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CDETB Curriculum Development Unit | App Of The Week – reviews 2020-2021
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Happy Summer!


Friday, 25th June 2021


Re-open EU


This is the last app review for this academic year. Appropriately, it has to do with a certain pandemic.

If you are planning to travel to another EU country this year, this app provides a one-stop shop in 24 languages: daily updates on current restrictions, quarantine and testing requirements, mobile contact tracing and warning apps across Europe.

Download and open.

The main menu is simple: ‘measures in place’ and ‘travel plan’. Select a country and see what the status is regarding the introduction of the Digital COVID certificate; rules on travel into and out of that country (both EU and global); general measures in place; health information (including epidemiological indicators, such as positive cases).

Search for your countries of origin and destination in the travel plan submenu. The result is a display of current travel advice.

Could be used for: planning trips and keeping safe whilst travelling.

What I liked about it: daily updates.

Watch out for: heavily text based with no video or audio information, which might make it inaccessible to some users.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play and online.

More information here: https://reopen.europa.eu/en/

Have a lovely summer and stay safe!


Friday, 18th June 2021


The sea app


Finally, the holiday season! If you are on a staycation this year and want to spend your time somewhere by the sea, have this guide on your device. From their website: “The Sea is a geo location wiki app with all the locations and info you need for your sea or coastal passions from these categories and loads more essential features.”

You need to register as the app uses location pinning.

The main menu is well designed:

‘activities’ leads to all kinds of sea- and water-related activities;

culture’ lists shipwrecks, harbours, lighthouses, islands, Martello towers, and other interesting facts;

‘environment’ features sea caves, whale watching, bird sanctuaries, natural wonders, and marine protected areas;


‘advocacy’ to organisations working for the protection of marine life and water safety.

Each location has information on current conditions, including swell, tides, water temperatures, and weather. This should keep everybody safe.

You can contribute by putting a pin on the map and adding details to the wikis.

‘Seapod’ features a few podcasts with environmentalists. The blog section contains information on how to use the app.

Could be used for: planning a day out or a holiday on the beach.

What I liked about it: a fabulous resource – there is even a section on wellbeing.

Watch out for: designed for mobile devices, the display is a bit small on an IPad.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://thesea.ie/


Friday, 11th June 2021


Puzzle Page – Daily puzzles


If you have a bit of downtime and want to engage your brain, try this app.

Every day you receive a full page of new puzzles: word searches, crosswords, Sudokus, picture crosses and ‘Os and Xs’ games.

Download and open. The notices board shows you updates.

The main menu resembles the puzzle page of a newspaper. Different types of puzzles are highlighted and you can select one by tapping into it. Each one comes with instructions.

Help is available under the advanced tap on the top of the menu. Additionally, each game has help buttons.

When you click on ‘suggestions’, you can see all active events.

When you complete a puzzle, you get a reward – in form of coins which you can then use to unlock more games. If you watch an ad video, you can collect additional coins. Upon completion you are invited to a short tutorial of the hub, which allows you to search for puzzles in the archive. There are also special issues of extra puzzles.

Could be used for: keeping your brain active.

What I liked about it: easy to play with a neat display.

Watch out for: if you want more games, you need to subscribe.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and from the Amazon app store.

More information here: https://www.appynation.com/apps/puzzle-page/


Friday, 4th June 2021


Sparknotes – Studying, simplified.


Last minute cramming for an English literature exam? Or just want to brush up of your knowledge? Try this app: Sparknotes contains over 500 literature guides including chapter summaries, study questions, and interactive quizzes.

Download and open. The interface is built for a smartphone, so if you are using a tablet, it will look a bit small, even when you use the enlargement button in the lower right corner.

Browse all titles or select one from one the four categories: drama, poetry, Shakespeare, or short stories. You can also search by title, author, or character.

When you have chosen your text, you need to sign up in order to access the material – make sure to delete the app or you will get charged after the free trial has expired.

On the company’s website you will find great infographics and companion resources (memes, quizzes) for some classic texts. Other subject areas are also available there. Teacher guides can be purchased.

Could be used for: self-assessment and reading well-loved books.

What I liked about it: font sizes can be changed quickly.

Watch out for: only free for one month. Material is open access on the website.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play and on their website.

More information here: https://www.sparknotes.com/


Friday, 28th May 2021


Brilliant – solve, learn, grow

If you are like me and struggling with Maths and Science subjects, this app might be for you. Learn through short, interactive courses.

Download and sign in with your Apple, Facebook, Google, or any other email account. You need to give your birthday in order to set up an account. Select your level of understanding: ‘student’, ‘professional’, hobbyist/enthusiast’, or ‘parent/teacher’, or ‘none of these’. A student is someone looking to understand concepts, so that one seemed to fit best.

The main menu displays popular courses and recommendations for each cohort, but you can also browse or search for courses in Maths, Science or Computer Science: there are over 60 to choose from ranging from foundational to applied.

The ‘joy of problem solving’ looked promising. Each course contains quizzes and other exercises, so should keep all students engaged. Multiple choice questions are the preferred means of assessing your knowledge. If you don’t know the answer, you can opt to see the explanation page.


Could be used for: for students studying at level 5 and 6 Maths and Science degrees.

What I liked about it: self-explanatory courses.

Watch out for: only the first 7 days are free. The premium option lets you access courses offline.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://brilliant.org/


Friday, 14th May 2021





Here is a homage to a ‘classic’ electronic resource. Flickr has been around since 2004 and was (and still is) for many users the go to platform for photos. You can store your own picture or videos for free.

