Must-Have Apps for 2017

As an instructor for Eduspire, I teach the iPads in Education course. I’ve taught it 35 times already to teachers from all around the state. And, from the very beginning, I’ve been showcasing some apps that are still listed on the various “Top 25 Apps for Education” posts that you see from time to time. Ones like Book Creator, Educreations, Explain Everything, and Nearpod have withstood the flood of educational apps to remain as “must-have” apps.

Touchcast: An App That Does it All

But, my absolute favorite app is Touchcast, which is part of Eduspire’s iPads in Education 2 course (you can only do so much in one course. This one HAD to be moved to the second course). See the original video that introduced Touchcast here (I think it’s MUCH better than the current demo video). This app does it all, from green screen to whiteboard to interactive applications, and more.

Unlike ANY other presentation tool where the viewers of the presentation are just passively watching the presentations (‘Lean Back’ tools), Touchcast is an example of a ‘Lean Forward’ tool (here’s a nice working definition of the two) where users are compelled to interact with the presentation. Using any device, they tap (or click) a picture to enlarge it as the presenter talks about it, or respond to a poll as part of the presentation, or refresh a Twitter feed to see the current tweets on a topic, or tap to zoom into a map — and all of those interactive video applications (or Vapps, as they’re called in the app) are built right into the video. And, with its built-in teleprompter, it’s the perfect tool for kids.

Get Connected with TouchCast

There are many great examples of Touchcast presentations that were created by students and teachers. Follow @touchcastedu on Twitter for ideas of how others are using it with their students. Or, check out some of the examples and tutorials on YouTube. And here are the tutorials made by the Touchcast team, which will help you learn the basics.

I know that Touchcast isn’t new; it’s three years old. But, it may be new to you or to your peers. It’s too good to NOT know about it. My example (here) was made to show newcomers some of the Vapps. I really like the idea of building in a link to your Google Drive folder that stores your handouts for the lesson. Everything is right there! It’s perfect for the Flipped Classroom and perfect as a tool for students. After all, ultimately, we want THEM to use the tools, not us. We’ve got enough to do as educators already, thank you very much!

Bottom line: if you’ve not heard of Touchcast before now, it is a MUST-KNOW app.