Love the people. Dislike the travel.

It’s the short version of my summer. Working with teachers and educators around the country, talking about iPads and social studies and Common Core and . . . well, lots of different stuff. And I always enjoy meeting and have conversations with some incredible folks. Just not a big fan of airport security and delayed flights and rental car companies and . . . well, lots of stuff.

But it just hit me that I haven’t shared any of my latest iPad app favorites that I’ve discovered this summer. Today, five apps that I’ve been playing with lately that I really like.

Okay, six. Sort of. Because AirServer isn’t an iPad app, it’s a piece of software that you install on your wireless computer. Using the iPad’s AirPlay feature, you can then mirror your iPad to your computer – which, of course, you hook to a projector and now you’ve got yourself a very inexpensive version of Apple TV. (Apple TV is the best way to go but many schools haven’t made the financial decision to have these in classrooms so . . . )

I use AirServer all the time. Very handy for demos, for student work, and for using apps that everyone needs to see.

National Parks by National Geographic
A beautiful, and interactive guide to twenty of the most-visited U.S. national parks. Each park guide has all the information you’ll need to know before you go: local time, weather, how to get there, when to go, where to camp or stay, what to do, what to see, and so much more. You can use the app to study regions, geographic features, map skills, impact of humans on the environment, environmental history, really just about anything in a geography class. You find:

  • Global and interactive map views with filtering by activity and seasonality
  • Personalized user space to track your favorite parks, activities, itineraries, photos, and more
  • Thousands of points of interest, all tagged with GPS coordinates for easy planning and locating
  • The top must-sees and must-dos for each park

The app itself is free as is your first detailed park guide. (Even without the detailed guides, the app has tons of stuff.) After that, it’s $1.99 per guide.

Based on the HistoryPin online tool, their mobile app is a way for people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history. It llets you discover windows into the past by seeing and interacting with the history all around you.

The app reveals photos near your current location and allows you to view them layered over the modern scene in front of you. You can also explore Collections of some of the best old photos from around the world, wherever you are.

You can add your own piece of history and pin it to the map, too, by using your phone to digitise an old photo, capture a modern moment of historic importance, or take a modern replica of a photo on the app.

Maplets is the perfect compliment to Google Maps: You can download and store maps of national parks, state parks, metro, subway, bike maps, ski resorts, college campuses, zoos, theme parks and more! Works on both iPad, iPhone, and iPod. Perfect for field trips, perfecting map skills, learning more about regions, human geography, etc.


  • Every map download is free, with a continually updated source of maps.
  • High Resolution – Maps can be as high resolution as 10000×10000
  • Once maps are downloaded, they are stored on the device for quick access even if you have slow or no internet connection at the location.
  • GPS location for supported maps
  • Organize your maps into folders
  • Hotlinks to get up-to-date information such as weather, snow report

iCardSort is an excellent brainstorming tool that helps you to visually organize ideas quickly and easily.  Perfect for the Word Sorts vocabulary strategy, iCardSort allows you to group, order, and explore your possibilities.  Can be used as a presentation tool, by groups of students, or individually. Kids can create their own Word Sorts

This handy app features 25 graphic organizers for students to use to organize their thinking while reading or preparing to write. Covers all common comprehension skills: cause /effect, main idea/detail, sequence events, pro/con, story elements, characterization, word meaning, plot, KWL and much more. Kids can save to their finished work to the iPad or email them to you.  Have kids use it to organize notes while reading or as a pre-write activity. Basically, anything you use graphic organizers for now can be done on Tools4Students with the added advantage of anywhere/anytime access.