Download and sign up. Allow or disallow notifications. The general menu lists works by professional artists, who you can follow.

Your own space is accessible when you click on the ‘person’ icon. ‘Camera roll’ allows you to upload your photos, which you can put into albums. Share them by adding them to the ‘public’ folder. You can indicate your favourite photos by double tapping on them. Join groups. There is also a statistics section where you can track your views.

Could be used for: finding royalty free photos for use in educational settings: https://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/

What I liked about it: the same high level of usability, but for when you are on the go.

Watch out for: make sure to only share photos with the public that you are comfortable with.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play

More information here: https://www.flickr.com/


Friday, 7th May 2021


Rosetta Stone: Learn Languages


One day we will be allowed to travel further afield again. And you might want to brush up on your language skills beforehand. Here is a tool that makes that task fun.

Simply download. The app asks you for permission to track your activities across other websites, but you can just disallow that. Select a language you want to learn. Irish is one option! You need to create an account at this stage. Extended learning activities are available with the paid versions.

The interface is pretty simple: you can set yourself a goal by choosing your level of ability (beginner or intermediate) and a reason why you want to learn (e.g. travel or work).

The app then creates a plan for the next weeks – the ‘basics and beyond’ template, for example, runs for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, 6 weeks in total.

Lessons are interactive. Native speakers point out what you can see in the picture.     A real-time pronunciation feedback system then checks out your reply.

Could be used for: revising for language classes or getting to grips with a new language.

What I liked about it: you can pick your voice type (adult male/female or child).

Watch out for: a lot of pop ups trying to entice you to sign up for one of the paid versions.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and online.

More information here: https://www.rosettastone.com/mobile-apps/


Friday, 30th April 2021


IXL- Maths and English

Towards the end of the school year exam time looms. If you want to some do revision or additional exercises, try IXL. This app hosts “interactive question types, vibrant graphics, and enchanting audio” in two subject areas: English and Maths.

Download and open. You can sign in or continue as a guest. Teachers can avail of licenses, which include access to analytic tools.

The menu is simple – choose between Maths and English and then select the class level (ranging from Junior Infants to Leaving Certificate year). This then opens up new subcategories of topics which are based on the national curriculum. Leaving certificate students, for example, get ‘Exponential and logarithmic functions’ or ‘Trigonometry’ in their Maths menu; junior infants exercises for ‘counting to three’ (the CDU librarian is clearly closer to that level).

Correct replies are being rewarded with motivational popup messages. If you manage to go really far, you get a challenge. Incorrect answers trigger a response: the correct answer is given with an explanation. You can choose to learn with an example (click on the lightbulb).

From a universal design perspective, there is also good news: “Junior-infants through second-class maths and English levels have audio automatically available to provide extra support for students. Audio can also be enabled for maths skills in the third-class through fifth-class levels.”

Could be used for: catching up with some essential learning.

What I liked about it: exercises have been designed with age appropriate graphics and supports in mind.

Watch out for: a clock keeps track of how long a student takes to answer all questions, which could be anxiety inducing for some. There is a daily practice limit with the guest version.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://ie.ixl.com/


Friday, 23rd April 2021


Uptime – Free your mind

If you are looking for some new ideas for your teaching or are just generally interested in learning new things, try Uptime.

This app claims to have “thousands of 5-minute Knowledge Hacks from the world’s best books, courses and documentaries”. Sign up for free. Select at least three topics in order to personalise your homepage. Usage is currently free.

Choose from trending books, courses or documentaries, which seem to be covering a wide variety of popular science and general knowledge/interest topics – you can also browse by topic or type of medium (that’s the ‘deep dive’ option). You can watch, listen or read. Masterclasses are run by well known public figures, e.g. Chris Hadfield, Steve Martin and Paul Krugman, so there should be something in this collection for everybody. A team of experts and techies based in London curate all content for quality.

I was interested in a course on making your own app without coding. This could run in the background while you are doing other things. Jump forward to another section by selecting ‘advanced settings’ (three dots). You can save your hack or share it on social media.

Could be used for: immersing yourself in new areas of interest.

What I like about it: you can switch between audio and text reader. This should attract a wide group of learners.

Watch out for: you need to give your mobile phone number for verification purposes.


Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and for download from their website.

More information here: https://uptime.app/


Friday, 16th April 2021


Lumen 5 – Video Maker

Social media channels love video content, but you might not feel comfortable with designing and recording in case it looks amateurish. Lumen 5 is a fabulous resource which can help you create videos on your desktop – you can use one of their “professionally designed video templates as a starting point.” It could be a news item, an ad, or a how-to tutorial.

Go to their website and sign up with a new account or with your Facebook account.

The video format will be influenced by the platform you choose: will the video be displayed on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or do you want a custom made video? The format and length will change depending on your selection.

You can use your own content, media (videos bits, photos), and music – or else use some of the free material provided. Decide on colour and font schemes. The resolution of the video can also be changed.

Record your own voice over and build a video scene by scene. Help is on hand – free videos explain the process step by step.

Download the app. It notifies you when your videos are ready for sharing and you can use your mobile device to upload them, e.g. to Instagram. This is handy for when you are out and about.


Could be used for: creating short videos for advertising a new course.

What I liked about it: simply copy and paste a link to a blog post you have written and let Lumen5 make a video of it! Dead easy.

Watch out for: 3 videos per month are free, but they contain the Lumen5 watermark – go for the paid version if you want to avoid this.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://lumen5.com/


Friday, 9th April 2021



What 3 words – never get lost again


As we are more out and about, we venture into places we have never been before. And might come across a situation, where we need emergency services. This app might just save your life.

