Thursday, January 30, 2014

Three iPad Apps I Use Everyday

I can't believe it's been three years since the school system I work in gave every administrator an iPad. It was an eye-opening experience. We were required to attend a professional development session during which our instructional technology staff walked us through setting up our devices. I remember one person celebrating when she realized her iPad still worked after she spilled coffee on it. I also remember one person in tears when she dropped her iPad in the parking lot (the screen cracked, by the way) as we were leaving the session.

My iPad and I have had a GREAT working relationship. When I first got it, I tried to do everything on it. As time went on, though, I figured out what tasks were appropriate for iPads and what tasks should be left to the computer. I'm pretty fortunate to have a laptop with a docking station in my office. So as the title indicates, I want to share the three iPad apps I use every day.

#1 - Observation 360 
Our school system requires us to enter all teacher observations in a program called Observation 360. It's part of the PD360 family. While one is able to use Observation 360 on any computer, I really do find it less imposing if I sit in the back of the room typing away on my iPad. What I really like about Observation 360 is that I can sit in a classroom, perform an observation, and send a copy of it to the teacher as soon as I finish. In most cases, I try to send the observation to the teacher before I leave their classroom. In addition, I also send them a calendar invite for their follow-up conference at the same time!

#2 - Notability
I have tried several note-taking apps, and keep going back to Notability. I find it very versatile and easy to navigate. If I'm in a PLC meeting or PD session, I can open a note page and just start typing away. If during that session I see something I want to take a picture of, I can take a pitcure with my iPad camera and upload it to that note. I can then use my stylus to write notes on that picture. I can even embed hyperlinks to cool websites shared during that session. Later, I can share my notes with my colleagues with the click of a button!

#3 - Twitter
I'm quickly beginning to realize why people become addicted to Twitter. If I have a second during the day, I'll take a quick glance at my feed. I will say that I've been a lot more methodical about setting up my Twitter account than I have my Facebook account. Facebook is for fun. Its where I stay connected with my out-of-state fans and post funny cat pictures. Twitter is for work. I follow all my favorites including @RickWormelli, @SirKenRobinson, @RichardBranson, and @ArneDuncan. I also follow CNN, the Huffington Post and ASCD just to name a few. It's amazing the ideas that can be generated from reading 120 characters of text.

I know there are other apps I use on a daily basis, but the ones I mentioned above are the ones that get opened for one reason or another every day. I would love to know what you may use to help support your own professional growth and development if you care to comment.

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