Essential iPad apps for supporting SEN

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App review sites and sites describing apps are found quite widely when browsing the Internet with just a quick search.  Also, to make life easier for educators, many kind people have created ‘app wheels’; app wheels are another great way in which a range of apps can be explored, linked to areas of learning.  Here is a link to an example app wheel for pupils with ASD

However, I thought it may be useful to publish a list of apps that I use frequently.  The list below begins with apps that I use on an almost daily basis; as the list progresses, the frequency of use decreases but not necessarily the quality or power of the app.

Our current setup consists of fifty iPads, with the iPads being used across the entire school of pupils aged between 4 and 18.  Our fifty iPads are managed with Meraki, following initial setup with Apple Configurator.  We use Air Server to display iPads through our projectors.  Shortly, we are hoping to make use of Apple’s Classroom app to help with management; we also have plans to use Impero to help with monitoring iPads.

Our main purpose for using iPads is to remove barriers to learning for pupils; often, the barriers our pupils face are linked to communication and interaction.

Additionally, we have a subscription to the wonderful Purple Mash, frequently accessed via the iPads.  Elements of Purple Mash that are used frequently include using 2Connect for mindmapping, 2Code as a programming (sorry, still can’t bring myself to use ‘coding’ instead of programming) tool, Simple City, and the wide range of other tools provided by Purple Mash to support the curriculum.

The list of apps will hopefully be updated as we introduce new apps.  I would warmly welcome suggestions from readers regarding notable omissions.



Most frequently used iPad apps

AppBrief descriptionWebpage link 
Explain EverythingThe most versatile app we have. We use it for scaffolding writing, but the real Swiss army knife of the app world.Official site
Puppet Pals HDWe have purchased the Director's pass to access more characters and to use the camera to capture new characters. Excellent for speaking and listening, and more straightforward than PuppetPals 2 or Toontastic.Official site
Do Ink Animation and DrawingAmazing animation app that is simple to access yet sophisticated. Official site
Do Ink Green ScreenMovie making app that works so well with Do Ink animation.Official site
Grid PlayerAlternative and Augmentative Communication appiTunes Store
Widgit GoPCS (Picture Communication Symbols) App made by, Communicate, creators of In Print 2. Widgit Go is in the higher spectrum, price wise, of apps, but it is very well written and scaffolds reading and writing very well for our pupils. Preset or user made grids can be created and shared to multiple iPads using Dropbox.Official site
PagesApple's word processor. When used with the predictive text feature and text to speech synthesis from the accessibility settings, Pages is a very powerful tool for support writing. Using Siri is popular with many pupils too.iTunes store
Ricoh Print & ScanNot that exciting, but a super free app to print directly to our colour photocopies.Official siteScreen Shot 2016-04-23 at 20.17.19
Class DojoUsed by teachers to give reward points instantly and anywhere that there is a wifi connection. The reward system is popular with pupils, and the visual representation on the iPad app helps make the reward even more appealing.iTunes storeScreen Shot 2016-04-23 at 20.18.37
KeynoteApple's equivalent of PowerPoint or Google Slides. Using the iPad assistive options such as text to speech, Siri and predictive text, Keynote allow pupils to be very creative with good support for writing.iTunes store
Sago MiniWide range of cause and effect type apps linked to a variety of topics. Useful for PSHE and very soothing for pupils. Headphones recommended.Official siteScreen Shot 2016-04-23 at 17.40.51
Labels: Living Things, School and MaterialsOur own apps. We use them for labelling activities, helping pupils read and understanding key vocabulary.Official site0x0ss (1)
CameraDefault app but so useful. We have iPad flexible arms that attach to desks. The camera app turns the iPad into a visualiser.
LiveCollageWe use this to combine multiple images into one, reducing the time to edit/collate/trim pictures. Text can be added to pictures too.iTunes storeScreen Shot 2016-04-24 at 18.48.29
ToonTasticSuper free story telling/cartoon making app that is enjoyed by our pupils. Takes up quite a bit of memory but worth it.Official siteOfficial site
Puppet Pals 2Whilst the extra features make purchase very much worthwhile, we tend to use Puppet Pals more due to its simplicity.Official site
DropboxOur choice for collating documents. Whilst we have Office365 and we've tried OneDrive, Dropbox just works so well. We passcode the app to prevent pupil access.iTunes storeScreen Shot 2016-04-24 at 18.58.10
Google MapsExplore the world from your iPad. Probably needs no introduction, but street view is integral.iTunes storeScreen Shot 2016-04-24 at 19.00.09
Pattern ShapesSuperb tool for explore shape and pattern. Completely free and adored by our pupils..Official site
Pieces BasicMaths counting/number app - very visual and complements practical equipment well.Official site
GeoboardVirtual Geoboard - no need to have elastic bands pinging around the classroom with this app! Very popular with pupils.Official site
Number LineAnother useful app for individual pupil use of whole class teaching from the makers of Pattern Shapes.Official site
Scratch JRSuper introduction for programming. Excellent resources on the official website too.Official site
100 SquareEffective 100 square. Useful as a teaching tool.iTunes store
MerakiWe install the official Meraki app to help share documents via 'Backpack'.iTunes storeScreen Shot 2016-04-24 at 19.11.08
Clicker Docs & SentencesVery useful apps. However, we use Widgit Go more frequently due to our school using In Print 2 for PCS.Official site
Lego Movie MakerExcellent stop motion movie maker. Music and titles can be added.iTunes storeScreen Shot 2016-04-26 at 08.46.55
Toca Boca appsWonderful range of cause and effect type apps. Hugely popular with our pupils.Official siteScreen Shot 2016-04-26 at 08.49.18
Book CreatorHugely popular around the world. Create and publish books (or save as a movie).iTunes store
PyonkeeScratch 'simulator' for the iPad.Official site
iMovieSuperb for making movie trailers. Whilst we love the app, we don't use it as frequently as we use Do Ink Green Screen for creating movies.
GarageBandAmazing app for musical compositions. We don't use it that frequently, but love it when we do.
ClassroomApple's new app for helping teachers manage iPads. We can't wait to get going with this, but it's currently on our 'to do' list.
Socrative teacher and studentFree tool for quizzes/questionnaires. We really like the app, but don't use it as regularly as we could.Official site
ShowbieSuper for collecting work from pupils. As we have Purple Mash, not used as much as it has been in the past now.Official site
SMART Notebook for iPadiPad app that can link to a computer based Smart Notebook. Used sporadically, as good as it is, mostly due to opting to use Explain Everything instead.iTunes store
BeebotOn screen version of popular programmable toy.iTunes storeScreen Shot 2016-04-24 at 19.21.38
HopscotchProgramming app that makes the most of the iPad's ability to detect movement.Official site
LightbotVery good introduction to programming, and a step up in difficulty from Beebot.Official site
Finger Paint with SoundsVibrant and interesting paint package - multi-sensory.iTunes storeScreen Shot 2016-04-26 at 08.59.41


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