Download and open. Select your preferred language. Allow the app to use your location.

A short four slide presentation explain the philosophy behind the app – as street addresses don’t always pinpoint a place, what3words claims to have “given every 3m in the world a unique 3 word address. The words are randomly assigned to each square and will always stay the same”. This should allow you to find and share a location when you use the same three words.

The CDU became such a 3 word address. You need to tap into the map and see the app create these three terms unique to this precise square: ///neon.trail.crowned

Search for addresses using the search box. You can also take a photo with your camera and add a sticker. Switch between grid or satellite view.

Save your locations for quick access (you need to sign up for that). You can also sync locations across multiple devices or share via Facebook, Gmail, or your personal email. Can be used in conjunction with Google Maps.

Could be used for: pinpointing properties for deliveries, emergency services, or finding your way around a new neighbourhood.

What I liked about it: should also work in the great outdoors.

Watch out for: if you want to share a location, you need a phone signal.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://what3words.com/products/what3words-app/


Friday, 2nd April 2021


Good Friday


Happy Easter!


Friday, 26th March 2021


Carrot Weather


If you are heading for your socially distanced (Easter) walk next week, you might want to check the weather beforehand. Here is a slightly crazy app that lets you do just that.

Firstly, you need to set a ‘personality’: do you want an app that behaves like a professional weather forecast? One that is friendly? Or a bit snarky? One that threatens your life? Or perhaps you chose the ‘overkill’ one (expect bad language)? No points for guessing which one was chosen here;) There are options for switching on ‘politics’ (choose your political leaning) and/or ‘profanity’ (simply ‘on’ or ‘off’).

You need to grant location access. The forecast is displayed in two-hour steps. Click at a time and you get the breakdown, either in hourly or weekly mode: condition; temperature; precipitation change and amount; wind speed and gusts; UV index; cloud cover; and visibility. The main menu also displays information about sunrise/sunset and the phases of the moon.

The ‘missions’ are basic treasure hunts, e.g. “find the U.S. president’s official residence”. When you are successful, you can read up on the site by clicking on a link to Wikipedia.

You can also check the weather in another location – simply use the search function.

Could be used for: a quick overview and a bit of craic.

What I liked about it: Check out the ‘achievements’ under the ‘carrot’ tap: conditions that you have experienced will unlock then. Cannot wait for ‘don’t eat the yellow snow’ when I come across the first snowfall… Oh, and don’t tap the sensor button. The app doesn’t like that:)

Watch out for: the premium club has weather maps and all kind of other gadgets, but you need to sign up for the paid version.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: http://www.meetcarrot.com/weather/



Friday, 19th March 2021


Stretching & Flexibility Plan


With gyms closed and fitness classes only happening online at present, it is sometimes difficult to keep a good daily routine of stretching.

‘Stretching & Flexibility Plan’ Download and open this app – no sign in needed.

Select from a wide variety of simple exercises. A picture shows you what to do, but you need to read the instructions.

If you have ever done Yoga or Pilates, a lot of these postures would be familiar to you. But you don’t need any kind of experience in order to complete these stretches safely.

Set the timer (and switch on the sound effect) to keep to a certain amount of time. And you can listen to your favourite music as well by tuning into iTunes Music or Spotify – just click on the note symbol.

Could be used for: counteracting the effects of sitting for long hours.

What I liked about it: easy to follow instructions.

Watch out for: this is just a basic teaser app – the actual workout programmes (videos) cost money, but it might be worth investing in them.

Available from the App Store.

More information here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/stretching-flexibility-plan/id1268260949 

Another free resource: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/strength-and-flex-exercise-plan-week-by-week/

Also, there are lots of free YouTube videos.


Friday, 12th March 2021


My Study Life – School Planner

We all seem to have become busier during the pandemic. Sometimes it is difficult keeping up with meeting schedules and other work commitments. Here is an app that helps students and teachers with their timetables.

Download and log in with your Apple, Facebook, Gmail, Office 365, or any other email account. Allow or disallow notifications –here it would make sense to allow them.

A quick guide explains the basic settings. Schedules are by year and/or term, subjects, classes, tasks, and exams. You can add a new academic year and assign fixed classes. You need to manually input holidays. Subjects you teach can be colour-coded. A class consists of subject, module, location information (room/building), teacher, and time. Reminders can be set at different interval to notify the user of upcoming events or incomplete tasks. For an overview, simply click on the calendar.

Could be used for: keeping track of classes, assignments, and exams.

What I like about it: very simple interface. Can be synched across platforms.

Watch out for: a fair bit of data input is needed by the user.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and online.

More information here: https://www.mystudylife.com/


Friday, 5th March 2021



Ever wondered what Earth looked like billions of years ago? This handy app lets you look back in time.

Download and open. On the left hand side you will find the time menu ranging from Ancient, Paleo, and Ice Age to Modern Earth. Each is then broken down further with short pop up texts explaining what happened in each period.

Move Earth around with your finger or click on the time slider, which runs along the scale to the right. You can zoom in to see where continents were in relation to each other, how sea levels have changed, or how the global average temperature from the 1950s to now increased.

You can add additional layers, such as a grid, cities, or borders to help you find your way around. Alternatively, you can switch to ‘flat view’. Charts on temperature, carbon dioxide, day length, biodiversity, luminosity, and oxygen levels provide additional information. There are also videos and in depth articles on related topics, such as mass extinctions and plate tectonics.

Could be used for: classes on climate change or for geography lessons.

What I liked about it: great example of an educational app that is intuitive and fun to explore.

Watch out for: don’t spin too fast or you might get dizzy!

