7 best iPad apps for learning outside of the classroom

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is journalist and blogger with a passion for technology and continued learning. She is currently a contributing writer for Muck Rack, Ragan and Technorati. When she isn't busy writing about the latest educational or tech trends, she loves spending time with her husband and playing video games.

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Often enough, having the device is only the beginning of the opportunity. Pittsburgh-based writer Kayla Matthews gives her top seven for your perusal.

It's the 21st century and our new generation of learners is extremely tech-savvy. With a wealth of information literally at their fingertips, why not gear them in the right direction and make them life-long learners? After all, learning isn't something that just happens inside the classroom. In fact, students should be expanding their minds and challenging their logic and reasoning skills constantly. What better way to do it than through their mobile device?

The iPad has some excellent apps available that allow students to independently educate themselves outside of the classroom. These programs not only enrich the mind, but also prove to be an outstanding resource to help with projects, writing assignments and other school-related tasks. While there are countless apps available, try one of these 7 apps below. They are guaranteed to steer learners in the right direction and think outside of the box.

1. Evernote

As so many classrooms are becoming technologically advanced, the availability of iPads and laptops are becoming a part of the "norm" in education today. With that said, Evernote is a great app that not only includes a free method for organizing information, but also can serve as a place for storing information, planning discussions and a great study tool. With its simple interface, the possibilities are endless.

2. Wordflex Touch Dictionary

If your students are tired of leafing through gigantic and awkward dictionaries, use this app to sort through a plethora of words. By utilising the iPad's multi-touch functions, you can explore the etymology of a word at the tip of your fingers. It's engaging, interactive, and allows students to search for new meanings and work towards a greater understanding of vocabulary.

3. EasyBib

We all cringe when we hear the word "citation" or "reference." The EasyBib app allows students to use a platform that makes citing sources a breeze. It's free, but your students have to include the right information to make sure their sources are cited properly. While this is a great tool to assist and double-check work, it's important to still teach students how to write a bibliography.

4. Google Maps

With easy GPS access, reading a map is becoming a dying art form. Use this free app to get reacquainted with your surroundings and show students how fun it can be to explore the world around them. You can search anything from a street view to a satellite view. Challenge your students to use this tool as a form of navigation to get from point A to point B.

5. Edmodo

This is the perfect app to stay connected between teachers, parents and students. This tool features easily accessible information about upcoming assignments, classroom news and due dates. This way, the learning and teacher-student connectivity can continue outside of the classroom. Students can develop a one-on-one conversation about their assignment and receive feedback while working on a larger project or something in chunks.

6. iTunesU

iTunesU is an excellent outlet for media about various educational topics and podcasts. Stream videos to become more acquainted on a certain topic or expand you and your students’ minds. For example, if a student is working on a health project and needs to research and identify drug abuse problems, they could easily pull up a video that details some of the symptoms and warning signs. Whatever the topic, this is a great source for outside information.

7. Simple Mind

Note-taking is an essential tool in which all students can benefit. With this easy app, all of your information becomes organized and streamlined. Students can set up their notes in web form and make sure their jottings are easy to understand and accessible for studying. When it comes to test time, students can use this app to study and review information independently or with a group.

They're Out There

Don't stop here. Be sure to explore the vast app world for ever-changing and evolving programs to help enlighten, inspire and create. After all, we all thirst for knowledge and it's important to keep in mind that real learning happens outside of the classroom's four walls.

Do you use iPads apps in the classroom? Share your experiences below!

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