Website and app reviews

By Nigel Paull

Website and apps reviewed for school library staff.

Apple Education — special education
Apple has produced a comprehensive guide to using iPads, iPhones, iPods, and Macs for teachers to enhance the learning opportunities for special education students. The features of both hardware and software are explored, along with a collection of appropriate apps.
SCIS no. 1799578

Forest learning
Educators seeking resources about Australian forests, wood products, biodiversity, recreational spaces and sustainable forestry programs will find material on this website developed in collaboration with ACARA. The content links to a number of key learning areas and stage levels.
SCIS no. 1799587

Here: explore the university in 360 degrees
This multiple award-winning site/mobile app, developed for the University of Sydney, offers new or aspiring Year 12 students a virtual tour of the university. IT teachers could also use this site to deconstruct a stunning resource.
SCIS no. 1799651

I am making a difference
Linked to both the NSW Syllabus and the Australian Curriculum, this material addresses the NSW DET’s Sustainability Cross-Curriculum Priority, using project- based methodology. Topics include national parks, rainforests, biodiversity, climate change and Aboriginal heritage.
SCIS no. 1799686

Kiwi kids news
Developed for NZ students, teachers and parents, this website offers readers the latest NZ news, world news and current events in an age-appropriate and ‘educational, safe and entertaining website’. Content includes video links, music, and sport.
SCIS no. 1799669

NASA’s eyes
As the title implies, this website allows users to view NASA’s space resources and spacecraft feeds to experience events on Earth, aspects of the solar system and the universe. Links are available to apps for mobile devices, PCs and Macs — but remember to use the appropriate country-specific app store.
SCIS no. 1799903

Performing arts

Google has produced a stimulating resource to encourage the exploration of some of the world’s greatest cultural institutions in the fields of music, opera, theatre, dance and performance art. Content includes interactive video performances, pictures and text.
SCIS no. 1799906

PhET: interactive simulations
Produced by the University of Colorado, this website creates interactive simulations for physics, biology, chemistry, earth science, and maths. The simulations are all in HTML5, allowing all devices to access them. Searchable by grade level (infants to university) and topic.
SCIS no. 1260215

Schools and teachers
From Australian migration in the 1800s to Henry Lawson, the State Library of NSW has a wealth of educational material available in this collection. There are a variety of formats, and the resources are searchable by stage and subject.
SCIS no. 1762268

Sketchbook express
This free introductory-level art app allows students to create layered sketches (these can be imported from Photo Library, too) and doodles with a variety of fonts, colours, and brushes. Work can be stored for completion at a later time.
SCIS no. 1799913

Teachers can use Smartraveller to supplement resources about countries. Current, authoritative information relates to travel, wildlife, unrest, natural disasters, climate and terrorism. The subsection Schoolies/Leavers could be highlighted to Year 12 students.
SCIS no. 1162009

Designed for iOS devices, this free app teaches students the fundamentals of coding using the programming language Scratch. Initially students animate Tickle’s characters by building blocks of code. They can then progress to programming smart toys, robots, and drones.
SCIS no. 1774659

The internet sites selected in 'Website & app reviews' are often of a professional nature and should be initially viewed by teachers and library staff to determine suitability for students. The links, content and addresses of these sites are subject to change.

Nigel Paull

Nigel Paull

Teacher librarian

North Coast, NSW