Available from the App Store and for the desktop.

More information here: https://www.biointeractive.org/classroom-resources/earthviewer

Here you will find some worksheets.


Friday, 26th February 2021


Haiku desk – Presentations and Slideshows

Download and sign up. You need to provide your full name and email address for this.

The free version gives you 11 slides. Each has a default professional photograph, but you can change that by using your own or by searching the photo database. The submenu at the bottom of the picture helps you customise your presentation. Add text in different formats or change the layout. Another tab allows you to include private or public notes, which can link to other resources. If you want to add a video or download your creation, you need to get the pro version.

You can share it via social media or email. If you have an iPhone, you can control your presentation by synching your desk on both devices.

Help is available – simply click on the question mark symbol for a video and the support section.

Could be used for: professional presentations, a press release, or report.

What I liked about it: your Haiku can be shown in Google Classroom.

Watch out for: the app wants to access other apps on your device, so make sure you don’t allow it when you sign up.

Available from the App Store.

More information here: https://www.haikudeck.com/


Friday, 19th February 2021


CollaNote: Notes and Whiteboard

A new app has arrived which helps with collaborative notetaking and recording, developed by a student at a university in Germany,

Simply download and open. If you want to collaborate with others, you need to sign in with your Gmail, Facebook or Apple account. If you are not logged in, you cannot edit any of the public notes. You can still create a new note, but keep in mind that it will be cleared after you close down the app. So, in order to be truly co-operative, it makes sense to sign in.

Creating a new note is easy. Different types of pens can be used to write and highlight text. Images, textboxes, stickers, emojis, speech bubbles, and audio recordings make your notes colourful. The developer recommends using the “audio recording feature that links what you write to what you record – and play it like karaoke.”

Users who work better with gridded or note lined paper can change to their preferred mode by clicking on the three bar icon in the top menu. Pdfs can also be imported.

You can invite other users to take notes together by looking them up by email or nickname. Then simply work on a project together in real time.

Could be used for: collaborative projects with a class.

What I liked about it: it doesn’t seem to collect any data about its users.

Watch out for: make sure you know the people you are working with in real life.

Available from the App Store.

More information here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/collanote-notes-whiteboard/id1540956268


Friday, 12th February 2021



Walking, running and hiking are some of the means of keeping fit during the current travel restrictions. As recommended for use by Inchicore College this week, Strava is an app that helps you keep track of your fitness activities.

Download and sign in (Gmail, Facebook, or with another email account). Decide if you want notifications enabled which deliver monthly stats, new challenges, and other messages. Your profile is public by default, but you can change this. If you keep it open, people are able to find you.

Strava uses GPS, so you need to allow the use of your location. Choose a sport you want to participate in. The options range from running, bicycle riding, walking, hiking, to winter and water sport activities. You can now see a blue dot on a map. That’s you. Once you start moving this will move. Connect a heart rate sensor by connecting the app to the Bluetooth feature on your device.

You can now start recording. The app shows the time spent, your average speed, and the distance you have travelled. Add photos of your activity if you wish.

You can connect with friends, follow other athletes, and participate in challenges.

Could be used for: sharing the fun of a socially distanced walk.

What I like about it: easy to use.

Watch out for: don’t become overly competitive:)

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.strava.com/apps


Friday, 5th February 2021


Biodiversity Data Capture App


From their website: “A new smartphone app has been developed that allows quick and easy recording of biodiversity in the field. Biodiversity Data Capture app, developed by Compass Informatics, allows recorders to capture details of any species they encounter in the field, and send the records directly to the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s national database. The app generates a co-ordinate automatically from a GPS, so recorders only need to select the identified species and some other additional information“.

Download and open. The design is pretty basic, but effective. The “help” button links to some documentation explaining how the app works. But the short introductory paragraph at the top of the screen also offers simple instructions.

Capturing a new sighting is easy. Allow the app to use your location so that it can add co-ordinates. Take a picture with your camera and add some information to your image: select a ‘species group’ (e.g. birds), a ‘species’ (e.g. Chaffinch), and a ‘habitat’. The ‘site’ field allows you to specify the location. You can include a comment. The app asks for your name and email address.

Could be used for: developing citizen scientists of all ages – explore who lives in your neighbourhood during your socially distanced walk. Or make this into a treasure hunt.

What I like about it: great to be part of such an important study.

Watch out for: you need to have some idea of what type of animal or plant is in front of you, so you might need to consult other apps for that.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.biodiversityireland.ie/resources/apps/


Friday, 29th January 2021


Jamboard – Digital Whiteboard


Jamboard is Google’s whiteboard solution. “Boost student collaboration and engagement with the Jamboard app — powered by Google Cloud. Student tablet users can access a suite of rich editing tools to collaborate with students or educators. You can even access it from a web browser too.”

Simply download and sign in your Gmail account.

Start a new project by clicking on the pen in the lower right hand corner.

You can now select your writing tool: different types of pens which come in several colours. You can add sticky notes and images, and take pictures with your camera.

For a new slide simply click on the slide bar on the top.

Share by adding people or groups to it, copy and forward it as a link, or change it into a pdf.

Your students can connect to a jamboard through the Bluetooth option on their device or through a code.

Could be used for: student presentations and collaborative work.

What I like about it: a minimalist design – very straightforward to use. Also, it has a number of assistive drawing tools.

Watch out for: as always, be careful with what you share.

Available from the App Store, Google Play, and online.

More information here: https://edu.google.com/products/jamboard/


Friday, 22nd January 2021


Coursera: Learn new skills


Coursera runs only online courses, so they were well prepared for this new remote learning environment. As their website says: “Build skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online from world-class universities and companies.”

