So your school has purchased a class set of iPads and you want to be able to use them in a meaningful way. And, finally, the school administration has lifted the ban on personal devices and cell phones are allowed in the classroom under the supervision of teachers. What do you do?
First, begin considering how smart phones and ipads/tablets can complement what you do in the classroom. Students are engaged by the technology and, if well managed, the devices will become an incredible learning tool. You need to demystify the cell phone. If you are planning to use cell phones in class, ask the students to place their cell phones on the corner of their desks in full view. This is where the phone stays unless it is being used for educational purposes.
Second, consider your teaching style and what is it that you want to achieve. Does your teaching style primarily make use of lecture or do you focus on collaborative activities or are you somewhere in the middle? Your teaching style will determine what types of apps you will choose to use. The three types of apps are generally "productivity apps", "interactive apps", and "reference apps."
Productivity apps allow students to create. Interactive apps require students to work with the app to receive feedback. Reference apps provide information but don't require the students to interact or input anything.
If your style is more lecture focused, then you will probably use reference apps periodically where as if you use collaborative activities you may find the productive and interactive apps more appealing. It really depends on your style.
Third, limit yourself to two to three apps per course. Don't underestimate the learning curve of the app; always allow the students to play with the app for homework before working with it in class. Ensure the app is used for meaningful learning not just playing with technology.
Fourth, after you try the app out as a learning activity, be sure to assess its use. Ask the students if the app provided a beneficial learning experience.
So, pick an app, test drive it and determine if it can provide a meaningful learning experience. Here are some mostly free subject specific apps from iTunes:
3D Cell: Learn about the cell and all its structures using our new 3D Cell iPhone application tool. Enjoy the ability to rotate the cell 360 degrees and zoom in on any cell structure. Visit the cell structure screen and learn more about how each structure functions. In this application you can also watch videos from our live cell video library as well. (Reference)
iCell: Compares animal, plant and bacteria cell. (Reference)
Genetic Code: Genetic Code is a handy reference tool for students and researches. The application visualizes standard genetic code as well as provides information about 20 amino acids and their abbreviations. (Reference)
Instant Heart Rate: Determines heart rate (Interactive)
Mitosis: Cell division (Interactive and Reference)
Virtual Cell Animations: The Virtual Cell Animations app includes an animation, still images, narrative, and content quiz. Version 1.0 contains the Photosynthesis and Electron Transport modules.
Frog Dissection: NOT FREE, $3.99 for iPad (interactive)
Lab Timer: LabTimer is a count-up and alarming count-down multi-timer. (interactive)
Skeptical Science: Ever heard someone claim Global Warming isn't happening? Did their explanation seem wrong but you didn't know why? Be careful with this one as you need to consider both sides of the discussion. (reference)
Earth Observer: ($0.99) Explore your planet as never before with the mobility of EarthObserver. Use your fingertips to travel through terrestrial landscapes and across the ocean floor. Visit frozen icecaps, study geological maps, scout mountains to climb and trips on coastal waters and exploit a rich atlas of other earth and environmental imagery. (reference)
3D Brain: Use your touch screen to rotate and zoom around 29 interactive structures. Discover how each brain region functions, what happens when it is injured, and how it is involved in mental illness. Each detailed structure comes with information on functions, disorders, brain damage, case studies, and links to modern research. (interactive, reference)
Project Noah: Project Noah is the best way to share your wildlife encounters and help document our planet's biodiversity (interactive, reference, productivity)
Leaf Snap: Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. (reference, interactive)
The Chemical Touch Lite: periodic table (reference)
Organic Chemistry Nomenclature: The Organic Chemistry Nomenclature Quizillator has been designed to help you master organic chemistry by practicing the identification, naming and recognition of organic molecules and their functional groups according to the IUPAC guidelines. (reference and interactive)
