Wednesday, August 22, 2012

(9) Week 3 Part 2: Mobile apps and programs

Useful apps for iPhone, iPad and Android smart phones and tablets

[a big thank you to Brendan H, Jacquie T  and Tim C for their Android app recommendations! ]  

Ok, part 2 of going mobile - we will install some useful apps that will make life easier, more efficient and more connected. 


Step 1: Choose your level and your mission!

This task is customised... so choose your degree of difficulty based on your current experience level 
- Not yet mobile
- Newbie 
- Medium 
- Experienced :-)
(This is something we could do more in our teaching I think.)

If you are not yet mobile, and saying: "What's a smartphone or tablet?"
Task: Book in to borrow my iPad :-)
(A smartphone is a phone that can connect to the internet. There are the phones made by Apple (iPhones) and they use the iOS operating system. The other main type of smart phones run on the Android operating system. 
A tablet is the general term for iPads and other similar devices like the Galaxy.)

Are you a Newbie mobile device user - "just got my phone/tablet"?
Mission: Install and have a play with 3-5 of the apps below that interest you
Support: ask me or someone from one of the two groups below to sit with you (to reduce anxiety and uncertainty at the beginning, reduce frustration during the process, and ensure you experience success at the end!)

Are you a medium user of your smart phone or tablet?
Mission: Install 6-10 of the apps below that interest you, and post a comment below or tweet your favourite
Support: ask for help from me or others if you get stuck to reduce frustration and ensure you experience success

Are you an experienced user of your smartphone or tablet?
Mission: Install all the apps you want, but definitely include one of the Advanced tools at the bottom of the page
Offer support: Add your recommended apps as a comment under the blog post, tweet your favourite, and look out for others who may need a hand or celebrate their achievement. 
Support: ask me if you get stuck or need further challenges!

Step 2:
Open this web page in your smartphone and/or tablet so you can tap on the links for the appropriate device. (Type in and go to Week 3 part 2).

Step 3: Read through this list, and install the apps that interest you.
Voice Assistant
Increasingly, our devices are becoming hands-free digital assistants - understanding what we say to them, allowing us to do less typing and tapping, and completing tasks for us.

ANDROID Voice Assistant
Skyvi for Android (Free)

Siri for Apple iOS - already installed

If you have an iPad 3 or iPhone 4S or 5, you have Siri - the voice activated intelligent personal assistant
Here is the Apple Siri FAQ webpage.
To use Siri:
(1) Press and hold down the Home button for 2 seconds to turn it on.
(2) You will see the silver Siri button appear - purple swirling around it indicates Siri is listening.
(3) Ask a question or give an instruction. There is no need to tap the silver button when you have finished your question, as Siri senses you have finished automatically.
If you ask Siri "what can you do?" a list of possible commands and tasks appears.

You can issue a whole range of instructions or ask questions such as
"What is the weather tomorrow?"
"Find all the emails from Jasmine yesterday"
"Send a text to Anthony saying I will see him tomorrow"
"What is 137 times 53?"
"Where is the nearest Thai restaurant?"
"Set my alarm for 6am tomorrow"
"Create a new meeting with Peter at 11am tomorrow"

If you have an iPad 3 or iPhone 4S or 5, you can dictate your emails and notes rather than type them using the iPad or iPhone keyboard.
To dictate:
(1) Open an email and tap Reply as you normally would.
(2) Tap the microphone button in the bottom row of the keyboard, and dictate your email.
You can also speak punctuation. For example, say all of this including the italics:
"Dear Mary comma new paragraph 
Thank you for sending through your draft full stop Here is my feedback full stop new paragraph 
Regards comma Susie full stop"

Personal Trainer app
Runkeeper - Android and  iPhone  ***excellent app ***

Dropbox (for iPad and Android) is free storage in the cloud - this means you can access your files on any computer, smartphone or tablet such as iPad

Simple notes tool:
Notes - this app is already on your phone. You can easily take notes then email them at the end of the meeting.

More advanced note tools:
Notes plus for iPad
Evernote for iPad and   Android

PDF readers
Adobe Reader

GoodReader for iPad $5.49
iAnnotate  for iPad $5.49
iAnnotate for Android
Read eBooks

Bluefire reader for iPad
Bluefire reader for Android
iBooks for iPad
Here are some alternatives to the iBooks apps for Android

Genius scan: scan receipts, documents and email them to yourself
(note you can also just photograph it with your smart phone or tablet and email the photo to yourself)
Genius scan for iPhone and iPad
Genius scan for Android

 Twitter client: Tweetdeck

Desktop version for your computer
iPhone / iPad   

Voice recorders Voice memos - this app is already on your iPhone
Audio memos for iPhone
Dragon Dictation for iPad and iPhone
Quickvoice for iPhone and iPad, Android
Dropvox - iPhone and iPad (puts recording automatically in Dropbox)

Tramtracker for iPhone and iPad
Tramhunter for Android
SmartPark - iPhone and iPad, Android (find your car, parking meter alarm)

BusinessShopping list apps: Hungry for Android, Shop Shop for iPhone and iPad
AusPost for iPhone and iPad, AusPost for Android
Domain for iPad (Real estate search)
Urbanspoon restaurant finder: iPad, Android
Media Consumption
TED talks for iPad and iPhone 
TED talks for Android 
TED is a site with amazing 15 minute video talks by passionate smart people trying to improve the world.

