Entries in appstore (13)


Let's Use the Hashtag #iosedapp for Tweets with Educational iPad/iPhone/iPod Apps

In March 2010 I proposed that educators use the Twitter hashtag #edapp to make it easy for others to find tweets that mention an educational app when searching Twitter. I even made a t-shirt to get to word out about the hashtag. I wore that shirt and explained hashtags in Episode #22 of the Learning in Hand podcast.

You need to know that no one controls a hashtag. Anyone can use any hashtag, even if what they write is not relevant to the keyword. Unfortunately, spammers are including #edapp in their tweets. That makes it difficult to find the tweets that really contain educational apps. That's a tragedy because I have learned about so many great apps over the last two years through searching for #edapp.

My vision for #edapp was that tweets tagged #edapp would mention a single educational app or list of apps for iPad, iPhone, and/or iPod touch (all of which run Apple's iOS). Because no one controls a hashtag, my vision doesn't mean that it is others' vision for its use. Some Twitter users tag any tweet in which they mention anything that has to do with iPad or iPod touch as #edapp. Some mention web-based tools (even tools that are flash-based and do not work on iOS devices). Android, Windows, and Mac apps are often slipped in there too.

Don't get me wrong. So much of what people have been hashtagging with #edapp has been fantastically valuable. But, I want myself and others to be able to search Twitter and instantly find educational apps for iOS. Between the spammers and the ambiguousness of the keyword edapp, I now propose using the hashtag #iosedapp when mentioning apps or lists of apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. This is the keyword I will include somewhere in my tweets when I share a newly discovered educational app or when an interesting educational app goes on sale. I hope you'll do the same.

You can find tweets tagged #iosedapp in a variety of ways. One way is to go to twitter.com/search and enter #iosedapp. You don't need a Twitter account to use the search. If you see many tweets that are all the same, refine your search to include -RT. That will remove retweets so all tweets displayed are originals. 

When tweeting about an app, I highly suggest including a link to the app's page in the App Store. The best way to do this is through iTunes on your PC. When on an app's details page, simply click the arrow next to the price and choose Copy Link. Paste that link into your tweet. Don't worry about how long the URL is because Twitter will shorten it.

Check out what has been recently tagged #iosedapp in the widget below. Note that there will probably be some tweets that do not mention an iOS app because, at least at first, some tweets will be referring to the use of the new keyword.  

Got something to tweet about mobile learning and it's not a specific iOS app? Include one or two of these hashtags instead of #iosedapp:

For your information, here's what Twitter has to say about hashtags:

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

Using hashtags to categorizing Tweets by keyword:

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords or phrases (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Using Hashtags Correctly:

  • If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet
  • Don't #spam #with #hashtags. Don't over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.)
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.

Of course, I cannot guarantee that #iosedapp won't be overrun with spammers at some point. Maybe in two more years I'll be suggesting yet another hashtag...


Things to Know about Apps & Apple Devices

I've put together a list of things to know about iOS, apps, iTunes, and the App Store:

