Pic Collage

Pic Collage

Pic Collage is a diverse free collage, design, and social networking app that lets users create design collages with pictures, video, graphics, frames and backgrounds. Pic Collage has many levels of interaction and an internal social network, but for educational purposes, it’s easy to enter the app, click on the + icon and add pictures, text, video to create a collage with the many themes, backgrounds, graphics, frames and color options available in Pic Collage. The app does have a school module that disables social media functions under ‘Settings’ in the iPad. (Note that you must access these from the Settings app icon and not from the PicCollage app itself). Pic Collage also offers many ‘packs’ of extra features available for purchase, but we have chosen to only use the wide variety of free features at ISL. Collages can be saved to PicCollage’s internal library, emailed or opened in another compatible app. As school users, we often just take a screenshot of finished collages and save them to the iPad’s photo roll bypassing Pic Collage’s saving mechanisms entirely. Pic Collage’s wide variety of features and many creative uses make it a fun app for students and teachers alike.

Pic Collage is suitable for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and Secondary.


Voice Recorder (FREE)

Voice Recorder (FREE)

Voice Recorder (FREE) is a simple to use, retro styled free voice recording app produced by Tap Media. To record, open the app and tap on the red tape button at the bottom centre of the screen. A vintage tape deck interface will pop up with record, play, stop and save as buttons. You are also able to name your track by typing on the ‘a-side’ of the tape at the ‘tap to name’ box. Hitting the red record button will start the recording. Hitting the record button again will pause the recording, but users must click the stop button to finalize the track and save it. The track will be saved to the default ‘Documents’ window where tracks can be organized into folders or shared via email, integrated cloud storage options or downloaded via USB cable. Note that advertisements occasionally appear at the bottom of the documents window but they are not disruptive to the user experience.

Voice Recorder (FREE) is suitable for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and Secondary.

Word Clouds

Word Clouds

Word Clouds by is free app that allows users to create graphic representations of word frequency. It is very similar to the popular website Wordle. Users type in words or copy and paste lists, speeches, etc into a window. Word Clouds then translates these words into a ‘cloud’, making high frequency words appear larger the more times they occur. Users can change font, color, layout and word count. Recent updates also allow users to input numerals and edit word clouds without having to start over. Once a word cloud is complete, it can be saved to the camera roll as a photo. Word Clouds is beautifully laid out, easy to use, and widely applicable for educational use.

Word Clouds is suitable for all users.


Thesaurasize is a small and simple free app that allows users to type in a word and receive a short list of definitions and possible synonyms.  It  is lower profile than the traditional full-size dictionary app: more simple, but also equipped with less, i.e. no voiceover option or graphics. The app is perfect in a pinch for users who need to quickly find a synonym or check a definition.

Thesaurasize is suitable for Upper Primary and Secondary.


Microsoft Word for iPad

ms word

Microsoft Word for iPad is Microsoft corporation’s official MS Word app specifically designed for the iPad.  The app itself is free but is optimized for use with an Office 365 subscription.  All staff and secondary students at ISL automatically receive an Office 365 subscription as part of their employment/enrolment.  Once logged in with a Office 365 username and password, Microsoft Word for iPad will automatically sync with a user’s OneDrive account for simple saving and access options for documents.  The interface is similar to the original Microsoft Word application, except optimized for touch and includes multiple template and format options as well as fonts, pictures, tables, charts, text boxes, shapes, footnotes, page layout options and more.  Choose to autosave back to OneDrive or onto the iPad.  Office 365 sharing options are also available directly from the app.

Microsoft Word for iPad is suitable for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and Secondary.

NASA Visualization Explorer

Nasa Visualization Explorer

NASA Visualization Explorer is a free app produced by NASA that encourages users to explore different elements of NASA’s ongoing space research.  The app’s interface is arranged by ‘stories’ which are picture/text/video combination snippets of an area of NASA’s research.  Wifi is a must for this app’s interface, it doesn’t function well in a strictly offline environment. New stories are added often and users can use a search tool to locate stories on specific subject matter. Each story also has a hyperlink to more detailed content on NASA’s main website. The app stories are engaging and provide a good introductory look at a wide variety of NASA’s ongoing space-based projects.

NASA Visualization Explorer is suitable for Upper Primary and Secondary.

Number Pieces Basic

Number Pieces Basic

Number Pieces Basic is a free app that helps students develop mathematics skills like place value and computation through an open ended platform of base ten number blocks that come in groups of 1, 10 and 100.  Students can group, break apart, regroup, choose one of three colours, and rotate the pieces as well as annotate using the in-app pencil and eraser tools.  Number Pieces Basic is ideal for counting, grouping, demonstrating the concepts of place value, addition and subtraction.  A more advanced version, the paid app Number Pieces, has additional tools for representation, multiplication, and division.

Number Pieces Basic is suitable for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and occasional uses in Secondary.