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Tip of the Week: C4 Framework iPad Apps

I had a great time yesterday with a group of secondary social studies teachers – we got to spend the entire day talking about integrating technology into their classrooms. How cool is that?

Yup. You’re right. Very cool.

It was the kind of day where we got to chat about a whole bunch of different stuff. We jumped from best practice to assessments to Google Earth to online primary sources to the pros/cons of BYOD initiatives. We also talked a bit about iPads and iPad apps.

So  . . . today’s tip? A list of iPad apps aligned to my C4 Framework. The Framework is designed to help teachers develop quality lesson and unit designs that focus on historical thinking skills.


  • Instashare
    Transfer files the easy way, just drag & drop the file and we will handle the rest. Available for iOS and Mac OS X, support for different systems coming soon.
  • Maplets
    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! In addition, this is an iPhone and iPad universal app so there’s no need to purchase the app separately for all your devices.
  • The World in Figures
    The Economist World in Figures iPad edition displays facts and figures for more than 190 countries around the world. Rank and compare countries, test your knowledge of country-related trivia and share fun facts via Twitter and Facebook.
  • Disney Learning Presidents
    Take a seat in the Oval Office and flip through the Unofficial Oval Office Scrapbook, where some of the most important, and sometimes most surprising, presidential milestones are recorded.
  • Virtual Rome
    A fantastic voyage to Ancient Rome, the capital of the largest empire in the ancient world, which has been reconstructed in virtual form and which you can explore in a “full-immersion” panoramic experience.
  • The States
    Explore the states were formed, from the original thirteen to the fifty states of today. You also have access to every presidential election, through both maps and description popups.
  • Barefoot World Atlas
    Fly at will around a beautiful 3D globe. Explore the world’s continents, great oceans and changing environments. Meet different people around the planet and find out about their way of life. Encounter amazing wildlife, discover landmarks, natural features and famous buildings. Delve deeper to discover a wealth of facts and insights including live data for every country from Wolfram|Alpha.
  • Discovery and Exploration Maps
    This app is a rich illustrated collection highlighting how great explorers increases our knowledge about their lives and discoveries. The oldest map dates back to 84 CE and the most recent from 1854. There are some amazing old drawings and details.
  • National Parks by National Geographic
    National Geographic presents a beautiful, award-winning interactive guide to 25 of America’s most visited national parks. Included free are photo galleries, visitor information, and maps. Purchase the full guides for an even richer experience—and explore the national parks like never before.
  • Newspapers
    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.
  • American Presidents
    American Presidents is a beautifully designed, well-written overview of the history of the United States seen through passages on every American President’s life. Each biography is crafted to be both clear, concise yet still detailed.


  • Edmodo
    Makes it easy for teachers and students to stay connected and share information. Use your iOS device to send notes, submit assignments, post replies, and check messages and upcoming events while away from the classroom.
  • European Exploration: The Age of Discovery
    Explore the new world as a European power in the 15th Century by funding and sending expeditions out into the unknown. Hire captains, build ships, and outfit voyages to learn of the wonders of the new world. Expeditions can be dangerous however, so be careful or else Europe may never hear of your discoveries!
  • US Geography by Discovery
    Discovery Education’s U.S. Geography app for iPhone and iPod Touch is the perfect way to become an expert in U.S. Geography while being entertained for hours on end. With dozens of breathtaking videos, interactive gameplay, global competition and sharing — there’s never been a more exciting and engaging way to experience U.S. Geography!
  • Gettysburg Battle App
    The app is designed specifically to be used as a virtual guide while you are actually on the battlefield. It uses the GPS in your iPhone, iPod, or iPad to help direct you from one spot on the battlefield to another. But it has so much handy info like interactive maps, video clips, photos, facts, order of battle lists, and short articles, that you can use it as a teaching and learning tool no matter where you are.
  • Explain Everything
    A screencasting app, Explain Everything integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and Evernote.  The integration with these cloud storage tools allows students to collaborate asynchronously on group projects. Once in the app, projects can be combined, edited and uploaded back to a shared cloud storage folder.
  • Book Creator
    A digital book creation app, students can collaborate  asynchronously on group projects. Once students are done creating their book with a combination of text, images, video, audio and hyperlinks, the book can be uploaded to cloud services like Dropbox.  Once uploaded, the ePub file can be accessed by anyone with rights to the shared folder.
  • Dropbox / SendToDropbox
    Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Access any file anywhere, anytime. lets students send their work directly to your Dropbox account.
  • Padlet
    A web-based tool that integrates well on an iPad. Padlets can be created by a teacher or student, customized with a specific URL and privacy and editing settings can be adjusted. Once created, the Wall can be accessed through any browser on their iPad.  By double tapping on the wall, sticky notes with either text or images pulled from the camera roll can be added to the wall.


  • Sock Puppets / Toontastic / Tellagami
  • Three free, fun apps that can be used to help kids summarize content and create products.
  • Archiving Early America
    Discover early America’s historic sites as you tour the 13 original colonies. Each colony offers guideposts to visit the historic places that are part of the American heritage. Prepare for your trip with locations, visiting hours, directions — everything you need for your visit to America’s historic sites. Plus, easy GPS routing shows you how to find your way to each site.
  • ArcGIS
    ArcGIS is a great way to discover and use maps. Tap on the map or use your current location and discover information about what you see. You can query the map, search and find interesting information, measure distances and areas of interest, find community hosted maps, create your own maps, and share them with others.
  • A Trip in the USA – Mom, It’s Me!
    This interactive book app tells the story of a trip to several US cities where you learn about the geography and history of that place. One of the nicest things about this app is that you can personalize it with the face and gender of your kids so the story becomes about them. Kids can even embed their own narration into the story.
  • iLife / iWorks Apps
    Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, iPhoto, Garageband
  • TouchCast
    A new medium that looks like video, but feels more like the web. A TouchCast is a video that is fully browsable, responsive, and alive. Webpages, images, and an assembly of video Apps (vApps) can be tapped for a two-way video experience. It’s a TV studio in your hands. Create broadcast-quality videos with a built-in teleprompter, green screen, visual filters, sound effects, and titles.
  • Flowboard
    Flowboard is a presentation & storytelling app that allows anyone to make side-scrolling publications with images, text, videos, PDFs, links, & photo galleries. Whether you have a story to tell, an idea to share, or a presentation to give, Flowboard allows you to create & present right from your iPad, or share to any device. Flowboards are fun, stylish, & entertaining.


  • DocsTeach
    Engage in activities that will help you make sense of stories, events, and ideas of the past using documents from the holdings of the US National Archives. Choose an historical topic and challenge yourself with an activity. Or, find activities in a classroom set up just for you, using the code provided to you from the website.
  • Kahoot
    Kahoot is a lot like Socrative or Infuse Learning. It’s a student response system with a twist. Not an app but designed for use on mobile devices (it still works great on laptops, etc). Get a review of the tool here.
  • Pocket Law Firm
    A free app based on the very cool iCivics website. Using  knowledge of Constitutional amendments, players act as lawyers, go to court, and fight their cases. Decide if potential clients have a right, match them with the right lawyer, and win the case.
  • iCard Sort
    Do card sorts and word sorts right on your iPad by placing each concept, option or word on a card, optionally adding an image and then visually organizing ideas quickly and easily. In the classroom, on a business project, when writing, or at home, great for vocabulary, planning, outlining, categorizing, brainstorming, etc.

Have fun!

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