You need to log in with email or your Facebook account. The GDPR page has two boxes – you only need to agree to the terms and conditions (box 1).

Enrolling in courses is easy: explore all on offer – they range from Arts & Humanities, Business, Computer Science, Data Science, Information Technology, Health, Maths & Logic, Personal Development, Physical Science & Engineering, to Social Sciences and Language Learning.

The courses are at course, certificate and degree level. Each description gives you all the relevant information, including enrolment options. Many thousands are free, but if you want a recognised qualification you need to pay.

You can also get recommendations depending on your learning goal.

Could be used for: professional and personal development.

What I like about it: helps you get a qualification during a virus pandemic.

Watch out for: degrees can be quite costly – and, of course, no substitute to the real world experience.

Available from the App Store, Google Play, and online.

More information here: https://www.coursera.org/


Friday, 15th January 2021




One of the disadvantages of the current pandemic is that is much harder to ask another human being for help. Learning from others as they show you how to do things is one aspect of our social lives that has suffered recently.

Here is an app that could help alleviate some of that stress. It thrives on sharing knowledge with others.

Simply download WikiHow – no need for logins.

Several solutions to your problem are being presented – starting with ‘quick fixes’. They are basically step-by-step descriptions which include photos and short videos.

‘Featured’ lists how-to-instructions of popular searches (e.g. how to thicken frosting).

The ‘random’ tap could throw up anything, but might be fun to explore.

The ‘survival kit’ lists tutorials that might just save your life, ranging from first aid advice to self-defence. These include videos. It might be a wise move to look at some of them before you find yourself in such a situation (e.g. Heimlich Manoeuvre)!

You can use the search engine – type in some keywords and select the entry closest to what you were looking for. I received a list of references and a quick summary, which I could then either bookmark or share with others via email or social media.

Could be used for: getting the hang of things quickly, e.g. how to clean something.
What I like about it: easy to understand instructions which use photos, pictograms and videos
Watch out for: as with any advice received from strangers over the Internet – be careful. Also little content for visually impaired users.

Available from the App Store, Google Play, and online. The website lists categories and has versions in other languages.

More information here: https://www.wikihow.com/Main-Page


Friday, 8th January 2021


Get Ireland Walking

New year, new you. Walking is a great way of keeping fit, meeting new people, and having fun. For when we are allowed to travel beyond the 5km limits, here is an app that might come in handy. Download and open (you need to be over 16).

The ‘find a walk’ menu lists recommended organised walks by county. It outlines wheelchair and buggy accessibility and shows how many places are available for each time slot. You need to decide how many people you would like to register (children under 16 don’t need to be registered, but must be accompanied by an adult). Add your contact details. The walks are facilitated by local clubs, who will use your data to get in touch.

Mountaineering Ireland have designed this tool and they have plenty more ideas for people who want to explore Ireland’s beautiful walking ways: https://getirelandwalking.ie/walkways/

Could be used for: exploring your locality and getting some ideas for trips your class.

What I like about it: try the 21 days walking challenge.

Watch out for: many walks are on in the evening, so best wear appropriate clothing (think visibility).

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.getirelandwalking.ie/


Happy new year!


Friday, 18th December 2020


Need some inspiration for Christmas dinner? Not sure what to do with leftovers? There is, unsurprisingly, an app to help you with that.

Yummly has a wide audience and the content reflects that. Simply download it. The dashboard lists popular recipes – different types of cuisines, special dietary tips, and seasonal foods. Fussy eaters should also find something that they like here. There are many articles that let you explore more food related ideas. ‘Seconds’ lists short videos for recipes which take under 15 minutes to make – complimented with nutritional information, written directions, and a list of ingredients. You can save those into your virtual shopping list, save the list for later use, or order online.

Use the search function to look up recipes by ingredient or simply scan an item with your camera. The app will send you suggestions to make with what you have – handy if you find that dodgy looking cucumber in the back of the fridge.

An interesting feature is ‘connected kitchen’, where you add appliances. A short tutorial introduces how to use the thermometer, which you can use to check on your cooking. It sends real-time temperature updates to your phone. If you choose this option you need to allow the app to use the Bluetooth setting on your device.

The pro version gives you access to step-by-step lessons and teaching videos from professional chefs. You can also create a profile to get personalised recipes by signing up with your email or Facebook credentials.

Could be used for: inspiration when cooking with the family – a lot of easy to follow recipes.

What I like about it: the videos are great!

Watch out for: don’t burn yourself:)

Available from the App Store, Google Play, and online.

More information here: https://www.yummly.com/


Friday, 11th December 2020


Brainly – Homework Help

Need a bit of help with your homework? Try this app.

Download and open. You need to give your location in order to get connected to your language choice. You may choose to allow notifications.

There are two choices in the main menu: ‘ask’ and ‘answer’.

If you want to ask a question, you need to scan your first piece of document. At this stage you are being asked to sign in – create a new account or use your existing Facebook or Apple profile. I signed up as a student to see how the app performs for them.

Take a photo of the text/graph or type your query. A list of similar or same questions pops up and you can read through the answers given by other users. You can vote on how helpful any of them was for you.

If you are not happy with any of them, select ‘ask your question’ in the bottom menu. You need to add a subject area to your query.

The ‘answer’ menu lists answers by subject or school level. Check the scanned picture to see what the original question had been. You can also help someone else if you know the solution to their problem.

The app has moderators and the company warns: “Our Honor Code does not allow cheating, plagiarism, or other violations of academic integrity. Remember, plagiarism is taking credit for someone else’s work.”