  • Some software programs for Apple handhelds (known as "apps") come preinstalled on every device, including Safari for web browsing, Mail for email, and Notes for text files.
  • You can download and install many more apps from the App Store. The App Store can be found in two places: in iTunes on Mac and Windows computers or in its own app on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
  • The App Store is organized in categories, including Games, Education, Photography, and Productivity.
  • In addition to browsing categories, you can search the App Store. In iTunes you can perform a Power Search to filter results to free apps or a specific device. Alternatively, you can browse and search app at AppShopper.com. AppShopper's search results are more detailed than iTunes'.
  • Approximately 34% of all apps are free of charge and another 31% are 99¢. The average price for an app is $2.50.
  • You must have an iTunes account to download apps. For school sets of handhelds, it is recommended you create an account specifically for school. Typically Apple demands a credit card number to create an account. Follow these directions before creating an account and you won't be required to supply a credit card number.
  • Each app downloaded is associated with an iTunes account.
  • You can authorize up to five computers to use an iTunes account. An unlimited number of Apple handhelds can sync to a single computer.
  • A single computer can have more than one account authorized on it. This is different than being signed in. Authorizing multiple accounts allows for installation of apps that may have been downloaded while signed into different accounts. Authorize accounts from iTunes' Store menu.
  • Accounts authorized in iTunes are also authorized on the devices synced to that iTunes app Library.
  • Syncing an individual device to the same computer each time is ideal. Attempting to sync to a different computer than the original can result in data loss and extreme frustration.
  • You can sync multiple devices to one Mac or Windows computer simultaneously. There are options for carts, cases, and hubs to allow for connecting large numbers of devices to one computer.
  • iPad can run almost all iPhone/iPod touch apps. iPhone and iPod touch cannot run iPad-specific apps. Universal apps can run on all three kinds of devices and are denoted in the App Store with a + symbol.
  • Apps are updated periodically. Updates are free and often offer extra features and bug fixes.
  • Some apps require the latest version of the iOS. You can check to see if your device is running the latest release of iOS by connecting it to iTunes, clicking the device's Summary Tab, and click the Check for Update button.
  • Unlike music and movies, you can always re-download both free and paid apps from the App Store free of charge. Be sure you are signed into the iTunes account in which you originally bought the app.
  • Free and paid apps purchased in the App Store app on the Apple handheld are copied to the iTunes Library upon the next sync.
  • Periodically paid apps go on sale for free. For school sets of devices, be sure to document when apps are downloaded for free in case of a software audit.
  • I often share apps you may be interested in on Twitter. Oftentimes the apps I share are temporarily on sale, so download them while they are free or cheap. twitter.com/tonyvincent
  • Twitter users who reference an educational app frequently tag their tweets with #edapp. Searching Twitter for #edapp shows you these tweets all in one spot. Read more about #edapp.
  • Apple has different Terms & Conditions for educational institutions relating to paid apps. Apple expects U.S. education customers to purchase a license for each device a paid app will be installed on using the App Store Volume Purchase Program.
  • Apps can be organized into folders by tapping and holding one app until it jiggles. Then drop apps into existing folders or drop an app onto another to create a folder. Press the Home button when done.
  • Folders and icon positions are individual to each device. Unless you restore a device from the backup of another device, folder and icon positions have to be manually set on each handheld.
  • Deleting an app from the iTunes Library will also remove the app from any device which synchronizes with that library.
  • Delete apps on the device by tapping an holding one app's icon until all icons begin to jiggle. Tap the X next to an app's icon to delete the app. Press the Home button when done.
  • To prevent students from deleting apps, enable Restrictions and turn off Deleting Apps in the General section of the Settings app on each device.
  • To prevent students from logging into their own accounts and installing apps, enable Restrictions and turn off Installing Apps in the General section of the Settings app on each device. However, this will need to be turned off and back on each time you want to legitimately install apps, even through iTunes.
  • Double-tap the Home button to access a list of recently used applications and toggle among them.
  • Got a lot of apps? Tap the Home button while on your first screen of apps to access a search field where you can enter an app's name to launch it.

A Word About Free iOS Apps

Did you know that once you purchase an app, you can always download that app again for free? This is handy for apps that have been accidentally deleted or you want to download a purchased app onto a second computer or device.

As you might have noticed, an app can change price. Prices often go up and down. For example, in April I bought the student response app eClicker Host for $24.99. In May, the price was reduced to $9.99, and the app continues to be priced at less than half what I paid. Developers have the freedom to change prices at any time.

To tell the truth, you can live happily without ever paying for an app because a large portion of apps are free. In fact, 30% of the apps in the App Store are free of charge. App developers price their apps at $0 for many reasons:

  • the app makes money from advertising
  • the entire app is an advertisement
  • the app is a "lite" version of a paid app
  • the app does not make money for the developer

Another reason an app may be offered for free is that the developer wants to build buzz for the app. Often apps are offered for free for a day or two before returning to the original price. For example, SonicPics is currently priced at $2.99. I happened to have downloaded the app in April when the app was offered for free for one day.

Remember that app downloads, whether they are free or paid, are associated with a single iTunes account. If an app is for classroom use, be sure to download it using the classroom or school iTunes account so that it can be installed on the devices that use that account.

When you download a free app for use on a classroom set of handhelds, I suggest documenting it. If the school is audited by Apple, you then have proof the app was purchased for free.

There are a number of sources that provide timely information on app price reductions:

  • AppShopper.com and the AppShopper app provide many search options. I like the Popular Price Changes in Education page. You can limit that page to just iPhone or iPad apps. Education isn't the only app category with great apps for students, so you it might be worth checking out Popular Price Changes in All Categories. AppShopper is nice enough to provide web feeds for these price reduction lists.
  • Twitter users frequently share apps they have found on sale. Even if you don't have a Twitter account, you can search Twitter for #edapp free to see if there are any current deals.
  • iTunes lists Top Free Apps in Education (and top free apps for all other categories). Apps that are on sale often climb to the top of the Top Free Apps lists as users grab them before the price reverts back to paid.
  • FreeAppAlert tracks paid iPhone apps that just became free. You can get their alerts via email if you'd like. Similarly there's Free App a Day, but it focuses mainly on games.

If you have any kind of inkling that you might use a free app, I suggest "purchasing" it while it's on sale. You can immediately delete the app if you don't want the app taking up space on your device or in your iTunes library. Like paid apps, you can always download an app you "purchased" for free again from the App Store. This works even after the app has increased in price. In other words, you can download a free app, delete it, and re-download it for free anytime in the future, even if the app is no longer offered for free.

To re-download an app, you will have to click its price in the App Store. This will make it seem like you are going to have to pay for it. However, after entering your password, the App Store will display a message that you have already purchased the app and kindly informs you that you can re-download free of charge.

Obviously, paying attention to price reductions can save lots of money, especially when it comes to class sets of iOS devices.


App Store Volume Purchase Program Explained

Volume Purchase Program IconApple has recently updated the Terms and Conditions for iTunes and the App Store. In addition, the company has announced the App Store Volume Purchase Program. In the past Apple had no mechanism for downloading an app more than once, so schools would purchase an app one time and distribute it to all their iPod touches, iPads, and iPhones. This arrangement made app purchases for class sets of handhelds inexpensive but was not properly compensating app developers.

The new App Store Volume Purchase Program requires schools to follow Terms and Conditions that are different from the Terms and Conditions for individual consumers. Apple even reserves the right to audit purchases to make sure that schools are following all of the usage rules for educational institutions, including purchasing activation codes for each device onto which an app is installed.

In the Terms and Conditions and in the Volume Purchase Program Frequently Asked Questions, Apple describes the process of ordering vouchers which can be used to purchase activation codes. While schools with class sets would buy activation codes for each of their handhelds, only one code would be redeemed if all handhelds are synced to the same computer. The remaining activation codes would not be redeemed, but kept in case of an audit.

Jim Siegl made a useful flowchart that visually explains the process:

Volume Purchase Program Flowchart

  1. Program Facilitator creates a quote for a one or more Volume Vouchers for a set dollar amount in $100 increments.
  2. This request is routed to the district Authorized Purchaser who approves the quote and places the order.
  3. The voucher is sent to the Program Facilitator via mail.
  4. The Authorized Purchaser receives the Voucher and send the voucher to the Program Facilitator via internal mail.
  5. Using a New Apple ID created for this purpose, the Program Facilitator searches for and purchases apps in
    variable quantities, up to the dollar limit of the voucher amount and billed accordingly.
  6. The Program Facilitator will receive an email with a link to a dashboard, now populated with app-­‐specific codes. These codes can be distributed to users for redemption at the App Store.
  7. The Program Facilitator distributes the app specific codes to the individual that requested them.
  8. The requestor redeems the codes in one of three ways (assume 30 iPods)
    • a. One code is redeemed to a single iTunes account, iTunes is activated with that account on up to five 5 computers. The 29 remaining codes are kept on file in the event of an audit.
    • b. 30 codes are distributed and redeemed against 30 school managed iTunes accounts.
    • c. 30 codes are distributed and redeemed against 30 student managed iTunes accounts. App becomes property of the student.

