Lesson Ideas using Creativity Apps

Apple have released a series of interactive books which give educators ideas on how to use some creativity apps in their classroom. The books are free and are easy to follow, with examples for all ages and subjects.


For the link to download any of the books click here.

Keyboard extensions


With new Keyboard extensions you can plug in keyboards from other apps and use them across a range of other apps. This allows a user to unlock the power of some impressive Keyboards and use them in their favourite apps. One such Keyboard extension is Lowercase.

Lowercase Keyboard is a custom keyboard that uses both lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as a simplified set of numbers and special characters. The keyboard has been designed with primary students in mind.  

Lowercase Keyboard follows the layout of the default keyboard closely so it is easy to use. The font of the Lowercase Keyboard is "OpenDyslexic" which has been created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. 


Another useful keyboad extension comes from Assistiveware, and is called Keedogo/Keeble. Which is available in 3 versions. Keedogo for students just learning to read, write and type. Keedogo Plus, which includes Automatic Captialisation and word prediction. While, Keeble is an iOS keyboard that allows users with fine motor-challenges, switch users and users with vision impairments to type in any app.


The keyboard provides a simplified layout with just the essential keys so early writers can focus only developing their skills rather than being distracted by symbols and functions they don’t yet need.

Keedogo offers the possibility to choose a QWERTY or ABC layout. Featuring lowercase letters and color-coded vowels, learning has never been easier. Keedogo can be used in any app as an alternative to the standard iOS keyboard.

Add Phonetic Guides to your Pages to help literacy and language skills


Use Phonetic Guides in Pages/Keynote/Numbers to help your students break down words and pronunciation. Originally designed for Chinese, Japanese or Korean text, once you have enabled the featured there is nothing to stop you from using it on other languages or general literacy skills. 


You will need to enable one of the Chinese, Korean or Japanese keyboards. Even if you never use the keyboard itself, by doing so you are unlocking the features of that keyboard.


Feel Free to Share this image on other sites or with Friends 


Time to revisit iMovie

 Video created by Ciarán McCormack in 2011

iMovie - Apple


As part 3 of our series this week, we take a look at iMovie. 

iMovie will allow your students to put together impressive, professional looking videos demonstrating their understanding of any topic.

 Make beautiful HD movies anywhere with iMovie, the fast and fun moviemaking app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Designed for the Multi-Touch screen, iMovie puts everything you need to tell your story at your fingertips. Browse and play projects in the Marquee view. Make a movie in minutes by adding video, photos, music and sound effects. Then give it the Hollywood treatment by adding a theme, titles and transitions. And you can share share your movie with the world – right from iMovie.  

Become a music maestro



This wonderfully colourful app will turn any user into a music maestro in a matter of minutes. 


Choose from Piano, Guitar or Strings - or alternatively use in app purchases to work with Drums, Bass Guitar and a choice of 2 synth instruments.

The app was designed to play major chords, using three fingers on each hand. (Worth noting that if you have Zoom features enabled on your iPad for accessibility requirements this can cause conflict with the functions of three finger chords!)


Once you have completed your next symphony you can share with friends using email (formatted into .m4v which means you can use it in Garageband and other music apps) or share on social networks including Soundcloud.

The colour patterns appeal visually and have an almost soothing effect when using this app, which is why I think it may also appeal to students with special need requirements.


Gripcase for iPad mini and the GripBase Stand



If you own an iPad mini, there are possibly particular reasons you were drawn to it - size, lightweight, could fit into smaller hands? If you are giving an iPad mini to slippery fingers you want to make sure it is protected without adding too much additional weight!
Gripcase for iPad mini is the ultimate iPad case for maximum durability, protection and portability. 
It keeps your iPad mini lightweight but fully protected in the most vulnerable parts of your iPad mini. 
A "crumple zone" acts a shock absorber during an impact, and also allows you to get a good half on your device. Ideal for the iPad mini if it's being placed into smaller hands!
The Docking station (compatible with all types of iPad) is a good solid structure, that also has the added benefit of amplifying sound from your iPad mini if placed correctly in the stand. 
Both are available from http://www.gripcase-usa.com
You can also still avail of a Gripcase for the iPad. Check out the review here




iThoughtsHD (mindmapping) - CMS


This is, by far, one of my favourite apps at the moment. I have always personally struggled to write essays, and when I take notes I usually look back over them wondering what I was referring to. Mind maps have been incredibly useful to me to help structure my thinking and allowing me to flesh out those random thoughts that pop into my head from time to time. 


