iPad apps I’d recommend for an SEN Department – Secondary School

I am often asked to recommend iPad apps and there are hundreds.  This is a list I quickly put together for a secondary school who has recently purchased a number of iPads for their SEN department.  I have included paid for, free and those that should already be on the iPad.

Would love to have any additions.  Please add in the comments if you know of any.

Paid for apps (in order of priority with a budget)

Writeonline – This is a word processing package with text-to-speech so students can hear any word spoken, the sentence after a full stop has been added or the whole lot by selecting ‘speak all’.  There is also predictive text and word banks for subject specific key words. Students can toggle between generic prediction and keypad and word bank. Students can also change the voice, speed of voice and the background colour (this is made by Clicker but designed for older students). http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/writeonline-app/writeonline-app.aspx

Voicedream – this app provides text-to-speech from all documents and online material – it also has a range of voices, various fonts and you can change the background colour http://www.voicedream.com/


iReadWrite – has predictive text and text to speech, various voices and background colour change.  You do have to cut and paste text in to have it read as opposed to VoiceDream.  It can sync with Dropbox which is useful. http://www.texthelp.com/north-america/ireadwrite/

Notability –note-taker to annotate documents, sketch ideas, record lectures – students can handwrite or type notes on PDFs, documents etc http://gingerlabs.com/

Spellboard – a brilliant way to learn spellings – can include photos, recording (including in a sentence) and once spellings loaded there are games to play to learn them including scrambled letters and word searches.
SpellBoard by PalaSoftware Inc.

Dexteria suite of apps – for fine motor skills linked to handwriting package -LetterReflex for reversals/Dexteria – writing numbers, letters and crab squishing – Dexteria Junior says for pre-school but some of my older students enjoy (and need) this one. http://www.dexteria.net/

Mr Thorne’s Grammar School – games for all things grammar and punctuation Mr Thorne’s phonics pairs – pelmanism game which goes through phonic code http://www.mrthorne.com/?s=grammar

Mr Thorne’s Maths Universe – times tables, division, subtraction and addition games (link as above)

Phraseology – a word processing package but good for SPAG as you can colour code verbs, adverbs, nouns and adjectives. Also good for organising essays (being able to move paragraphs around).  Has a SMOG Index, tells you average words per sentence, average syllables, how many nouns, verbs etc – can analyse parts of speech and root words. http://agiletortoise.com/phraseology/

Reading Champion – reading passages where students can record themselves reading, hear it read and mark – there’s a video explaining on texthelp website  http://www.texthelp.com/uk/reading-champion

I can animate – this allows recording films for animation  http://www.kudlian.net/products/icananimate/

I can present – this allows students to use camera and script to record a presentation  http://www.kudlian.net/products/icanpresent/Home.html

Halftone – you can make a photo  look like a comic and add a speech bubble – good for social communication – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/halftone/id419957803?mt=8

Free apps

Explain Everything – makes interactive screencasts – a must  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/explain-everything/id431493086?mt=8

Dragon dictate – speech-to-text – similar to siri on new ipads https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dragon-dictation/id341446764

Cambugs 1 & 2 – useful for monitoring phonic recognition of letter sounds and digraphs and trigraphs in 2 – I always apologise to older students that it looks a bit childish but it’s so useful – http://www.cambugs.co.uk/

Paper53 – great for comic strip conversations and useful for letter formation/rainbow writing – a paid for version comes with more colours and pens but I’ve never required more than the free version allows https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/paper-by-fiftythree/id506003812

AudioBoom – for creating podcasts – http://audioboom.com/

Jumbled Sentences –this has three levels where students have to build sentences with words provided – good for language difficulties http://bestappsforkids.com/2013/07/jumbled-sentences-3/

OhNo Fractions – fractions app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/oh-no-fractions!-curious-hat/id593418681?mt=8

Khan Academy – a set of videos to learn anything – maths, science etc –

Inspiration and Popplet – mind mapping apps (Inspiration turns from concept map to linear format too)

Toontastic – can make stories using story arc with pictures and voice

Adobe Voice – can record a voice over pictures – good for social stories or rants (http://wp.me/p4sUgv-Z)

Duolingo – a foreign languages app to practise French, German or Spanish

Phrasal Verbs machine – another one for MFL

Paintsparkle – another one for rainbow writing, handwriting and spellings – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/paint-sparkles-draw-my-first/id435539858?mt=8

Merriam Webster Dictionary – a free dictionary where you can say the word into the ipad and it will find it for you

Cargo-Bot/Hopscotch/SketchNation/Scratch – all coding apps for the new curriculum

The HW app – can put homework on to this like an online planner – this may not be useful for students sharing ipads though

GoogleDrive – think about keeping all files, photos etc for sharing – depends on how school want to use ipad

Showbie – a good way for students to share work with teachers  paperfree

Socrative teacher – a place to create quizzes etc and teacher can see students’ scores

Might want to have a look at Nearpod for similar – some free resources for whole class to share

Apps which should be on iPad but if not can download for free

Book Creator – an absolute must for all types of creations – alternative assessments etc




Itunes U – this will be where electronic versions of school text books from Load2learn can be kept (for visually impaired and dyslexic students to use text-to-speech) https://load2learn.org.uk/

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