As you can gather, the process is complicated. No more can teachers with class sets of Apple handhelds simply purchase an app in iTunes and sync. Now the teacher must work with the school district's Volume Purchase Program Facilitator to acquire a voucher and activation codes. Jim has written more about the intricacies of the Volume Purchase Program and step-by-step instructions on the IEAR wiki.

As part of the program, individual app developers have the option to offer up to 50% discounts on purchases of 20 or more of the same app. You won't see the discount in the App Store itself. You'll have to search for the title of app on the App Store Volume Purchase Program page. For example, when I search for SonicPics, I can see pricing for 1-19 units and for 20+ units.

SonicPics VPP

For a class set of 30, it would cost about $45 to purchase SonicPics for each handheld. In the world of desktop software, that's not bad. However, it's still very pricey compared to the $3 it would cost before the Volume Purchase Program went into effect. The best way to take advantage of the power of Apple's handhelds is to equip them with multiple apps, which will add up very quickly. Not only will the Volume Purchase Program be costly when buying many different apps, but it also requires schools to keep documentation in case Apple decides to do an audit.

I think the extra cost and steps to purchase apps for schools will greatly curtail educational app purchases. Some good news is that the Volume Purchase Program is only for paid apps. Free apps can be downloaded immediately without going through the process outlined in the flowchart. It's reassuring to know that 30% of apps in the App Store are free and you can search the App Store for only free apps by conducting a Power Search.

Power Search for free apps

With nearly 300,000 items in the App Store, there's a good chance you'll find a free alternative to a paid app. For instance, searching for Digital Storytelling gave me a great free alternative to SonicPics called Storyrobe.

Storyrobe Result

Often apps are offered for free for a limited time. You can find out about these deals by searching Twitter for #edapp and using sites like FreeAppAlert and AppShopper. When downloading free apps, educators should document that the app was free. This way if the app does become a paid app in the future, there is proof the app was properly acquired.

Judi Epcke, Scott Meech, and I discuss the Volume Purchase Program in Episode #3 of the IEAR podcast. The three of us were confused and frustrated by Apple's new process. Hopefully as more schools transition to using the App Store Volume Purchase Program, we'll know more about the benefits and limitations of the recently developed rules for purchasing apps.


Educational Apps Mentioned on Twitter #edapp

There are over 600 apps added to the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad App Store each day. Only a small fraction of those apps are useful for education. Luckily, a small fraction of 160,000 total apps is still a large number! It can be a challenge to stay tuned into the latest and greatest teaching and learning apps.

Fortunately, some helpful educators have put together various lists of recommended apps:

Another place where educators are sharing great apps for teaching and learning is Twitter. Here are some of the apps I have tweeted about:

The free Dragon Dictation speech-to-text app has been updated to work on iPod touch (you will need a mic): http://tonyv.me/dragon

IWantItBack is now a feee app. Track what you lend friends, family, colleagues, and students. http://tonyv.me/wantback

PhotoMV is free today. Use it to combine photos, music, and text into slideshows: http://tonyv.me/photomv

Touch Mouse turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a wireless keyboard and mouse for your computer. It's free:http://tonyv.me/tmouse

Kinematix app is free for a limited time:http://tonyv.me/kinematix "Unleash your inner engineer."

Avatar Creator 2 is free this weekend in the App Store.http://tonyv.me/ac2

Finger Physics game is free today in the App Store:http://tonyv.me/ff

Lola's Flag Adventure app is free this weekend. It has games to learn world flags: http://tonyv.me/lola

Flashcard Touch app is free this month. Access pre-made flashcards or make your own: http://tonyv.me/flashcard.