For those of you already familiar with Mind Maps they are useful in education, brainstorming, thinking, meeting, planning, problem solving, communications and note taking etc. It is often used for students with different learning styles to assist in their learning. 


This app gives the user the potential to use them in many ways. From presenting using mind maps, to sharing them in cloud services, and also email them to yourself (which lays the mind map out in a very easy to understand layout, so much so I actually surprised myself that I took such diligent notes!) I will be honest and say I dived straight into the app without looking at any help menu's or tutorials and found the basics straight forward enough, however, some thing were not so intuitive. They are still very easy to do and once I watched the video above I felt like a pro using the app. Rather than recreate the video, here it is for your own benefit!

Common Sense - courses on Digital Citizenship


Social media and Digital citizenship are hot topics at present. These courses, available through iTunes U, will give you handouts, videos, and also some suggested app to equip you to effectively approach these topics with your students.


The range of courses are extensive and cover topics like Cyberbullying, Copyright, Online Identitay and Digital Citizenship to name a few. 

Autism Awareness Month

The month of April is Autism Awareness Month. This month is all about challenging ignorance, prejudice, fear, and hysteria about autism and autistic people. Autism Acceptance Month helps to spread the word that autism is both a neurological disability and a natural part of human diversity. Autistic people are valuable members of our society and should be treated with respect. The good news is that to celebrate this month many Apps are free. The question is always which App is best? Apps are as diverse as the users who download them, so this is a perfect opportunity to try out apps and see if they suit your particular needs. 


Below are a list of apps that may appeal. Please feel free to share your favourite on the wall below!

All of the following Apps are FREE. Click on the picture to be brought directly to the app store.

Behaviour BreakthroughsMy Autism DayAutism Activity RoutinesAutism Tracker Lite: Track, analyze and share ASD dailyAutism iHelp – Colors







ABA – Problem Solving – What does not belong?

Autism iHelp – Language ConceptsABA Flash Cards – AnimalsAutism iHelp – SortingAutism Emotion







Picture Card Maker - For Communication and More!Autism iHelp – WH QuestionsTapToTalk™Autism Apps








For a list of even more apps based on Bloom's Taxonomy, click here. (Developed by Mark Coppin)


Why not post your favourite on the wall, which can be shared with others using this link: http://padlet.com/wall/autismapps






Timeline Eons

Timeline Eons FREE - maani.us



A graphical representation of the entire natural and human history. Use this app to build chart the timeline of your projects, whether it's history, geography, economics, art history etc.
There is a free version and paid version. The link above is to the free version.
The timelines are well populated (if not a little American Centric) with information, however the real beauty of this is that it is editable so students can build their own timelines, based on whatever topic you are teaching. 



Pento - Beijing Xuning Technology Limited


This Notebook app, is unlike others in that it allows rich media information like online videos, snapshots from websites, as well as the usual text, annotation and pictures. In fact I would go as far as to say that the notebooks that you create are as good as books created in the likes of Book Creator!

Users can browse webpages directly within the app. From here you can grab good relevant videos and paste them directly into the notebook. When importing photos from your library, there are a nice range of effects that can be applied to give them a distinguished look. 

The app is easy to use, and would be very useful for students (of all subjects and levels) to collate materials, revision notes, thoughts, relevant links and videos, in to one central notebook. You can create multiple notebooks, for each subject.


This is a relatively new app, so let's hope that it will grow with even more exciting features. It's currently Free in the App store.

The Spell Bot

Spell Bot - Walsall Academy


An app designed to help your students improve spellings. This could be used by primary schools, students with special ed needs, or even older students learning new languages.


As a teacher you can quickly create a test, using the simple interface. The design is not distracting. It's quick and easy to use, with immediate feedback to the student.

My Script Memo

MyScript Memo - Vision Objects


If you were impressed by the recent demo of MyScript Calculator this may be of interest to you. From the same team, this app will convert your handwriting into text, for you to send as an email, SMS, or simply to use in any other app.


You can import pictures from your camera roll and annotate to then export as an image again to be used in another app.


The app supports a number of different languages, and converts the text using MyScripts online servers (you can convert from your device by upgrading)

Best Sand Timer

Best Sand Timer - Smartphoneware



A visual Sand Timer that allows you to display to your students how much time they have left on a particular task.
Useful for tests, quizzes or project work.
You can time anything up to 60 minutes. 
Available on a number of different devices including iPhone, iPod, iPad


You can set an alarm to go off at the end of the timer, with 16 sound effects and songs to choose from. 


