Common Sense


Best 1-to-1 iPad Apps for Middle School

This curated list of middle school iPad apps represents not only the best of the best but also apps that are well suited to classrooms where every student has a tablet. There's a mixture of apps with tons of ELA, math, science, and social studies content. There's also apps that'll keep students engaged and learning as well as tools that help teachers assess, manage classes, and craft opportunities for student thinking, creating, and sharing. Most importantly, these apps are curated specifically for their long-term value; you won't find any one-and-done experiences but rather deep experiences that pay off all year long.

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Classroom Management and Teaching Apps


Interactive slide show tool engages students and promotes collaboration

Bottom line: This effective tool leverages the capabilities of 1-to-1 environments and brings slide shows into the 21st century.

Time Timer

Easily conceptualize, manage, and visualize time

Bottom line: Goes above and beyond standard timers to include handy customization and visual cues.

Explain Everything Classic

Classic version of dynamic presentation tool still excites

Bottom line: Teachers and students can make dynamic presentations that involve different types of media in this innovative, fun app.


Flexible desktop, mobile assignment tool works best with pro features

Bottom line: A flexible way to collect student assignments and offer written and verbal feedback, especially with the premium features.

Doceri Interactive Whiteboard

Teachers, students can spice up presentations with well-done tool

Bottom line: Students can learn how to create unique slideshow presentations and demonstrate processes and problem-solving skills by recording as they go.


Enliven lessons and presentations with easy-to-use whiteboard tool

Bottom line: An easy, functional way to create presentations on the fly.


Simple, elegant tool for creating presentations on mobile devices

Bottom line: Provides a solid mobile version of Apple's presentation app.


Flexible note-taking tool empowers learners of all abilities

Bottom line: An excellent tool that lets students make their notes thorough and useful in the way that best suits their learning styles and abilities.

Arts and Creativity Apps

Wizard School

Curated videos and creative challenges ignite active learning

Bottom line: There's plenty of material to inspire kids to embark on learning adventures that get them to explore, create, and share safely on the screen and off.

Book Creator

Magically easy way to create and publish digital books and multimedia

Bottom line: Top-quality creation tool empowers kids of many ages to publish their own digital books.

Green Screen by Do Ink

Versatile, easy-to-use moviemaker yields great results

Bottom line: High-quality movie maker has numerous uses for students projects.

Paper by FiftyThree

Beautifully designed digital sketchbook for any age

Bottom line: The simplicity and effectiveness of the app make this a powerful sketch and note-taking tool for the iPad.


Amazingly powerful audio workstation unleashes creativity

Bottom line: There's exceptional functionality in this solid, all-inclusive audio workstation that's fantastic for high-quality, anytime, and anywhere audio recording and sharing.

Canva - Graphic Design & Photo Editing

Create snazzy designs in seconds with flexible, cloud-based tool

Bottom line: A flexible, accessible way to get kids -- especially design novices -- creating digitally in your classroom if you have stable internet and time to get students set up to be successful.


Pro-quality HD movie maker is easy enough for beginners

Bottom line: This extraordinary tool for making movies anywhere is easy enough for beginners, yet has lots of headroom for advanced users.

Office Sway

Cool scroll effects, flexible features boost visual storytelling tool

Bottom line: A great tool for design and presentation, if great visuals and easy sharing trump having some active viewing features present in other tools.

Animoto Video Slideshow Maker

Slick video slide-show tool lets kids tell stories and share them

Bottom line: Anything that happens during school can be turned into an engaging video slide show.

Autodesk Sketchbook

Impressive creation tool for teens serious about art

Bottom line: Gives students easy access to professional tools for creating digital art.

ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies Apps

Google Earth

Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: Google Earth offers less functionality than the PC version but still thrills.


Tool lets teachers save time, track data while testing reading fluency

Bottom line: Makes the process of testing reading fluency easier by providing a timer, mistake counter, and data collection in one place.

BrainPOP Featured Movie

Incredibly engaging cartoons on a wide range of topics draw kids in

Bottom line: These short videos are undeniably valuable as a teaching tool for elementary and middle school kids.

Crack the Books

Interactive biomes textbooks impress; subscribe for premium features

Bottom line: If it fits your budget, an excellent interactive science resource that can work for students who have a range of reading abilities.


Impressive word processor and publisher with great sharing features

Bottom line: Impressive word processor makes layout and publishing a breeze, with easy file conversion and advanced features. And it's free for newer iOS devices.


Social approach to problem-solving promotes deep math learning

Bottom line: CueThink is an innovative, community-based platform that helps students plan, strategize, and collaborate.

Project Noah

Contribute kid research to stellar crowdsourced field guide

Bottom line: An outstanding resource that makes science relevant with lots of classroom potential.

WordFlex Touch Dictionary

Amazing interactive visual dictionary makes exploring words exciting

Bottom line: Dynamic, highly visual presentation makes learning new words exciting.

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