You can't edit Google Docs in the browser. But you can in some apps like Docs To Go: http://tonyv.me/gtgp

NASA app has mission info, countdown clocks, orbit trackers, images, and videos. http://tonyv.me/nasa #edapp

Notice in the final tweet I included #edapp.  This is called a hashtag. The hashtag begins with the number sign and then contains a keyword. Hashtags make it easier to search and archive tweets. I plan to tag each of my future tweets with #edapp when I mention an educational application and I hope you will too.

You can search for recent tweets tagged #edapp at search.twitter.com. Archives of all tweets tagged #edapp can be found at Twapper Keeper and Twubs. In the future these archives should be full of great app suggestions.


You can see that my tweets above contain web links. Clicking one of those links launches iTunes and opens the details page for the mentioned app. If you want to create a link to an app you find in iTunes to include in a tweet, click the arrow next to the Free/Buy button and choose Copy Link.

The copied link will be similar to this one: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nasa-app/id334325516?mt=8. The 56 characters in that URL will take up too much of the 140 character limit of a tweet. Twitter will shorten long links automatically for you using bit.ly, though you are free to shorten them yourself with services like is.gdmoourlj.mp, and tinyyurl. My links all begin with tonyv.me because that's my URL shortener.

Including links in tweets tagged #edapp will make them even more helpful. See recent #edapp tweets below:  

If you're not familiar with Twitter learn the basics by reading 10 Things Teachers Should Know to Get Started with Twitter. If you are familiar with Twitter, please spread the word about the #edapp hashtag.


Sketchy is Here for iPod touch and iPhone

Sketchy for iPhone IconMy favorite software from GoKnow, Sketchy, is now available in the App Store for iPod touch and iPhone! Sketchy has been around for years on Palm handhelds and Pocket PCs, and it has been enjoyed by thousands of students. They have a yearly contest and you can view example animations from my former students. The process of creating a flipbook-style animation is incredibly educational. When students of any age make an animation about any subject, they learn a lot during the process, and they have a final product that they view over and over and over.

Here's GoKnow's description of Sketchy for iPhone:

Get started now with Sketchy - the easy to use drawing and animation app. You can use different drawing tools, photos from your library or direct from the camera, and even text to create frame based animations (or flipbooks).


  • Simple user interface
  • Import right from the camera or photo library
  • Paint brush, eraser, rectangle, filled rectangle, oval, and filled oval tools
  • Select tool - double tap to select all
  • Text tool - annotate your photos and drawings
  • Many colors to choose from
  • Adjustable drawing width
  • Cut, copy, paste, and delete
  • Undo function
  • Duplicate frames

Quick How-To:

  • Start drawing right away with your finger
  • Use + button to add new frames - including from the camera or photo library
  • Tools button lets you change the drawing tool, width, and color
  • With select tool, double tap to select whole frame
  • Edit button brings up Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, and Undo
  • Files button to create new animation or open previous animations
  • Tap frame number to jump to another frame

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later

Sketchy ($0.99) for iPhone is really quick to learn. Popular animation apps, Flipbook ($4.99) and Flipbook Lite (Free), are more complicated in comparison to Sketchy because Flipbook has many more features. The most important feature that Sketchy lacks is a way to share animations. There is not a way to export the animation for viewing online or on other iPods and iPhones. In contrast, Flipbook projects can be saved as an MPEG-4 videos on the flipbook.tv site (read my previous post about the Flipbook app). Another similar app, Animation Creator ($0.99) can export to YouTube. I hope an export feature is added to Sketchy soon because everyone loves to share their animations.

After working with Sketchy, Flipbook, and Animation Creator, Sketchy is the most simple. Animation Creator has a good balance of features versus ease-of-use. Flipbook has the most features and is the most complicated to learn. Sketchy has one very important feature the others do not: a text tool. It's so much better to annotate a drawing when you can type on the screen. Handwriting on an iPod touch or iPhone is difficult and usually looks sloppy.

Animation App Screenshots

It's great that we have options when it comes to animation apps. Whichever app you use, drawing with a finger can be challenging. You might look into a stylus for drawing.


