iPad Apps & Accessories

There are hundreds of thousands of apps in Apple's iTunes App Store, many of which are useful in an educational setting. To facilitate the navigation of this ocean of apps, we have created a list of apps that are essential and therefore required of all students at SI.

Then there are task-based apps, wherein a specific app is not necessary, and so we have made recommendations. Students can look at these recommended apps in the App Store, read the specific features, and read customer reviews before choosing one. For example, students should have a flashcard app that will help them memorize specific course content; it does not matter which specific flashcard app they use. Students should stick with whatever app they initially choose because the utility of the app is increased by its organizational capacity and one's experience with it. That is, it's better to have all of your vocab, for example, in a single app, rather than buy three flashcard apps and have your vocab spread out between them.

Required Apps

These are required apps, which all students must have on their iPads. 

Recommended Apps

These are apps, organized by task, which we can recommend, based on the feedback of students and faculty who have used them. Though multiple apps are listed, students should research each before buying one.

Stylus Options

A stylus is helpful in a variety of classes for drawing diagrams and hand-writing notes. We've tested dozens of styli with the faculty iPads, below are some recommendations.

Students who draw, paint, or design on their iPad prefer the Pencil stylus over any other, and Paper over any other illustration app.

Case Options

Based on feedback and data from our first year with iPads, we are recommending far more robust and protective cases. The majority of iPads which broke fell from a relatively low height, striking the ground on the iPad's corner — and cracking the screen. The cases below were chosen to specifically address this problem:

Note 1: None of the above cases have an integrated keyboard; for a variety of reasons, we are no longer allowing these keyboard-cases. If a student needs a physical keyboard, please see the section below on separate, Bluetooth keyboards.

Note 2: When ordering a case online, be sure it fits the version iPad you have.

Keyboard Options

A bluetooth keyboard for the iPad is the ideal keyboard for students to purchase ---it would allow students to type and yet still allow them to keep the iPad flat on the table. If would like your own keyboard, those below have been popular among students and staff. 

We recommend students not buy a case with an integrated keyboard:

First, we found that the cases with integrated keyboards are not nearly robust enough to protect the iPad for the vast majority of our students. Most cases with keyboards do not provide enough padding, and in several instances the keyboard itself damaged the iPad's glass when it was dropped or if a backpack was inadvertently stepped on.

Second, our teaching faculty asked that students not have cases which prop an iPad's glass up to a vertical position — which is what most of the cases with integrated keyboards do. This request was rooted in issues of classroom management. With a near-vertical screen, students were more likely to go off-task because the screen was obscured from the teacher's view. When the iPad lay near-flat, teachers standing at the front of class can easily monitor what's on student screens, keeping them on-task.