Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ryan Pingrey's iPad

Here's a look at Ryan Pingrey's favorite iPad apps. Ryan was a math teacher in a previous life and now supports Battle High School as an instructional technology specialist.

Favorite Apps (in no particular order):

  • Google Drive/Docs/Sheets - About three years ago when I was a math teacher at Hickman, I started the school year by trying to only use Google Docs instead of Office products such as Word.  After a couple weeks of learning the ropes, I was sold, and I feel my entire life is now Google Drive.  Except food, there’s no food on Google Drive, and this upsets me.  This was before I had an iPad, and the integration to the mobile device is amazing.  I love that I can fire up any doc or spreadsheet I started on my laptop, continue editing in on my iPad while on the go, and then finish it up later on my laptop with no flash drives or e-mails to myself.  Allowing people I’ve shared the doc with to edit it is also a game changer - just like the food addition would be.  

  • Chrome - Let’s just get this out there; Chrome is the best browser.  Not Safari (sorry Carolyn), not Firefox, not Netscape Navigator, and definitely not Internet Explorer.  Chrome saves my bookmarks and history from device to device and integrates the most fluidly with the Google Apps.  Carolyn likes to point out the Safari has that “share” button, but that’s all she’s got.  Let it go...

  • Google Hangouts - It may seem like it, but I don’t work for Google.  But I would for a free meal.  I’d do about anything for a free meal, though.  I basically don’t use a phone anymore.  I just use my iPad and the Google Hangouts app for messaging and talk.  You can get your own free phone number with Google Voice and anyone can contact you via the Hangouts app.  You can even call for food; I’ve done it.

  • Nearpod - Remember Senteos?  You won’t after using Nearpod.  Imagine a lame powerpoint made not-lame by adding in interactive slides that asked students questions so you and your students could check for their understanding during class.  It’s free but there’s some pay features that you and your school might be interested in purchasing.  I used the free version for a whole school year, but the paid version has some nice stuff.  As a math teacher, I could even have students show their work by writing on their ipads with a stylus and sending it to me.  I could then share any particular student’s work with the whole class by sending it to their screens.  Great for quizzes embedded inside a presentation.

  • Geddit - The not-so-great thing about Nearpod is that once you make the presentation, it’s done.  You can’t edit it during class.  I don’t know about you, but I often changed directions in class while I was teaching and I had a question I wanted to ask the class that I didn’t pre-make on the Nearpod presentation.  Enter Geddit.  You can add questions on the fly.  Pretty cool, but it doesn’t have all the fancy presentation tools of Nearpod.  Geddit’s basically just for asking questions, not the presentation part.  Cool thing - students can go back and look at their results of the class questions in Geddit and use it as a study guide.  

  • Desmos - Best graphing calculator app out there.  Yea, I was a high school math teacher and I love this stuff.  I like to sit down with a nice snack, the Desmos app, and just play around with equations and graphs.  I’m a nerd and I’m hungry.  

  • Weather Channel - My wife has told me that I often know more about the weather than is socially acceptable for someone who is not a weatherman.  This apps helps with my addiction, or it promotes it, I’m not sure.  

  • Tablo - I don’t have cable or satellite TV at home.  I use an over-the-air antenna for local channels.  My antenna hooks up to something called a Tablo box at home that wirelessly beams all my local channels to basically any wifi-enabled device in my home: Smart TV’s, Roku boxes, smart phones, and my handy iPad.  From the Tablo iPad app I can see a live TV guide, set-up and manage recordings, and airplay the live TV to an Apple TV or Chromecast (I think).  Pretty fun.