Voice-to-Text: There's Now an App for That

Dragon Dictation is a new iPhone app. It's a straight-forward voice recognition application from Nuance, the same company that makes Dragon NaturallySpeaking for desktop computers. Simply launch the app and tap the record button. Speak into the microphone. Tap Done when finished and Dragon Dictation sends your audio to their servers for processing. Within seconds, the servers send back the text created from your speech.


You will need to say punctuation marks you want to include, like "period" and "comma." In my testing I found that Dragon Dictation made fewer errors than I expected. It's easy to tap the keyboard icon to correct the text. After the text is the way you like it, you'll probably send it to the clipboard so you can paste it into any application. There's also the option to start an email message with the text or to send as a text message.

Voice-to-text is an exciting use for a handheld, particularly for students learning to write or those with writing or typing challenges. Unfortunately, Dragon Dictation will not install on an iPod touch. I see no reason why an iPod touch with a microphone attachment can't run this app, so I hope Nuance Communications updates the software to install on iPods soon. In the meantime, those with iPhones can find lots of uses for Dragon Dictation, especially since the app is free of charge (for a limited time).

Update: Dragon Dictation now works on iPod touch. You will need a microphone since iPod touch does not have one built-in.


Finding App Recommendations

With over 75,000 titles in the App Store, some help in discovering apps is welcome. iPhone and iPod touch users can get app recommendations based on apps they have downloaded with the newly released iPhone OS 3.1.

Here's how to turn on Genius App Recommendations:

  1. Launch the App Store app on your iPhone or iPod touch.
    App Store Icon
  2. Tap the Featured button at the bottom of the screen.
    Featured Button
  3. Tap the Genius button at the top of the screen.
    Genius Button
  4. If this is the first time Genius Recommendations for Apps has been accessed on the device, you will be prompted to turn on Genius. The screen tells you, "Turning on Genius Recommendations for Apps will send information about the apps you download to Apple." Click Turn on Genius.
    Turn On Genius
  5. Input your iTunes account password and tap OK.
    iTunes Password
  6. Read the Genius for Apps Terms of Service. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap Agree. Then tap Agree in the dialog box at the bottom.
    Terms of Service
  7. "You've successfully turned on Genius for Apps." Tap Done.
  8. Scroll through the recommendations. Tap a recommendation to view the details page for the app where you can buy/download.
  9. To remove a recommendation from the list, swipe it to reveal a Remove button.
    Remove Item

Here are some sample recommendations from my iPod touch:

Genius for Apps leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps with time the recommendations will improve as Genius learns more about my app use. I would like to be able to select an app to see recommendations rather than scrolling through random items. Additionally, I'd like to see Genius for Apps added to iTunes so I can browse recommendations on my desktop computer instead of on the handheld.

Of course, the best app recommendations for teaching and learning come from other iPod touch and iPhone-using educators. Here are some websites with lists of apps:

iPhone/iPod touch Apps for K-12iPod/iPhone Apps for EducationUsing the iPod touch in the ClassroomIEAR


NECC Session: iPod touch/iPhone Application Support Group

LeslierFisher.comLeslie Fisher presented a fast-paced session at the National Educational Computing Conference in Washington D.C. It was called The iPod Touch/iPhone Application Support Group. Here are some of the notes I took:

  • Leslie talked about having a battery charge last long by turing off 3G and Bluetooth. Dimming the screen also lets your charge last longer.
  • Take a screenshot by holding down the Sleep and Home buttons at the same time.
  • SaiSuke ($9.99) lets you see your Google Calendar on your iPhone. The best part is that you can see what's written on your calendar in Month view. There is also a free version.
  • Note Pad is a $4.99 replacement to iPod touch's built-in Notes app. Leslie likes that the background is white and it doesn't use Maker Felt as the font.
  • Evernote is free and syncs your notes with your computer and the web.
  • Leslie likes Twitterfon for Twitter.
  • Remember the Milk is for taking notes.
  • Leslie uses Duck You Undo to teach her iPhone new words.
  • Mapping apps works best with GPS on iPhones. Loopt, Around Me, and more.
  • USA Today is a great news app and The Weather Channel is a great weather app.
  • She spent time on not-so-productive apps like Shazam, Beejive ($9.99), iTV,
  • Games: Airport Mania, Jet Set ($4.99), and iSudoku.
  • Responseware from Turning Point is a student feedback collection system.
  • Check out Leslie's 42-slide presentation online. You'll see she mentions music, astronomy, "of the day," and reference apps.


