The preloaded Safari web browser is the iPad's gateway to the internet. Other web browsers are available but any advantage over Safari is minimal, if any. Everything that is available on the Internet via computers and other devices is available via Safari web browser. Some popular websites have created Apps to allow more direct access to their content. Apps have also been created as a type of electronic book with comprehensive information on specific topics. Some Museums, Art Galleries and various organisations have Apps to promote their services.
General Information
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Dictionary.com - Free ( I )
Best for : Word meanings
Age range : 8 years upwards
Features : A well featured dictionary and thesaurus that includes over 32 million definitions, synonyms and antonyms. The main features do no require an Internet connection but word of the day and voice to text searching does - Word of the Day notifications can be turned off. The free version has full functionality but has very annoying click here to win big type ads - although they only appear after several minutes use. An add free version is available for $5.49. It is simple to use and works really well.
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Google Earth - Free ( M-C )
Best for : Real Earth views
Age range : 10 years upwards
Features : Just like the computer version, this is an excellent app for exploring the planet. Swipe and turn or pinch and zoom as high quality satellite imagery brings the Earth to life. Displays the latitude and longitude os a selected location and includes millions of geo-located photos. Needs a wireless Internet connection. Watch the YouTube video.
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Weird But True - Free ( I )
Best for : Inquiry starter
Age range : 8 years upwards
Features : Full of strange facts that more often than not are too strange to believe, but they are all true. Over 600 strange facts are presented in an entertaining way, student can even rate them on a Weird-O-Meter. For more wacky trivia additional fact packs are available to purchase. These are great conversation starters and an entertainer way to engage students as researchers by seeking more information on the strange fact presented.
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Wikipanion - Free ( I )
Best for : Factual information
Age range : 8 years upwards
Features : Like a web browser for Wikipedia. It requires an internet connection (as would be expected). Searches are completed quickly and the information displayed in two columns - a linked contents list on the left third of the page and the requested information on the right two thirds of the page. Works really well, there is a $5.49 upgrade to a Plus version but for most users the free version is more than good enough. Watch the YouTube video.
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WolframAlpha - $3.79 ( I )
Best for : analysing information
Age range : 10 years upwards
Features : A computational search engine that answers your questions across numerous domains of knowledge from finance and food to math and medicine to stocks and spacecraft to wordplay and weather. It will show the steps involved to reach a numerical answer and compare data across a given search parameter. Watch YouTube video.
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World Atlas - $2.49 ( I )
Best for : Factual information
Age range : 8 years upwards
Features : There are a pot of atlas apps of very varying quality and price. For the most part Google Earth is as good as any and better than most but if you want a more traditional atlas view of the Earth this is a pretty good alternative. The maps are good high res quality images down to country level - reminiscent of ye olde map of the world topped student desk I used to have. It has 3 views but the classic view is the best, it's satellite view isn't as good as Google earth. It does includes basic flags and facts style information on each country which is nice to have inside the app. Watch the YouTube video.
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Specific Information . . . just a few as examples
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Math Terms - Free (I)
Best for : metalanguage reference
Age range : 10 years and up
Features : A glossary of mathematical terms. Basically we want a dictionary to give a succinct, understandable explanation for a searched term. This app may not be as fancy as some that you pay for but it does the job just as well. Has close to 1000 entries, no advertising and does not need to access the internet. Has a setting to display terms in dual or single language - Spanish and English.
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Monet - $1.29 (I)
Best for : art
Age range : 10 years and up
Features : A virtual gallery containing over 1000 categorised artworks (drawings and paintings). Contains biographical information on Claude Monet with links to videos and art documentaries. Other artists available by same developer.
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Nova Elements - Free (I)
Best for : Science - Periodic Table
Age range : 10 years and up
Features : This App comes from the PBS show NOVA and is a wonderfully interactive way to present information based on the Periodic Table of Elements. There are three sections: 1- the table itself which is a colourful quick reference guide, tap on an element for information in a pop up window. 2- an Essential Elements activity requires the user has to create a selected molecule using protons, neutrons and electrons. 3- video links. A great program for high school students.
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App Categories
I - very directed or purely for information
I-M - mostly instructive but allows for some response to user input
M - fairly even mix of instruction and creativity, produces a predetermined outcome
M-C - mostly creative but within a framework, allows for varied output
C - very open ended allowing full user control of the content created, usually starts with a black page

Prices are in $AUS and were correct at time of publication but are subject to change.