Wednesday, April 2, 2014

iPad Essentials: Window Shopping in the App Store

While recently conducting a few "iPad 101"-style workshops for educators and clinicians, including a webinar for ASHA available on-demand, I have been talking a lot about finding and getting ideas about helpful apps. I discussed this in a post a bit back mentioning resources including Smart Apps for Kids, Yapp Guru and Apps Gone Free, but it's also worth noting the "window shopping" one can do in the App Store app itself.

Although the information the App Store provides is far from comprehensive (I always recommend looking at app demos on YouTube before purchasing) and reviews can be quite skewed or unhelpful, it gives you a good visual "first pass" to new ideas. The App Store has also recently improved in its organization, which primarily is what we'll focus on in this post.

I use the term "window shopping" because the App Store is essentially a storefront from Apple and an avenue to display things that look attractive together-- collections! Upon opening the App Store, the Featured tab is an area that is a good idea to check out about once a week, primarily because Apple's "App of the Week" is always free. If Apple has singled an app out in this way out of the zillions available, you can be assured it is pretty neat-o, and many of the Apps of the Week are kid- or education-related.

Note also that the menu at the top of the App Store leads you to some relevant areas for SLPs and language interventionists. Tap Kids (and then an age range) and this will bring you to educational, creative, or game-based apps that may be repurposed for therapy and learning activities. 

Under the More tab, there are several areas to explore. The Education area has great curriculum-based apps that can be used to provide visual and interactive experiences with content...

...and includes terrific Collections, among them the Apps for Every Grade Collections- especially helpful for those who struggle to find relevant apps for Middle and High Schoolers.

The More tab in the top menu also brings you to the Medical category, which has many apps relevant to clinical work.

Exploring the App Store will lead you down new avenues and provide a great opportunity to hone your evaluation skills: which apps seem to be FIVES-Friendly: Fairly Priced, Interactive, Visual, Educationally Relevant, and "Speechie" or Specific to intervention objectives?

Happy window shopping!! Let us know if you find something good...

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