Lewis Dots: Lewis Dots allows the generation and manipulation of chemical structures depicted as their Lewis dot diagrams. Start by adding individual atoms to the canvas and adding them together, matching their lone electrons to others' lone electrons. Dragging and dropping electrons to match them, bonds will be automatically created. (interactive)
Video Science: A growing library of over 80 hands-on Science lessons that are great for home and the classroom. These short videos demonstrate inexpensive and easy to recreate experiments that are designed to inspire and excite kids of all ages. (reference)
Elements Test: The Elements Test helps you to learn each chemical element's name and symbol as in the Periodic Table of Elements. (interactive)
OChem: O-Chem was made for you so you can spend your time studying organic chemistry instead of making flashcards. Makes learning functional groups easy. Plain, simple, and FREE! (interactive)
Chem Lab: NOT FREE! $0.99. Chem Lab offers high school students a chance to build simple chemical compounds in an approachable game-like environment. (interactive)
Chemistry Formula Practice Lite: Chemistry Formulas Practice stimulates students’ mastery of the fundamental skill of naming compounds and writing formulas. The practice categories include ionic and molecular compounds, acids, bases, polyatomic ions, hydrocarbons, and organic functional groups. Students may choose their pace as they work from formula to name or name to formula. (interactive)
Titration Simulator: ($0.99): Beginning chemistry students can use this app to get a feel for conducting an acid-base titration and solving for unknown concentration. (interactive)
iCelcius: Not an app but a sensor that attaches to the iphone or iPad. (interactive)
Physics Pro: Tired of struggling with Physics? Let “Physics Pro” ease your pain. This application covers six topics. (interactive, reference)
iPhysics ($0.99) Find and prioritize formulas in groups. (reference)
Physics Formulas for High School ($0.99) Physics Formulas for High School puts at your fingertips all the constants and formulas you need to know to ace High School Physics, SAT Physics subject test and AP Physics B and C. (reference)
iProfessor!-Physics ($1.99) A quick reference guide for physics students that include physics concepts with definitions of common terms, formulas and illustrations. (reference)
Physics I ($0.99) This app consists of about 20 simple physics calculators covering many concepts from high school physics. (interactive)
Phy-phys. formulas and calculator ($1.99) Phy is the perfect companion for physics students. The more than 120 formulas cover the topics mechanics, relativity, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and electrodynamics. Phy also consists of a scientific calculator. (reference)
Physics Quiz ($1.99) This application will help you revise for your final Physics exams. It is based on the A-levels curriculum, but can also be helpful for those studying for other equivalent exams. (reference, interactive)
Newton’s Laws ($0.99) Study and understand Newton’s Laws of Motion right on your favorite mobile device. (interactive)
Physics Formulas ($0.99) This application can provide every possible formula for anyone who studies Physics. It can be used to build your own formulas reference in Physics. (interactive)
Physics Bites!-Lenses ($0.99) The purpose of Physics Bites! is to give the user a chance to better understand certain concepts in physics by playing with tiny simulations (or “Bites”). Each Bite allows the user to change several parameters but is designed to be simple enough to not overwhelm the user with controls…
Laws of Physics ($0.99) Learning physics has never been so much fun. “Laws of Physics” app satisfies all the needs of physics. Gone are the days when you have to browse through big fat physics books to search for Newton’s formula or Snell’s law. (interactive)
Wind Tunnel ($1.99) Turn your iPad/iPhone into a wind tunnel simulator!(interactive)
WolframAlpha ($1.99): Wolfram|Alpha has rapidly become the world's definitive source for instant expert knowledge and computation. (Interactive)
Vernier Video Physics ($2.99) *2012 CODiE Awards Finalist - Best Educational Use of a Mobile Device*
Video Physics brings physics video analysis to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Take a video of an object in motion, mark its position frame by frame, and set up the scale using a known distance. Video Physics then draws trajectory, position, and velocity graphs for the object. Share video, graphs and data to facebook, your Photo Library and to your computer running Vernier's Logger Pro software. (interactive)
This is a start. Please comment if you know of other great science apps appropriate to high school science!