Could be used for: as a first port of call if you are stuck with your homework.

What I like about it: the scanning facility helps students who might otherwise struggle with typing.

Watch out for: there is no way of knowing if answers are correct, so proceed with caution.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://brainly.ph/


Friday, 4th December 2020


Gif Me! Camera Creator


From their website: “Gif Me! is the best way to create and share short video in animated GIF. It’s easy: capture a small moment with your built in camera, and share it on social networks. You can apply an image filter too.”

Download and open the app. You can record an animation or else import photos or videos from your device. You need to allow access to your photos and camera. Simply point your camera and start recording. Change the focus and amount of frames per second by selecting the ‘settings’ button. Add text and stickers to your video, frame it, alter its speed, brightness, or select a filter. When you are finished, you can save this as an MP4 file or a GIF. Then upload it to social media, share by email, or save it.

Could be used for: adding branded information to your website or social media account – or for a creative competition involving your students.

What I like about it: it is really simple to create funky GIFs.

Watch out for: as always ask for permission before you film other people.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play and for Windows.

More information here: http://www.gifmecam.com/



Friday, 27th November 2020


Daily Random Facts – Learn new interesting trivia

Download and get started – set the amount and time of day for your daily reminders. Then select the topics you like. Choose between ‘science’, ‘society’, ‘nature’, and ‘history’. You can pick as many as you want.

You will get facts in the form of simple statements which you can rate (like/dislike) and add to your own collection. This option, however, is only available in the paid Facts Premium version. If you want to learn more, you can click on the info icon, which links to websites which seem to be somewhat scientific. More free categories and different types of background wallpaper are available at the bottom menu. Widgets can also be customised to fit your screen.

There is no clear indication of how these ‘facts’ are being chosen, so they are truly random.


Could be used for: online pub quizzes during the Christmas period or just for fun!

What I liked about it: fun to scroll through.

Watch out for: it is easy to incidentally sign up to the paid version.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.randomfacts.app/


Friday, 20th November 2020



If you have students in your classroom who struggle with their handwriting when filling in a worksheet, SnapType could be a useful aid.

Download the app. Some explanatory slides outline how it works. Simply use the camera of your device to take a picture or else upload a worksheet from email.

You can now manipulate this by tapping into it and then adding a textbox. You can type into this and drag the box around if you wish. Change the background colour to make it fit. Deleting text is easy – simply tap and hold for 2 seconds. Zoom into your creation to make it easier to read.

If you click on ‘markup’ (go to ‘pdf’ in the ‘share’ menu), you can draw on images by tapping the pencil button and add your signature. The ‘done’ button is in the upper left hand corner (difficult to see on my device).

Your student shares their creation by emailing it to you, by uploading it, or by printing it off.

Could be used for: people whose handwriting is illegible (*mine!* says the librarian:)) – or perhaps students with dyslexia.

What I liked about it: helps you with filling in any kind of form, including written assessments.

Watch out for: you might want to use the paid for version, which allows for more storage and has a whiteboard feature that makes the document look like paper.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: http://www.snaptypeapp.com/



Friday, 13th November 2020


EthiCart – Sustainability made simple

Achieving sustainability is one of the key policies of many countries. Two students from Trinity College Dublin came up with the idea for “… a user-friendly app that gives quick, accessible and easy to understand information around food products sustainability and ethical standards. If you want to shop more sustainably but lack time to research and a find place to get the information you need, EthiCart enables and empowers you to buy products that align with your values.”

Simply download it. A short tutorial explains how the app works. You can scan a product or use the search function. Or browse the food categories, e.g. ‘hot beverages’ or ‘cereals’. A product’s sustainability profile – and more sustainable alternatives (‘top pick’) – will be displayed. The profile contains information on production, packaging, and the company behind it. Rating factors are explained, together with information on recycling and plenty of other tips. You can also request a new product to be added.

Could be used for: teaching about sustainability, supply chains and climate change.

What I liked about it: once rolled out nationwide, this could really be a game changer. Also, it is a superb example of an app developed by students.

Watch out for: unfortunately, as it is a pilot version, it is currently only working with the food outlets on TCD’s campus.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://ethicart.ie/


Friday, 6th November 2020


Microsoft Teams

One of the side effects of the pandemic is the rise in the uptake of online working. As teams are dispersed across several sites, new ways of connecting need to be found. Many CDETB staff members are currently working from home. Microsoft Teams was chosen as the platform for teamwork. It is part of Microsoft 365 for Education.

Download the app to your device. Sign in with your .cdetb.ie email address – if you don’t have one, please contact IT in Head Office.

Creating a new team is simple: click on ‘create team’ on the dashboard and decide what kind of community you would like to start: ‘class’, ‘professional learning community’, ‘staff’, or ‘other’. Give it a name and a description (which will help other people identify what it is for). Decide on whether this is a private or public group. Most teams within CDETB are probably private ones as they are relating to a specific centre or task. Start inviting others to join.

You can phone or video call your contact by simply clicking on the ‘receiver’ icon beside their name. This person does not have to be part of any of your teams. Find other CDETB staff members by clicking on ‘add contact’. ‘Activity’ shows you who has posted new information in your team. You can chat with your members. Upload files and share them with others. Videos can also be added.

The calendar pulls in the information from your Outlook email calendar, so you can check when a meeting is scheduled to take place.

There are many other apps that connect to Teams, which you might want to use with your groups, e.g. OneNote.

Could be used for: connecting with staff who are working from home and for meetings with remote teams.

What I liked about it: as it is part of CDETB’s suite of work tools, IT support is at hand if you have any problems. And it is really easy to use.

