iPad Apps for Science

Today, I led a workshop on iPad Apps for Science as a part of The Frisch School Summer Technology Boot Camp. Below is my presentation which I quickly created using my favorite iPad presentation app, Haiku Deck.

I divided the science apps into three categories.

1. Research apps 
These are apps that are good for research a specific science topic using text, videos, and other resources. These can be similar to the CDROMs of old but the best ones integrate the iPad's touch and other features. These include Science360 and VideoScience for quality videos and StudyNow! CK-12 to easily create flexbooks which are multi-media enhanced textbooks on the iPad. There are also a number of 3D molecular modeling apps which are excellent for biology and chemistry including Chem3D and Molecules. Finally, there are a number of interactive Periodic Tables apps. One I did not know about until my colleagues showed it to me today is the EMD Periodic Table. Another which also features excellent videos by David Pogue and interactive games as well is Nova Elements.

2. Simulations
These are apps that have interactive science simulations. These are similar to the Flash based or Java based science applets of old like those found on The Physics Classroom. These types of apps often do a limited number of simulations well so the challenge is rather than finding one app for everything, matching up the right app for the right lesson. These include iDynamic which has a number of free simulations (and many more applets for in-app purchase) for physics. Newtons Cradle is a dynamic app to present Newton's famous demonstration of the conservation of momentum and energy.

3. Tools
These are apps that actually are science tools for data collection and analysis. These can be the most useful because they are open ended and the best ones utilize many built in iPad features like the video camera or touch screen. The best science tool that I have found by far, and the only science app that I am willing to spend money to purchase, is Vernier Video Physics. This app lets you take video of any moving object and then plot its position frame by frame to analyze trajectory, velocity, and distance. It comes with some prerecorded videos but also allows you to insert your own videos as well. Imagine having kids throw a ball around the class, we actually had teachers doing this today, in order to plot its exact velocity at every point. Or you can give your students a homework assignment to video that night's basketball game on their iPads or smartphones and bring the videos into class the next day for data analysis. I wish I was back in school for this type of exciting scientific discovery. Wow! Another app for scientific analysis also by Vernier is Vernier Graphical Analysis. This app requires the purchase of sensors to collect data and then allows you to export the data to the iPad using Bluetooth for analysis.

Enjoy the scientific explorations!

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad