The Good App Checklist

Types of Apps and what works best…

The ‘Skill and Drill’ Apps

These apps serve as digital worksheets. These apps usually involve a game scenario in which students are required to answer closed questions, for example 4+ 5 = ?. They then collect points, or move through the game/levels. The problem with these sorts of apps (which unfortunately form most of the market) is they don’t allow the student to develop their understanding further or explore concepts. In this way the app is only good for reinforcing ‘known facts’ or as an assessment tool to see if a student can or can’t do something.

The best apps are ones which:

•Help the child construct their own understanding through manipulation, exploration or scaffolded, sequential learning.
•Apps which allow the student to experiment, grow and progress to higher levels of understanding
•Not closed e.g 2+2= (unless you are assessing, or promoting efficiency/automatic recall of known facts, through ‘skill and drill)
•iPads are best used in conjunction with your teaching program, not in isolation or in place of a teaching program.
  • Using ongoing assessment and a wide variety of apps and difficulty level with targeted groups, specifically incorporating app names and targeted levels for groups of children in your planning. Here is an example of what this might look like for a Prep literacy program (using a set of iPads as one activity group in conjunction with guided reading)

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 2.50.40 PM

Apps are highly visual, often have supporting audio and allow students to revisit concepts in a range of different subject areas.


App Checklist:

1.Does the app retain/store data?
2. Can students make a profile and work through problems at their own level?
3.Are you able to vary the level of difficulty?
4. Is there an audio option if they are having trouble reading written instructions?
5 .Are you able to manipulate objects the make sense of a new concept?
6.What do you want the student to achieve and is the type of app suited to the learning outcome, for example is the app ‘skill and drill’, manipulative or constructive?
7. If you are teaching phonics and spelling does the app use Australian accents and spellings?
8. if you are teaching a math concept such as currency, does the app use Australian currency/language dollars rather than pounds.)
9. Are there opportunities to publish and share- export to a blog, i-books, picture album?
10. Is there opportunity for collaboration with others?


Useful applications for Prep-2:

To access any of the following just type the title into search. Most are free, some are a few dollars and the books range in price. The ones I have highlighted are particularly useful but I will go into the good ones in more detail on the main page.

Apps for Maths:

Cloud math

Math Master


Dino Maths

Maria counts pumpkins

Tell the Time

Math Cards

Clocks Master

Colours, Numbers and Memory

Dots for free

Numbers Free

Crack the Code

Maths Memory

Find Sums

123 Tracer

What day?

Maths Man

 Apps for Literacy:

I trace words


Sorting Sounds

Sock puppets

Reading Skill 1

My First Puzzle

4 Letter Words Free

Starfall ABC

ABC Tracer

Abc phonics

Little Speller


Word Magic

Jumbline 2

Make a Word

Sight Words

A1 Spelling AP

Photo touch ABC

Play Words




Green eggs and ham

Cat in the hat

Making Pizza

Getting Bigger ‘When I get bigger’  Mercer Mayer

Earler Reader

Choose Your Own Adventure Story

Read Me

The Toy Train

Jungle Drums-Graheme Base


Eggy 100


Speaking and Listening

Sock puppets

Puppet Pals

Talking Tom

Talking News

Apps for Rich Tasks

Farm Story

Kid Paint

Tap Farm


Farm Animals Photo

Farm Animals reading A-Z

Animal Learning

Baby Animals

Animals Forest

Make a face


Google Earth



Fine Motor Skills/ Fun

Doodle Jump

Froggy Jump

Tiny Towers

Mini Piano

Doodle Find


  • Dinosaurs: Science & Maths (Unabridged)      5:51    iMinds
  • The Frog Prince (Unabridged)     13:24 Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm
  • The Gruffalo (Unabridged)           7:02    Julia Donaldson
  • Gruffalo’s Child (Unabridged)      6:44    Julia Donaldson
  • The Little Engine That Could (Unabridged)      8:02    Penguin Group
  • Olivia Forms a Band (Unabridged)          9:25    Ian Falconer
  • Rascal the Dragon (Unabridged)            14:08 Paul Jennings
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Unabridged)            5:53
  • The Velveteen Rabbit (Unabridged)      13:02 Margery Williams
  • The Very Busy Spider (Unabridged)       3:44    Eric Carle


E-Books- In order to purchase e-books you need the ‘iBooks’ app to add new books to your library. Books will appear on the bookshelf as you buy them.

  • Baby Wombat’s Week                   Jackie French & Bruce Whatley
  • Diary of a Wombat             Jackie French & Bruce Whatley
  • Kisses for Daddy                  Frances Watts & David Legge
  • Splat the Cat Sings Flat                  Rob Scotton
  • 100 Facts Inventions                      Miles Kelly
  • 100 Facts Oceans                Miles Kelly

Ipad apps:

  • Puppet pals
  • Sock puppets
  • Tom and Ben talk
  • Evernote (for teachers- super useful!!)

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