The Best Free Android Apps for your Classroom

By Alex Marketing for iBallz on April 23, 2013   /   50languages android android tablet andromedia anydo Apple vs Android apps 4 kids apps for kids Apps in the classroom audioboo big fat canvas classroom apps Color Note Drop Box Ed tech edmodo Education Apps eduport Evernote Free Apps google docs google maps google nexus 7 how to draw mindjet minus mobile learning one note samsung galaxy skitch socratica sync space Tablet tablets in the classroom take a talk top free android apps tweetdeck vocalyze wave recorder web talks wifi file transer    /   0 Comments


Recently deployed Android tablets in your classroom?

Here at iBallz our universal nature lets us bridge the gap between Android and Apple - we fit on both!  We know many of our readers use Android tablets in their classroom, so when we found this awesome resource of great free educational apps for teachers and students (, we just had to share.  

This is a well curated list of "must haves" for any teacher with an android.  Each slide describes one of these most loved apps and includes a screens shot and links for download and to a longer review.  The apps featured are:

1) Evernote - Allows users to organize photos, to do lists, web pages, notes and reminders into searchable notebooks
2) Dropbox - shareable cloud file storage
3) Color Note - Notetaking app that looks like colored stickie notes
4) Edmodo - Allows educators to create a facebook like environment for just a specified group or class
5) Vocalyze - Provides written web content in an audio format
6) Google Maps - Like the web version, you can navigate and find places all over the world
7) Tweetdeck - Twitter organizer
8) Sync Space - A whiteboard app that creates documents and drawings
9) Skitch - Great for annotating pictures
10) Audioboo - Record audio clips and share them with others
11) Apps 4 Kids - Provides kid safe apps
12) Socratica - a web service that provides a wide range of educational apps covering everything from Greek mythology to arithmetic
13) Take a Talk - Another great audio recording app
14) 50Languages - One of the best apps for students learning new languages
15) Wave Recorder - a more robust voice recording app
16) AndroMedia - Easy to use video editing
17) How to Draw - An app for practicing drawing
18) Web Talks - Reads RSS feeds out loud
19) Minus - Allows users to upload and share files between android devices and computers
20) Big Fat Canvas - a great drawing app
21) WiFi File Transfer - allows users to transfer files to anything else on the wifi network
22) AnyDo - Dictate your to do list into your phone
23) Mindjet - An app used to create mind maps and diagrams
24) EduPort - Connects you to a library of educational videos
25) One Note - Great for taking notes quickly on the go
26) Google Docs - Create, edit, upload, and share documents and files

Are you using these top free Android apps in your classroom?  Let us know which are your favorite in the comments below!

Read More →

iBallz On The Road!

By Derek May on November 09, 2012   /   Acorn Media Bill Selak Camper Crywolf cue cue blog cue fall cue fall conference DEN design thinking Discovery Education Network EdApps EdTech EdTech Team Education Apps education technology elearning fall cue flipclass flipped classroom Google Apps for Education Google Apps for Education Summit Google Nexus Google tablet iBallz iPad iPadEd iPads in the Classroom Mark McWhinnie Microsoft mlearning napa Nexus 7 Nexus 7 Tablet OC Tech Fest OCDE Orange County Department of Education Samy's camera Surface tablet Technology in Education twitter twitter for teachers    /   0 Comments

It’s a new school year with new students, new challenges, and maybe even a little new technology!  Right after you settle into the new term but before you settle in for the holiday season comes a bevvy of Ed camps, conferences, and summits.  We were fortunate enough to get to jump in on a few here in California and had a blast meeting all the movers and shakers in Education Technology.

First we hit the Google Apps for Education summit in SF, which got us very inspired about apps!  Google really has a lot to offer educators and students.   Since the conference we have been working with the EdTech Team (, recently supporting their donation of Google Nexus 7 tablets to classrooms.  More info at 

Additionally in SF we attended and sponsored the integratEd SF conference.  At the conference we got to attend group sessions on BYOD program implementation, using social media to engage students and parents, and an amazing iPad 101 workshop presented by Mark McWhinnie (

Next we hit the road to beautiful Napa for the CUE Fall Conference, which we helped sponsor.  We towed the iBallz camper up north and set up shop in the courtyard of the beautiful American Canyon High School.  What incredible facilities!  The school is beautiful and pristine, complete with a field of solar panels guarded by a friendly group of sheep which came right up to greet us.  At the conference we got to hear workshops on everything from Twitter for Teachers by the ultra informative Bill Selak and we learned all about Design Thinking and it’s many problem solving applications.  We were amazed by all the creative educators at the conference, fearlessly experimenting with new and innovative models of teaching!

