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CDETB Curriculum Development Unit | Apps of the week
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Friday, 15th October 2021


Alison: Online Courses

Online courses are all the rage at the moment. If you want to upskill some more, check out the over 3500 courses available on Alison. They are all free and self-paced. Categories include Business Studies, IT, Engineering and Construction, Languages, Health, Management, Sales & Marketing, Personal Development, and Teaching & Academics.

Download and open. Log in with your social media account or sign up with email. Notifications can be disabled.

The menu is easy to navigate: a search bar allows you to look for subject or careers; a ‘career guide’ lets you discover new avenues for your professional development; and ‘course subjects’ lists opportunities for upskilling. Each sub-category (e.g. ‘teaching & academics’) gives you a directory of free certificate and diploma courses. Certificates take approximately 2-3 and diplomas 8-10 hours to complete.

Each course starts with a list of learning outcomes. There are assessments embedded which can be re-taken at any stage. You can set study reminders for yourself.

Could be used for: professional development or for students wanting to explore further studies.

What I liked about it: you can get an official diploma (but need to pay for it).

Watch out for: ads are popping up regularly and you cannot suspend them.

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

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


Friday, 8th October 2021


Tangible Words

If you need an easy to use resource to engage adult learners, have a look at this.

Developed by students at Seian University of Art and Design, Tangible Words is a bit of fun. Simply download. Three slides explain the idea behind this app – “an interactive typography playable by touching words”. Basically, it displays words which you can then manipulate by touching parts of a letter. The “t” in “Switch”, for example”, can be slide down, like a light switch. Your display goes dark. “Float” sees its letters drift off. You need to figure out what to do in each screen.

Switch on sound to get the full experience.

Could be used for: fun game, which might be particularly attractive to people with low literacy levels.

What I liked about it: smart, quirky

Watch out for: slightly addictive! And there could be more words!

Available from the App Store.

More information here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tangible-words/id820662252


Friday, 1st October 2021


Inko – Interactive Whiteboard

Collaboration across multiple locations is one of features of remote working. Inko is an interactive whiteboard and supports many users drawing together in real time.

You need to pay in order to set up groups: ‘nearby’ is peer-to-peer or LAN (for $1.99 a month)– nearby participants can join using the free app; ‘remote plan’ (for $3.99 a month) allows for collaboration over the Internet. So the app would only be free for your students.

But using it couldn’t be easier – simply download and open. Drawing is in single-user mode, but you can import and export your drawings. The menu consists of a toolbar with pencil tools which most people would be familiar with, so is really easy to use. You can draw on the canvas with your finger or an Apple pencil.

A quick introduction includes a video. You need to choose a nickname and allow the app to find and connect to devices on your local network (you need to allow if you want to collaborate with others nearby).

Could be used for: working on a group project.

What I liked about it: The layout is simple and intuitive. ‘Nearby’ mode does not require an Internet connection – you can connect up to 8 Apple devices together.

Watch out for: payment is required when you are the organiser.


Available from the Apple App Store.

More information here: https://creaceed.com/inko



Friday, 24th September 2021




Wakelet is a teaching tool which helps you create visual collections of links and other pieces of information.

Download the app. Sign up is through existing Apple, Google, Microsoft, or Facebook credentials, or by email. Notifications can be disabled. You need to verify your age. Alternatively, you can join a collection that has already been set up by using a code (scan or type). If you sign up through their website, you can choose a username which allows other people to find you.

The main menu is a blank canvas. Creating a new space is simple: enter a title, add an image (you can use your camera or photo album on your device here) and start adding links. These bookmarked items can then be added to a collection. They are private, but you can make them public.

If you need inspiration, you can explore news sources, look at other users’ collections, or search for people to collaborate with.

The browser version gives you more options regarding the layout. It is easier to attach files, to upload PDFs, and to link to other apps. You can invite others to contribute to your creation, which could work well in a class setting. The whole collection can be exported as a PDF file.

If you want to learn more: The CDU runs an introductory session on Monday, 27th September 2021. Please register here: https://tinyurl.com/au2p66w.


Could be used for: a digital diary, assignments, lesson plans.

What I liked about it: great tool for organising content.

Watch out for: app can track your activities across other companies’ apps and website (to target you with ads), but you can disallow.


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

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

For an example of how to it looks like check out Carrie Archer’s PD calendar: https://wakelet.com/wake/md5LcpOpSGNCZrrUVBqAC


Friday, 17th September 2021


Skillshare – Explore your Creativity


The app promises “inspiring classes in design, illustration, photography, and more”. If you are looking for a quick introduction to web development, UX design, creative writing, music, animation or film, you are in the right place. There are also courses on marketing, business analytics, and leadership.

The first month is free. Sign up with your Apple, Google or Facebook account, or use your email.

Each course has between 10-12 lessons which are short pre-recorded videos. With a free account, you can only preview the first lesson and you need to upgrade to a paid account to access all. ‘Projects’ shows you other people’s work and lets you upload your own creation. ‘Discussions’ are communications between enrolled users.

Classes can be downloaded and used offline.

Could be used for: students who enjoy video content and want to try out a new creative idea or learn a specific skill.

What I liked about it: you can follow the instructions at your own pace.

Watch out for: the app wants to find and connect to devices on your local network. Don’t allow if you are uncomfortable with it. Also, make sure not to subscribe by accident – you can “x out” this option when the notification pops up.

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

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


Friday, 10th September 2021


Twinkl – Timesaving Teaching Resources


Busy start to the new year – and you want to find a teaching resource quickly? Try Twinkl: “Created by teachers, perfect for the classroom or home education – welcome to the world’s largest collection of teaching materials! Explore our treasure trove of resources, including award winning planning schemes, assessment packs and interactive digital activities.”

You need to set up an account first, which you cannot do in app. Visit their website twinkl.ie instead. Select the type of teaching you do (e.g. adult educator or English language teacher).

You can allow notifications, which inform you about upcoming local events and other updates. ‘New’ lists recently published resources ranging from activity sheets, e-booklets, posters, presentations, banners and more.

Could be used for: inspiration and also sharing of teaching resources, many of them created by Irish teachers.

What I liked about it: you get a welcome pack by email with free taster resources.

Watch out for: there is a cost involved after the first day, but school/organisational membership might be an option.

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

More information here: https://www.twinkl.ie/resources/roi-resources


Friday, 3rd September 2021


LEO Dictionary


Welcome back! We hope you had a great summer. You might have gone away on a foreign holiday or you might have plans to learn a new language. Do you need a quick reference tool to look up that strange word that is stuck in your head? Try this app. Using LEO is dead easy. Simply download and open.

Choose two languages in the top menu. Since LEO was developed by the Technological University of Munich, German is the language most paired here, but there are also options for English-French, English-Russian and English-Spanish as well as Spanish-Portuguese.

Type a word into the search box. The results show you not only direct matches but also definitions and examples of everyday use. Additionally, you can select the ‘audio pronunciation’ tap and hear a native speaker say the word.

Words can also be saved and added to the ‘trainer’ function, which allows you to practice new vocabulary. This menu is at the bottom of your screen. Choose between ‘flashcard’ and ‘drag and drop’. These are simple games, but each version is designed to help you memorise words.

‘Forum’ is a place for posting translation queries, but they are mainly in German.

Could be used for: language students.
What I liked about it: entries are linked to established dictionaries, thus guaranteeing a high level of accuracy.
Watch out for: The ‘courses’ tap contains language courses for purchase and they are mainly aimed at German speakers.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, for Windows download and online.
More information here: https://www.leo.org

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