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Apps for Authentic Learning-No Games!

bright ideas

It is Bright Ideas time again!  I am joining some of my favorite bloggers to bring you some fabulous ideas for your classroom.  You get to go from blog to blog and read some great ideas!

I am sharing with you today some great iPad apps!  No Games!  When I got iPads in my classroom, it was important to me to find some apps that enhance my students' learning, not playing games.  I do let them do that a bit too!  But about 95% of our iPad use is authentic activities that promote their learning time. 

Word Cloud

bright ideas for the classroom

I know a lot of you are familiar with making word clouds or Wordles.  Now you can on your iPad!  This is a free app from  Easy, easy to use!  Students type in the words and the app creates the word cloud.  Students can choose color schemes, fonts, etc...

Just a few ways that this can be used are character traits at the beginning of a story and then a new word cloud at the end of the story if the character goes through a change.  It could be used for new vocabulary found in informational text, informational text features found in the text, new learning, etc...  Lots of possibilities!  Students can then email the cloud to you.


Bright Ideas for the classroom

Are you on Instagram?  If you are, you may be familiar with InstaCollage.  But you could use InstaCollage for more than just Instagram.  I used this app last year during summer school.  I took pictures of what my students were doing and involved with and then emailed them periodically to the parents. The parents really enjoyed seeing what their children were doing and what they were learning at school.

iPad app ideas to use in the classroom

Another way to use this could be for rewards.  When you catch a child being great you could snap a picture of them holding a special Great Kid Award and share it with InstaCollage to the parent!  What parent wouldn't LOVE getting that picture of their child??  You can jazz the picture up with different frames and stickers too.  

Students could use InstaCollage to create their own collages of pictures taken on field trips, to document science experiments, etc...The collage is saved as a jpg when emailed.


ipad apps to use in the classroom

So many ways to use Popplet with your students!  It is basically little boxes that you can add to the screen and you can draw or write in them.

ipad apps for the classroom

Here we used the Popplets as a quick sketch for Beginning, Middle, and End.  

ipad apps for learning in the classroom

My second graders used them for dividing words into syllables.  We have been working hard on that skill!  

You could use Popplet for prefixes, root or base words, and endings.  Students could use the boxes for brainstorming before writing or any concept mapping.  

Show Me 

iPad apps for learning in the classroom

This is an app we use almost every single day!  Show Me is like a wipe off board on the iPad.  When teaching sight words, we write them on Show Me.  If I need my RtI students to use a new word in a sentence, they go to Show Me app.  Writing beginning sounds heard in a word (or middle or ending sounds) works really well for the younger students.  Another feature of Show Me is the recording feature.  Students can record themselves reading a passage for the first time and then again after practicing the passage.  They can then listen to the difference.  Or you can keep the recordings over time so you can hear the progression in their fluency skills.

I sure hope you enjoyed these iPad ideas!  I know I loved finding great apps to use in my classroom.  Hopefully you are already following my blog.  Please do follow me if you aren't!  

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, Instagram, and TpT for more great ideas!

For more bright ideas from my bloggy friends, please look through the link-up below.  You will find some terrific ideas!


  1. I need to figure out how to use my ipad in the classroom. You've got some great ideas here!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Thanks for the great app ideas! I will definitely be trying these with my kiddos.

    1. You are so welcome, Mrs S! I hope your kids like using them!

  3. This is great! I'm always looking for apps for my school ipad!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

    1. Thank you Sally! I am always looking for great apps to use too. :)

  4. The "Show Me" app looks especially interesting as my daughter is just starting sight words. Thanks for sharing these - I don't want her to just play games on our iPad either!

    1. Emma, we use the Show Me app all the time! So easy for the kids to practice all kinds of learning on it. So glad you came by!

  5. I'm loving Popplet and Word Cloud. We already use ABCya so much - I can't believe I missed that one! Popplet will be perfect for word chunks, multi- step math problems.... I'll be using it next week when we go back! ~ Lisa

    1. I like your ideas for Popplet, Lisa! Thanks for sharing that!

  6. Great ideas! I'm always glad to see teachers using technology for something other than just vocabulary or math games! (Which are fun from time to time... don't get me wrong... but not the best use of a pretty hefty educational investment, whether it be by parents or by a school district / school)

    Madame Aiello @ Teaching FSL

    1. Thanks Tammy! When I got the iPads it was important to me to find apps that were good for learning, but not just games. So glad you came by!

  7. Great ideas! Using gadgets doesn't have to mean games. Nice post. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

    1. Thanks so much, Brandee! I agree, there is so much more out there to use than just games!

  8. Ooh! Popplet! That seems like such a useful idea for my kids that are tired of writing with pen and paper! And it's available for android! woop woop! Thanks for the ideas :)
    G-Iron Tutor

    1. You are so welcome! Thank you for coming by!

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  10. So I'm just now catching up on some blog posts and this post is right up my alley! I am right there with you on using the iPad for authentic learning- it's not just a toy...and I just pinned both your instacollage idea and the word clouds- will be trying the word cloud out very soon in my room- I didn't know it could be done on the iPads.
    P.S. I think I pin something from your blog nearly every time I read your posts- you are so great, Lori! :)
    Learning to the Core


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