Too noisy

Too Noisy - Walsall Academy



A simple and effective app that measures the volume within your classroom and tells you if you are too noisy! A good visualisation tool, in particular, for Primary school students. 
You can adjust the sensitivity of the app itself, to compensate for larger/smaller rooms.

A simple and effective app that measures the volume within your too and tells you if you are too noisy! A good visualisation tool, in particular, for Primary school students. 
You can adjust the sensitivity of the app itself, to compensate for larger/smaller rooms.


The app can be run directly on the ipad or displayed on the classroom interactive whiteboard.


The app displayed here is the free app. There is a Pro app available also. What's the difference?

Source: www.toonoisyapp.com


What will you be doing in 2013? A look back at the apps that were catching your eye this year

With every New Year, people set challenges and resolutions for themselves, some are quickly broken and others are life changing! Looking back at what you were interested in on here, here is a quick and easy guide to the apps that caught your attention this year and links to their demos! (Simply click on each logo to be directed to their demo!)


Create and Present

The most popular apps that featured on this site focussed on your need to create and present content. This apps can be used by any teacher, regardless of subject. By far the most popular of these (and some would say an indication of what teachers are looking to do in the New Year) was iBooks Author, this is a fantastic app for those with a Mac, to create the most interactive books for iPad, iPod and iTouch devices. Second most popular in this category was Explain Everything, which puts your Interactive White Board into the palm of your hand. You can use it as your whiteboard and record lessons to be shared with students later or to be reused again. In third place, was Apple's Keynote app which allows you to create slick presentations on the go. Those without Mac's were also looking to create books on their iPads as our 4th most popular app in this category was Book Creator, allowing you to create those impressive books straight from your iPad to be shared with your students.


To get the video tutorial for each of these simply click on each of the respective app logos. 

iBooks AuthorExplain EverythingKeynoteBook Creator







Irish Apps

An interesting trend to see this year was that apps/demos that followed the Irish curriculum were picked up, not only by our Irish viewers but quite strongly by American colleges and high schools. Shakespeare in Bits, which is a fantastic and well-valued app, tops the list of Irish apps that you were looking at. Second place, goes to not an App but a series of Books from NUI Galway. The books which were launched this year, show how by using iBooks Author teachers can create their own content in an engaging and informative way. These books proved quite popular, particularly with our American visitors! Thirdly was our recent demo of Mocks.ie, which proved very popular considering how recent this demo has been and the time of year! We can expect this app to gain in popularity again over the coming few months!


Click on each image to be directed to their video demo:







A recent addition that we added to our demos was that of the inbuilt accessibility features of the iPad as well as review Special Education apps. These inbuilt features are useful for everyone, as shown by using the Speech selection feature to get your iPad to help with your learning/teaching of languages. In 2013, we will be adding more of these types of demos to show you how to make the most of your iPad and to customise it to get it to help your own individual learning styles.


Speech Selection 

Now WhatAssistive Touch






Finally, here are a couple of predictions for what will be hot for 2013! Teachers will continue to look for apps that allow them to create and present in more effective, engaging and (dare we say it) entertaining ways. Apps that allow teachers to share files with students will become more popular (eg Dropbox, Box, Evernote).  Teachers may start using the likes of iTunes U, to become course managers and have their classes subscribed to by their students on their own devices. Needless to say, 2013 will be an exciting year for everyone involved, and we look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Thomas Creighton. 

Assistive Touch

Assistive Touch on the iPad is an inbuilt accessibilty feature designed for those with physical impairments who may find traditional gestures and commands difficult. This can include people who have limited mobility in their hands and fingers or people who use assistive devices such as a stylus or head pointer. You can access all of the features of the physical buttons in the device, like volume control, screen rotation, mute, and also the shake function which allows you to undo any work. 


You can customise your own gestures, as well as accessing multitouch features of the iPad using single touches, all of which can be accessed using a floating button.

Get your iPad to read different languages

The iPad has some incredible in built functions, which were designed initially for users with accessibility requirements, but which can be used by anyone looking to try and learn new languages. This short guide gives you an insight into how you can 'Train" your iPad to recognise the different languages you are browsing in on Safari, and to get it to read selected text on these sites. 

It essentially allows you to combine to incredibly poweful tools, the fresh content of websites on a daily basis and the inbuilt accessibility features. 


60 Mins Documentary on iPad and Autism

I came across this video while reading tweets by parents who use iPads with their children who are autistic. This is a really interesting documentary about children with autism and how they are using iPads that are customised with specific assistive technology Apps. The documentary, which features on the US news programme 60 minutes, explores how the lifestyles of the children have been enhanced through the use of technology and mobile learning.