Watch out for: being part of too many teams might make it hard to manage your time.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and for download for desktop use.

More information here: https://teams.microsoft.com/uswe-01/downloads



Friday, 30th October 2020


Dublin Discovery Trails


With the Halloween holidays upon us, but restricted as we are to staying local, why not try out an app that lets you explore Dublin by foot?

Simply download Dublin Discovery Trails and allow/don’t allow notifications.

An orientation route, called ‘Dubline’, connects many of the city’s main attractions. It follows the ‘great journey’ that runs from the east to the west across Ireland. Different ‘experiences’ show you slices of Dublin’s history: Rebellion focusses on Dublin Castle and O’Connell Street; Story of Dublin runs mainly along Dame Street and Temple Bar; Empire encompasses the Liberties and City Hall, Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and St. Stephen’s Green; and Echoes of War features the historic buildings between Heuston Station and Kilmainham. Three more focus on Dublin’s North side and well-known characters of the city. You can download all of this content from the main page. The files include both audio files and photos The image gallery contains photos and other images of famous places and people related to each tour.

The map function uses your location to point you to nearby points of interest. There is not much interaction with this app – but the recordings are done well.

Could be used for: You can build your own itinerary by clicking the ‘star’ icon, which could be a fun thing to do with children.

What I liked about it: The recordings are available in Irish, English, German and French.

Watch out for: The map didn’t load on my device.

Available from the App Store and on the Google Play.

More information here: https://www.visitdublin.com/see-do/dublin-discovery-trails


Friday, 23rd October 2020


Collect by WeTransfer

When you come across interesting images or videos, songs or other audio file, articles or email attachments, you might download them to your device. Why not share them with your students? Collect helps you organise content through simple visual boards.

Download the app and sign up. You can start collecting straight away. Add single items for later use. Alternatively, create a new board and add items with a few clicks: video files, pictures, notes, other files, or bits you have found on the Internet. There is a scan function with uses your camera. You can edit and review that scan. Give your board a title and a description.

If you are ready to share, decide on whether you want to allow others to edit your board or not. The app then creates a link which you can pass on via social media, by email, by creating a QR code, or through your video messaging app (which means you can add it to your Zoom or Teams meeting)

Could be used for: sharing ideas with students and for project work.

What I liked about it: it is dead easy to use.

Watch out for: as always be careful what you download from the Internet.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and for your PC or MAC.

More information here: collect.bywetransfer.com



Friday, 16th October 2020


Quizizz: Play to Learn

Download and open the app. The usual reminder of notifications appears. Decide whether you are using this app for school or work, or neither.

When you choose ‘school’, you can immediately join a specific game (you need a code for that) or one of the free ones available in many school subject areas: Maths, Social Studies, Languages, Science, Computer, Creative Arts, and Career and Technical Education. There is a ‘practice’ level and you can also challenge your friends. Questions are usually timed. The grade level is indicated on the right hand side.

As a teacher you need to create an account on the website for which you can use your college email or Gmail. A short tutorial explains the main features. You can search the quizzes library for any topic or create your own. Give it a name and chose your subject area. You can now add your questions or simply clone them over from the resource bank. The quiz editor has many options: multiple choice, check box, ‘fill in the blank’, polls, open-ended, or slides. Add images, a grade level, and time restrictions. You will get a report on how each students performed on each question.

Could be used for: formative assessment during periods of remote teaching.

What I liked about it: the ‘read aloud’ option could be used for students with visual impairments.

Watch out for: students cannot input, so this is more appropriate for fact recalling.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and online.

More information here: https://quizizz.com/


Friday, 9th October 2020





Short promotional videos are all the rage at the moment. Jump on that train by signing up to PowToon. Log in is via Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, or by signing up on the website (where you can use your Office 365 account). You can decide what kind of notifications you want to receive.

A PowToon consists of slides which you can manipulate and which play as a video. Importing a PowerPoint presentation is currently in the beta version.

There are categories of free templates available and they are clearly reflecting current times: ‘remote & office’, ‘remote learning’, ‘explainer video’, ‘marketing video’, and ‘presentation’. These are easy to customise – simply replace images and text by selecting from a wide range of options. This might be a good start for someone who has never used this software before. Your ‘workspace’ records your creations, so you can always go back and change things around. If you are feeling more creative, PowToon gives you a selection of ‘looks’, which should get you started.

PowToon Connect is the app version of PowToon, which allows you to upload media (photo, video) and record a voiceover for your video. Create a PowToon on the website first.

You can export your video to social media channels or download it as a pdf or PowerPoint presentation. If you want to save it as a video you need the paid version.

For a very simple example check out this one created years ago: http://cdetbcdu.ie/e-library/the-cdu-library/

Could be used for: short, snappy videos or infographics.

What I liked about it: really easy to use as it is quite self-explanatory.

Watch out for: for more sophisticated videos and removal of the PowToon logo you might want to go pro (paid version).

Available from the App Store, on Google Play and online.

More information here: https://www.powtoon.com/



Friday, 2nd October 2020


GooseChase: scavenger hunt

With a new school year come new challenges, no less so during a pandemic. Your students might still only be on campus occasionally, so why not have a little scavenger hunt to make them feel welcome or let people explore their own neighbourhood?

As a teacher you need to sign up with a new account on the website below. A short video explains how GooseChase works.

