A couple of days ago I posted “5 Apps for Media Creation in the Elementary Inclusive Classroom”. Which there is definitely some overlap with respect to apps which could be used across various grades, I thought I’d expand on the app possibilities by sharing a few more that would work well in the middle school/junior high and senior high areas.

With apologies to those who read the previous post, I’ll include some of the framing inclusive education ideas in this post as well.

In the inclusive UDL classroom, accommodations are made to allow students multiple ways to share what they know and how they feel.

When using iPads with students, consider apps which allow students opportunities to create media which demonstrates understanding and lets them show what they know and how they feel. This is a very engaging, challenging, and meaningful way for students to learn and for teachers to understand and assess what their students comprehend.

Here are 5 iPad apps which help students create media in different forms:


Explain Everything ($2.99 for 1-19 app licenses, $1.49 for 20+ app licenses) - Explain Everything is a virtual whiteboard recording app that allows users to bring in images, maps, files, and even includes a web browser to bring in web pages to annotate and record audio. There are several similar whiteboard recording apps in this category, however I really like Explain Everything due to the many types of media that users can bring in to annotate and speak to, along with the ability to export the finished recording as a movie file on the camera roll. Other similar apps will upload to their own websites, but for potential student privacy issues it’s nice to be able to strictly save locally.

Comic Book ($1.99 for 1-19 app licenses, $0.99 for 20+ app licenses) - The Comic Book app allows users to quickly and easily create a comic strip. There are several different layouts to choose from, speech and thought bubbles to add text to, fun sound effect stickers. Adding images can be done instantly from the camera or from saved images on the camera roll, and there are many filters to enhance your photos including ones which make them look like traditional comic book images. The comic strip can be saved as an image, a PDF file (which could be opened in iBooks), or sent to email,  Twitter or Facebook.

Inspiration Maps Lite (FREE) – This concept mapping tool is created by the same company that created Inspiration and Kidspiration software for the desktop computer, and users will be pleased with the ability to not only quickly create and add to their mind maps (remember the ‘lightning’ button on Inspiration? or the outline views?), but also the ability to draw upon the dozens of pre-installed templates which students simply edit and add to. Images can also be brought in to the concept mapping software and colors and text can be altered. The finished concept map can be saved to the camera roll or emailed.

Tag Cloud (FREE) – For those who have seen Wordle or Tagxedo, the web-based word cloud creation tools for computers, the experience is now brought to the iPad in the Tag Cloud App. Word cloud applications create a visual representation of words where the more a word is represented in a text, the larger it becomes. Arranged words on a screen of various sizes offer students interesting interpretation opportunities to make sense of the text in a visual way and explain the meaning of the text and visual hybrid word cloud.

Haiku Deck (FREE) - Haiku Deck is a very easy-to-use, visual presentation tool. It accesses Creative Commons copyright free images or images from your camera or camera roll, and allows users to easily add small, important chunks of text. Users can change the theme of the presentation to adjust the text and photo filters, and it works well when used in conjunction with a classroom projector to allow students to share presentations with classmates. It’s a great visual communication tool that engages kids at a far deeper level than traditional text-heavy slides. I love using apps like this for developing Pecha Kucha style presentations – 20 visuals, each for 20 seconds with voice narration of key ideas. This results in a maximum 6:40 presentation that cuts to the main points and enhances multimedia communication skills – communicating an idea through multiple forms of media simultaneously. Apps like Haiku Deck help create these types of presentations or digital stories quickly and easily.

TPACK refers to the type of knowledge teachers need to successfully integrate technology into classroom learning. When planning for activities involving technology, consider the following questions:

•What type of knowledge do I have/need?
•What are my learning outcomes?
•How would I assess this task?
•What contextual considerations would there be using this/these app and iPads with my students?


These five apps are just a sample of what’s out there (and what is surely to come) for media creation. As a teacher, understanding how to choose an app for media creation in your inclusive classroom is paramount. Ask questions such as:

  • Does this app allow my students multiple ways (images, voice, video, text, other creative elements) to communicate their knowledge and understanding in ways that challenge and provide success for all?
  • When my students create media using this app, what will happen to it? Do I need to transfer the media off the device? Do I want to publish it online? Does this app allow me to do this effectively?
  • Is the app easy enough for my students to learn to use?
  • Are there any privacy, copyright, or potential bullying/security concerns with the use of this app?

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano wrote a brilliant blog post (with a downloadable guide) on iPad app evaluation for teachers.