We then headed down to Orange County for the OC Tech Fest and boy were we in good company.  We demonstrated our wares at the Orange County Department of Education alongside Microsoft, Crywolf, Acorn Media, Samy’s Camera and more.  Microsoft recently came out with their new Surface tablet and iBallz is a perfect fit!  The festival was hosted by our friend Randy from the Discovery Education Network – if you haven’t checked out DEN, they are an incredible community of educators nationwide, a club of teachers who help each other learn and grow.  We’re a big fan of DEN here at iBallz!

Many thanks to all the EdTech conference organizers!  Keep in touch with iBallz for more tips on tablet education - Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter



Read More →

Top Note Taking Apps, Organized by the Feature You're Looking For

By Derek May on October 12, 2012   /   apps for disabilities aspergers autism EdApps EdTech Education Apps elearning Evernote flipclass free apps free education apps iBallz iPad iPad organization iPadEd iPads in the Classroom mlearning Notability note taking apps note taking apps for iPad organizing app Paperport Notes Pinterest Simplenote Sound Note SoundNote SpringPad    /   0 Comments

The most ubiquitously popular of the bunch: Evernote – Free – The most well known of the bunch, Evernote allows you to capture text notes, audio recordings, photos, and web clips and arrange them into neatly organized notebooks.  Evernote offers a host of organizing features, including tagging notes with keywords and notebooks can be synced and accessed through an iPhone, iPad, or desktop app, or through their site.  This app is great for those that want a scrapbook feel (great for bringing in information from a variety of sources) with high organization.

Most robust free app for taking lecture notes: Paperport Notes – Free – This great free note taking app allows you to annotate over imported documents or documents from the web, type or write freehand notes, highlight sections, and most notably dictate notes to text.  You can sync notes with Dropbox,, and other apps for easy access and sharing – not bad at all for a free app!

The most visually pleasing layout: SpringPad – Free – Pitched as an Evernote-meets-Pinterest app, SpringPad gives you much of the functions of Evernote with the visually oriented layout of Pinterest.  SpringPad lets you add photos, to-do lists, links, locations and more to board-like notebooks via a button on your browser or manually through their iPhone and iPad apps or web portal.  You can share specific notebooks with other people or add them as co-creators, allowing you to share content on a specific subject to a specific person rather than the whole shebang.  The app also has loads of other robust functions (for example if you import a location, it adds details like address and open hours), and is great for allowing teachers to share robust informational content with students, or for student paper and project collaboration, but would fall flat for students attempting to use it as a means for lecture notes.

The best inexpensive app for recording lectures while taking notes: Notability – $.99 – The most standout function of this app is that it allows you to record audio and take notes via handwriting or typing simultaneously – great for recording a lecture while taking notes.  Notes can be organized by subject or category and exported and synced through Dropbox.

The best app for recording audio while taking notes period: SoundNote - $4.99 – A hefty price by app standards, SoundNote takes the audio recording function to the next level.  This app not only allows you to record audio while you take notes, but you can click on a piece of text and replay the audio that was recorded while it was written.  Oh if I had only had this while I was in school!  Autistic, Asperger’s, and other special needs students find this app particularly useful.

For those that like to keep it simple: Simplenote - Free – As the name suggests, this is a very simple, unobtrusive, user friendly notetaking app, with well working basic functions.  Only drawback here is that notes can only be exported as email text.