Flipboard and Zite are amazing apps that present in a beautiful format free content from newspapers from all over the world and from magazines such as Scientific American. 

Flipboard for iPhone and iPad (click the + to add content)
Flipboard for Android
Zite for iPhone and iPad
Zite for Android
Books: iBooks - and read loads of free classics no longer in copyright
Books: Amazon website: buy print books, or the Kindle version and read them instantly on your iPad
Internet radio: TuneIn for iPad, Android
Television: iView for iPad (ABC catch up tv) Android app is coming apparently.
Education: iTunesU
Music: Shazam for iPad, Android - identify the song playing on your radio or at a restaurant **magic**

Weatherzone for iPhone and iPad and Android

Wolfram Alpha: iPad and iPhone $1.99, Android  $4.00 **genius**
Scientific Calculator: iPad and iPhone,  Android
Calculess: iPad, scientific calculator with nested expressions
Google earth: iPad, Android

e-Anatomy: iPad, Android
and many many more in your discipline to discover

Flashlight: iPhone3 and 4iPhone4, Android
Compass: iPad, Android
Timer:  iPad, Android
Google translate: iPad and iPhone, Android

AstronomyStarWalk: iPad $5.49 **beautiful** Sky map for Android 

Drawsomething for iPad and iPhone, Android
Words with friends; iPhone and iPadAndroid

*** Advanced tools ***

1. If this then that: This web site (not an app) allows you to integrate your social media sites with a set of rules

2. Vyclone: collaborative video creation and sharing

3. QRReader for iPad, Android:

Download the app. Scan QR codes using your camera. Try this one to the left :-)
You can create your own QR codes here

And for those who still like looking things up on manuals, you can find the Apple manuals here
Step 4: Now you have downloaded and played with some new apps, share your views with your personal learning network... so, post a comment below or tweet which one you like the most. Or you may wish to write about others you recommend.

Great stuff!
You can now proudly attach your Week 3 badge :)
and check if your neighbour needs a hand...

Thanks everyone :)


  1. I also recommend the Skype app(great for meetings). Plus for those of you who bank with ANZ, the ANZ app is fantastic. Very convenient.

    1. That's great Alison, yes Skype is terrific for the iPad 2 and 3, and the 3 has a front facing camera which makes it easier. Has anyone used Skype with students?

    2. Not with students but I have used it to teleconference from home to board meetings!

    3. Alison: Thanks for the suggestion. I'll download the ANZ app (assuming they have it on Android) and give that a go!

  2. Just came across this today, might be some useful additions to your burgeoning lists Susie!

    "The Lifehack Big List: 50 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone":

    1. thanks for sharing Jacquie this is a great list. What are your favourites?

  3. Love the flash light, very cool. Also like the qr read, what a lovely website! Agree with Alison, Skype on mobile devices is excellent! Also recommended whirly word for the gamers - easier than word and no one needs to know if you can't spell!

    1. Yes maybe we need a games hour one lunch time :) I am loving Draw Something - very good for visual communication skills - and, for a change, not competitive! I am susiemac999 if anyone wants to play :)

    2. I'm with you Susie; absolutely love Draw Something, though my drawing skills are HORRENDOUS and I haven't actually played it for a while.

      Hanging with Friends is another really fun word game (it's Hangman. On an iPhone/Android!) and far more fun than Words with Friends, imho.

  4. I quite like the 'google translate' app, I am proud to say it even has Irish!!

    1. Brilliant - what do you use it for Sharleen?

  5. I now have Runkeeper to monitor my 3day old fitness campaign; it's syncing really well from my android phone (it talks to me after 5 mins running telling me how far I've run, my average and current pace, so I can keep an ear on whether to pick up or maintain pace). I also have it on iPad to review, and can access from desktop too, but I only run with the phone, LOL.
    Bluefire Reader is another great app (for Android and Apple), it's a reading app. If you don't want to read ebooks online (ie credit or wifi access is short served), you can download EBL branded ebooks to the Bluefire Reader, and then read 'offline'. Nb there are heaps of ebook platforms, but EBL is one of the larger ones Deakin Library subscribes to, so test out Bluefire R.

  6. I don't have an iPhone but I do have an Android phone, so the apps will probably be different (but some may be similar).

    I don't use my phone for work purposes, so it is very much a social and convenience device, but the apps that I find myself using regularly on the go are:

    Facebook (yes, I know. For shame.)
    Hoyts (movie times yay!)
    Layar (excellent when one wants to find out some useless knowledge about stuff)
    ShopSavvy (barcode reader)
    The Weather Channel
    WhatsApp (cheaper messaging!)

    And a whole bunch of mobile games like Draw Something, Hanging with Friends, Angry Birds, etc.

    I must say that I probably don't use my mobile ENOUGH, apart from phone calls and messaging.