So, many of you know I teach in addition to writing. For years I taught English to middle school students, which allowed me a unique insight into the types of books they love and which authors they like to read. However, this year I’ve switched to teaching a “Smart Tech” class where my students all have iPads. Basically, I scour the app store finding cool, educational apps to use with my students and then create projects around them.
Some of My Favorite iPad Apps
- Book Creator – my students created a picture book about a sea creature after they went to Sea World for a field trip.
- Words with Friends – my students challenge a classmate to this classic game.
- Welder – an individual word game – fun!
- Isaac Newton’s Gravity – a challenging game where students use simple tools to propel a ball through an obstacle course.
- Dark Tales: Murders of the Rue Morgue – my students try to solve the classic Edgar Allan Poe mystery. Fun Fact: Did you know Poe actually created the detective mystery genre? Yep, he was the first writer to use a detective, named C. Auguste Dupin, as the main character to solve a mystery. In fact, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based his Sherlock Holmes on Dupin. And later, Agatha Christie based her legendary detective Hercule Poirot on Holmes!)
- Daily Monster – an app that allows students to create an “ink monster” that goes along with artist Stefan G. Bucher’s blog The Daily Monster. Art lovers have got to check it out his blog!
- Blogsy – where my middle school students have created and maintain a school blog.
The very first app, Book Creator, is simply fantastic for creating picture or photo books. The control you have over the lay out and graphic design is simply amazing! The options allow you to create a truly professional design. And then the book can be exporting and made for sale on iBooks. Fun!
The last app, Blogsy, probably applies to writers/bloggers the most. My students have a WordPress.com blog, and simply put, the WordPress app wasn’t cutting it. So after some research I switched them to using Blogsy, which does have a bit of a learning curve. However, the app comes with several built-in tutorial videos. It allows for greater text formatting, inputting of media like photos and video, and is far more effective than any other blogging app I’ve seen, but it is still far from perfect!
Writing on the iPad
As a writer, I am not thrilled with writing directly on the iPad. I even have a roll-up portable Bluetooth keyboard but I still don’t like it as much as as my good old laptop. I find it as portable as my iPad, but far easier to type. And there is something about the tapping of my keyboard keys that is reassuring. I don’t get near the same feeling on the soft, rubbery keys of the portable keyboard.
I recently met writer Dr. Terrence Webster Doyle, winner of nine Benjamin Franklin Awards! (And a close friend of the late Bruce Lee… yes, that Bruce Lee!) New to the iPad, he was very keen on using his to write but was worried about the lack of a decent keyboard. I agree it takes quite a bit of getting used to.
For those of you with iPads, what about you? Where do you do most of your writing? And have you tried any of the publishing tool apps yet?
I’d love to hear what is working for you as well as any great apps you’ve come across!