Keep in touch with iBallz for more tips on tablet education Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter

Read More →

iPads and Autism: My Experience and App Recommendations for Teaching Kids with Developmental Differences

By Derek May on September 25, 2012   /   Angry Birds apps for disabilities Aspergers aspergers Autism autism Conversation Builder Developmental Differences Developmental Disabilities Easy Board EdApps EdTech Education Apps elearning iBallz iPad iPadEd Language Forest mlearning Nancy Barth Nancy Barth Tutoring Picture AAC Pocket Lexi Question Builder Scrabble Sosh Sound Literacy Sound Note SoundNote Stories2Learn Storyist Technology in Education The Magic Thief Tozzle Wood Puzzle    /   0 Comments

When my kids gave me an iPad for Christmas in 2010, I was really jazzed about my new toy.  I could take photos and videos, play music and Angry Birds. My grandson could use it for watching videos and playing simple learning games.  I could use it to teach my nephew (now 22), who has autism, how to play Scrabble.

At the time, I had no idea what a wonderful tool it would be for teaching and learning for kids with Autism/Asperger’s and similar developmental differences.  After just a few weeks, though, I started reading blog posts by parents of kids on the spectrum describing the amazing stuff happening as their kids started using iPads. Yes, they were learning new skills, but even more surprising, they were becoming more engaged with their parents and siblings.  Teachers were noticing the same things.

One teacher friend of mine uses the iPad and the app Sound Literacy to work on word-building with her students. Before, they would get frustrated trying to move small tiles around to make words.  With Sound Literacy, the tiles stayed in place and they could focus on spelling rather than picking up dropped tiles.  For younger children, apps like Tozzle and Wood Puzzle allow them to develop visual-motor and visual-perceptual skills while minimizing the need for fine motor expertise. No more spilled puzzles all over the floor! 

Speech, language, and social skills are important areas to work on for kids on the autism spectrum.  This is one place where the iPad really shines.  Apps such as Conversation Builder and Question Builder provide opportunities for the back-and-forth communication that is so important.  With Pocket Lexi and Language Forest, specific language needs can be targeted.

One of the most significant advances is the use of communication boards for those who are nonverbal.  I used to create communication books and social stories for my students. Having unending possibilities at your fingertips with the iPad is just an incredible improvement.  Most of these apps can be customized. Stories2Learn helps the parent or teacher create child-specific social stories, including using your own pictures and recording your own words. Others, such as Easy Board and Picture AAC use predetermined picture cards to create communication boards. Sosh is an amazing app for older teens and young adults that helps develop coping skills in different situations (and much more).

Over the course of several months, my nephew progressed from needing help with choosing every word in Scrabble to beating me in some games.  In addition to improving his spelling, he started using the app to find out the meanings of words I played.  I noticed him using some of those words in texts that he sent me.

When he wanted to tell me the stories he had locked in his head, I discovered apps like Sound Note and Storyist (more on that in a future post).  He had been struggling for months to master math facts, particularly division.  Operation Math came out and he took off.  He loved the spy mission theme, the subtle word plays, and winning badges.  He actually passed eight levels of division without any help from me.

Being able to read books on the iPad is another advantage.  As we progressed through one, The Magic Thief, he was able to use the highlight feature to mark similes and metaphors (of which there are an abundance in this series!).   If we wanted to, he could have also used the note-taking feature to type short comments about what he was reading.  I had a couple of Walter Mitty stories in a book, and after reading those, he used my iPad to find an animated video of one.  We could have used the computer, but the iPad was handier!

From the ABCs to spelling, from pointing to pictures to holding conversations, from reading books to writing them, the iPad is turning out to be “all that jazz” and more for kids on the autism spectrum, their families, and their teachers.  It certainly went beyond my wildest dreams back on that Christmas day in 2010. 

Nancy Barth is a retired special education teacher.  She tutors children and adults with autism and dyslexia in the Fresno area and also remotely via Skype. To learn more and join the discussion, visit her blog where you can find posts about iPad apps, reading, writing, handwriting, math, processing disorders, social skills, organizational skills and more.

Be the first to know about new offerings, specials, and other fun stuff: Sign up for “The Spark” on her blog and you’ll get a complimentary copy of the eBook "The Wonderful World of Apps for Educators of All Levels."

Many thanks to Nancy for guest posting!  Keep in touch with iBallz for more tips on tablet education - Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter

Read More →