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Five iPad apps you can’t live without

No. They’re probably not as important as food, water and air but these five iPad apps are pretty close. They can help you survive your day to day by providing tools for product creation, information gathering and political fact checking.

Book Creator
Book Creator is a simple way to quickly and easily create your own iBooks. When you’re finished, read them in iBooks, send them to your friends or submit them to the iBookstore. The app is perfect for creating picture books, photo books, tutorials, textbooks and student projects of all kinds.

I’m a big believer in the idea that we need to be providing online, mobile access to our content. Book Creator gives you and your students a way to generate and publish ePub formatted stuff without a lot of trouble. It’s got some handy tools for layout, multi-media and publishing. Find out more by viewing the video and tutorials.

ShowMe is an app in the same vein as Book Creator but rather than making a book, ShowMe provides a way to create a presentation with voiceover. It’s basically a doodle pad that allows you to write, insert images and graphics while you talk. These “presentations” are then automatically posted online for kids to access.

Seems like a great way for you to share writing prompts, quick mini-lectures and content reviews. You could also have kids use ShowMe to create simple projects that you could easily access online. See examples and tutorials online.

As history and social studies teachers, we’ve been using current events and newspapers for years as part of our instruction. The new Newspapers app gives you access to over 5000 newspapers from around the world. The app separates the world into Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, The Americas and the United States. You select a region, then country or state and then city. The link will take you directly to that newspaper’s site.

Newspaper article links can emailed or saved to Instapaper from the preview so that you can read later offline with your Instapaper account.

Speaking of Instapaper . . . this app gives you the ability to store online content on your iPad for later, offline reading. Save web pages for later reading, optimized for readability by deleting ads, images and other unnecessary web stuff. The cool thing is that “Sending to Instapaper” is supported by over 140 other iPhone and iPad apps. You can even send long emails to Instapaper.

Great for long articles and blog posts that you find during the day and would like to read, but don’t have the time when you find them. Save with Instapaper, then read later after school, in a meeting or whenever you have time.

I’ve written before about the St. Petersburg Times Truth-O-Meter. It’s a great way for you and your students to keep track of campaign promises, statements and press releases. The people in St. Petersburg track everything down and score them on the Truth-O-Meter.

For example, when Rick Perry stated in the September 12, 2011 Republican debate that the “first round of stimulus . . . it created zero jobs,” the Truth-O-Meter banged over to Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

The app tracks by people, promises, trends, stories and subjects. A great way to talk about politics and current events with actual facts rather than “truthiness.”

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