iTunes Account Without a Credit Card

No Credit CardAn iTunes account is required to download iPhone/iPod touch applications from the App Store. When you create an account, iTunes asks you for a credit card number to keep on file for purchases. When using iPods in schools, teachers probably don't want to use their personal credit card and schools usually do not have a credit card that can be used for iTunes. Fortunately, there is a way to create a new iTunes account without giving financial information. Here's how:

  1. Open iTunes and go to the iTunes Store. Then click to go to the App Store.
  2. Sign out of any iTunes account you might already be signed in with. (Do this by clicking your email address in the top-right corner of the iTunes window. Click the Sign Out button in the dialog box that appears.)
  3. Go to the details page of any free app. Click the Get App button.
  4. Click the Create New Account button and complete the registration.
    Create New Account
  5. When asked to select a credit card, choose None.
  6. iTunes tells you that you will be asked to provide a payment method when you make your first purchase.

I suggest adding money to the new iTunes account through gift cards. This way when you want to purchase a paid app, you still won't be required to give a credit card number.

It's important to note that iTunes will not provide None as a choice for Credit Card unless you create an account by first downloading a free app. The good news is that you only have to do this once, and you can sign into to this account on up to five computers.


Picks from the App Store, April 2009

I hosted "Picks from the App Store" on Ustream.tv on April 29, 2009. The broadcast was recorded live and you are certainly welcome to watch the archive version below or at ustream.tv/recorded/1445088.


The best part about the broadcast was the associated chatroom. Unfortunately, the chatroom was not archived with the video. During the hour-long workshop, I demonstrated and talked about a variety of apps. Here are the App Store links:

In addition, after the show I learned that you can indeed search within the iTunes Store for only free apps. After initiating a search, click Power Search and select Applications. You'll see a checkbox that says Search for free applications.

Note: Unfortunately, the recording did not pick up the audio or video from David's call--another reason to watch live.


Web Directories for Apps

Whether you're browsing in iTunes on your desktop or in the mobile App Store on your iPod touch/iPhone, you can get lost in more than 35,000 apps. But, you should know that iTunes isn't the only place to find apps to download. Let me tell you about three websites that offer alternative ways to sort through all those apps. Although these are websites outside of iTunes, when you find an app to download, they link to the details page in iTunes so you can download the app.


Mobclix keeps detailed data about the App Store. I like that it allows filtering apps by category and price. This way I can narrow my browsing and searching to free apps in the Education category. I can sort the results by rank, average rating, or release date.

App Shopper

AppShopper also makes it easy to browse by category and free vs. paid. You can also browse just new apps. Unfortunately, AppShopper's search option can't be limited to just free apps.

Educational Apps Review

Educational Apps Review has video reviews of a couple dozen apps. The growing number of reviews are tagged by grade level and subject. Simply click on the tags on the left side of the page to see the reviews. The site is run by educators and they are organizing a community around the site with a Ning and a wiki.

You can access these sites on your desktop computer or in mobile Safari. When using mobile Safari, the download links actually launch the mobile App Store where you can download and install the app. (Unfortunately, Educational Apps Review's videos won't play in mobile Safari.)

Last week the billionth app was downloaded from the App Store. Apple recently said they have sold 37 million iPhones and iPod touches. That means that there has been an average of 27 apps downloaded for each device sold. That number will only increase as the App Store gets more and better apps. Next time you want to browse and search for apps, I highly suggest visiting the online app directories above--you just might find your next favorite app!