Creating a new game, which can be branded and timed, is straightforward: add a picture, name, description – and location (the app uses GPS) if you want it to be found by others. You can also password protect it, which would make sense in an educational setting. Each game consists of missions which attract points, basically activities you want your users to do. You can also select missions created by others from the mission bank. These range from taking a picture of two black cars side by side to looking up definitions in a dictionary. ‘Game script’ is about the sequence of events to take place and you can include automatic messages. Check the submissions of your participants on the dashboard.

Students can now play as a guest using the app – you need to provide them with a game code. They can join missions either as part of a team or individually.

Enabling your location lets you see what other games are currently active in your area.

Could be used for: orientation week, field trips, or team building exercises.

What I liked about it: this could also be done online and socially distanced.

Watch out for: using activities that invite strangers to get involved.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.goosechase.com/ and https://www.goosechase.com/edu/game-library/


Friday, 25th September 2020


FreshGrade Connect: Remote learning portfolios


Download and approve/disapprove of notifications. Teachers need to sign up first.

Create a class first by naming it, selecting your grade (American system, but it includes ‘Vocational training’) and teaching subjects (includes ‘library literacy’, yay!). The option to include standard documents can only be ticked for US, Canada and Australia. Adding your students is easy: you can copy and paste from an existing list or simply type in names.

There are three submenus available. ‘Class feed’ allows you to get in touch with your students. Students’ works are available under ‘portfolios’. They can upload audio files, videos or photos. ‘Assessments’ gives you two models you can adapt: score-based, which appraise activities based on one or more criteria to calculate overall grades, or standards-based, which uses learning standards with an overall grade per standard. You can organise your assessments by date, group unit, or group term. There are preinstalled test scales, but you can also create your own.

Parents can also get connected so that they can monitor their child’s progress. This app allows for integration with Google Drive and OneDrive.

Could be used for: assessment for remote classes.

What I liked about it: seems to be very straightforward.

Watch out for: as always encourage students to be vigilant when online.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://freshgrade.com/ and here: https://learning.freshgrade.com/courses


Friday, 18th September 2020


 Zigazoo Classrooms


Hailed as a ‘TikTok for Kids’ by its creator, Zigazoo aims to give “families and classrooms the ability to share video-based responses to projects built by leading museums, zoos, educators, children’s musicians, and education organizations.”

Download the app. You can join the global community or a specific classroom or pod. For the second option you need a code – this will be of interest to teachers.

If you continue without a classroom, you need to log in through Facebook, Gmail, or your Apple account (if you are using an Apple product). Select ‘notifications’ if you want to get these. You can start by choosing channels, which include some of the company’s own education resources.

The big red camera button allows you to create your own responses. You can also flag videos if you think the content is inappropriate.

Could be used for: short video-based exercises that students can answer through video and share responses with their classmates.

What I liked about it: restricted classrooms will engage your students: https://www.zigazoo.com/classrooms

Watch out for: younger or more vulnerable students should not be allowed to post videos to the open channel videos.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.zigazoo.com/


Friday, 11th September 2020


Lumosity – Brain Training

Your brain is probably getting a good workout at the moment, but in case you need to get these little cells into shape, here is an app that you might enjoy. All exercises are scientifically designed. You can set yourself a reminder on when to train.
Download and open it. You need to create an account or sign up with a Gmail, Facebook, or Apple account.
It asks you for your birthdate in order to match you with the right age group. Just click on ‘next’ if you don’t want to divulge your gender and other information.
There is a free 10-minute fit test to check where you are at: memory, speed, attention, problem solving, flexibility, math, and language. Your baseline will be tested in three cognitive games, which will then be compared to other members. A short tutorial introduces each game. The score after each shows how you fair in relation to others in your age cohort.

The games are short and fun to do. They are deceptively easy… You can go back and try again:)

With a premium subscription you get a personalised daily workout and more detailed reports.

Could be used for: keeping our brains active. Students could hold a competition to see who scores higher.

What I liked about it: fun.

Watch out for: if you don’t want to pay, you are limited in your choice of exercises.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play or online.

More information here: https://www.lumosity.com/en/


Friday, 4th September 2020





In this new remote working environment, most CDETB colleges and centres are now using Moodle for their teaching.

The CDU Moodle site is a repository of learning and teaching resources. If you don’t have access yet and you are a CDETB staff member, please email Eva with your “.cdetb.ie” email address and you will get a new account. Thanks to an upgrading process that all CDETB Moodle sites underwent in late summer, we can now offer access through the Moodle app.

Download the app from the store and open. You can decide whether or not you want to allow notifications. Type in the Moodle site you are interested in, e.g. curriculum.etbonline.ie. Enter your username and password as you would using a browser on your PC.

You should now see your personal dashboard. When you click on your profile, you should see your details. That action opens up the CDU Moodle website in your browser, so you might have to open the app again to see the other areas.  When you click on any of the courses you are enrolled in, you can access all content. See all the other participants – you can directly message them.

You can upload files and photos as well as audio and video recordings to your app when you select the “box” icon on the right hand side.

The course categories are hidden under the ‘site home’ tap, beside the ‘dashboard’.

The CDU professional development calendar is cloned into the calendar section on the app, so you should be able to see all events organised by PD co-ordinator Carrie Archer.

If you used this app with your own college Moodle, you could try out the grading and site blog features.

Log out by navigating to the “three dashes” symbol to find the ‘log out’ option.

Could be used for: not only for accessing teaching aids on the CDU site, but as a teaching and assessment tool with your own students if your college has the app version enabled.

What I liked about it: clean interface. Lots of documentation on how to use Moodle

Watch out for: You can see the courses you are enrolled in by clicking on “all courses”, but it is not as obvious as it is in the PC version what is a category and what is a course, so navigation is a bit more difficult.


Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://download.moodle.org/mobile

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