the 21st Century Fluency Project has been addressing through their publications and website are, “What must educators respond to when considering “the profound developments” taking place in the world?” and “What does teaching in the 21st century look like?” The recently published Apps For Learning: 40 Best iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone Apps for High School Classrooms by Harry Dickens and Andrew Charles (Corwin, 2011) answers that second question—in part. It’s the first of three “Apps for Learning” titles published by the Project and Corwin; the others will cover elementary and middle school classrooms. As the authors note in their introduction to the book, itools are everywhere and capable of  “not only consuming, but also of creating”—everything from videos and spreadsheets to cartoons and multimedia presentations. Their portability, clean design, customization potential, and ease of use recommend them to students of all ages.

In Apps for Learning educators will find applications that allow them to poll their students (eClicker Host/eClicker); a collection of short science video demonstrations (VideoScience); learning guides (Shmoop); more than 700 illustrated math concepts and formulas (iMathematics); a simulation of a frog dissection (Frog Dissection); an online storage app (; a mind-mapping/brainstorming/graphic organizer (iThoughtsHD); and more.

For each product, the name, platform (and requirements), subject area(s), iTunes URL, developer website, and price are noted. Particularly useful are the several pages devoted to describing what each app is and how it works. The authors also give several examples of how each tool can be used in the classroom, and sometimes “advanced uses.” Special features and options are noted. Black-and-white screen shots are abundant and frequently illustrate the step-by-step directions. It’s a new world inside and outside our schools, and these tools will foster “creative expression, communication, and collaboration.”