Back to School season is here, and it is time to load up on the essential gadgets and apps for the classroom. Apple (AAPL) is making it easier to find and purchase iPhone and iPad apps to help your child succeed. Teachers should benefit too.
Yes, the company has always provided special programs for students and schools, offering big discounts to buyers with a .edu email address and spreading its hardware throughout the nation's classrooms. Now Apple is moving into the world of back-to-school apps.
If classrooms start buying iPads for students to use the touch-screen tablet as an educational tool, Apple now allows app developers to offer bulk pricing. Discounts for apps that run on Apple's iOS platform can reach 50 percent, according to TheNextWeb blog.
"To opt in, developers need to agree to the new sales agreement paperwork and check a single box to get their apps into the discount game," writes Alex Wilhelm.
Schools are starting to use iPads as a school tool, as Wilhelm points out that the Stanford Medical School is giving iPads to all incoming students.
Just as iPods became popular for podcast lectures, schools are starting to experiment with the iPad's potential. At Oklahoma State University, professor Bill Handy will use the iPad in his communication classes this fall, reports the USA Today, to test its effectiveness as a teaching tool.
"This is not research to prove that the iPad is great," Handy says. "There's a lot riding on what direction the university might take. If it's not beneficial, (I'll be) glad we figured that out early in the game."
In another use, an Weaverville, N.C., company is building an iPad app to help high school kids tour potential colleges.
“A school could send someone out with a paper map, but that's not the right thing to do. You want to do everything you can to facilitate their needs, so in this circumstance, they'll be given an iPad,” The Parish Group's Eric Bryan tells the Asheville Citizen-Times.
What apps are good for school?
- For elementary school-aged kids, here are suggestions to improve math skills.
- Do you have a child with special needs? Egolfer6, a speech-language pathologist, offers his top 5 apps for special education.
- If you're child is interested in learning music, Woodwindtech (a music teacher and gadget fiend) recommends these apps.
- Preparing for college entrance exams? Jenniferalaine offers suggestions to improve vocabulary and math skills.
- And for teachers looking for an edge, jnxyz offers this list of "cutting-edge" apps that could find a place in the classroom.
You can find many more ideas -- or create a list of your own -- by checking out education lists at Appolicious.com.
Finally, if you're looking for additional back-to-school tech tools, there is no shortage of resources. CNET offers a comprehensive school "gift guide" that suggest software downloads, hardware and top picks from its various editors.
For teachers, Education World offers tech activities to use in the classroom. This guide offers basic ideas -- such as how to use computers in the classroom -- that is useful for new teachers or older educators who want to learn new tricks.