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Apps for Librarians & Educators

Become an Expert in Mobile Library Apps for iPhones, iPads, and Other iOS Devices
3 reviews
  • Lifetime access to 65 lectures
  • 3+ hours of high quality content
  • A community of 100+ students learning together!
  • 50+ discussions

Apps for Librarians & Educators

Become an Expert in Mobile Library Apps for iPhones, iPads, and Other iOS Devices
3 reviews

Smartphones are everywhere and there is an explosion of apps for productivity, research, reading, and studying. Librarians can better serve their communities by having expertise in mobile technologies.

Learn about the best apps for library users, including Evernote, Dropbox, Instapaper, iBooks, Kindle, Stanza, and GoodReader.

Each week we focus on a category, such as e-reading, productivity, research, or multimedia. The course combines video lectures, reading, and discussion. We also discuss the future of apps vs. mobile web, and using apps for content creation.

To follow along with the video demos, you need an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. By the end you will have materials, knowledge, and inspiration... enough to prepare you to offer your own workshop for users at your library.

    • Over 65 lectures and 4 hours of content!
    • See how mobile apps help you work, study, read, and create.
    • Get up to speed quickly: watch video demos and follow along on your own mobile device.
    • Discuss what the explosion of mobile apps means for users, libraries, and society.
    • Get access to a wealth of materials during and after the course.
    • Have fun!
    • Beginners & intermediate users of iPads, iPhones, or iPod Touches who want to learn about the best apps for creative work
    • Librarians from any kind of institution (schools, universities, corporate, law, government, medical, non-profit, archives)
    • Educators, academics, and other creative professionals (you don't need to be a librarian to sign up!)


  • SECTION 1:
  • 1
    Why Take This Course?
    Smartphones are everywhere and there is an explosion of apps for productivity, research, reading, and studying. Librarians can better serve their communities by having expertise in mobile technologies. Take this course to learn about the best apps for library users, including Evernote, Dropbox, Inst…
  • 2
    "Apps4Librarians was a great online class experience. The video demos and lectures greatly enhanced the readings and self exploration. I appreciated all the practical tips Nicole included, as well as the insights of the other class members."  -  Michele Mizejewski, Web Initiatives Librarian, Univers…
  • 3
    Getting started
    Using your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch This course assume you know the basics of how to use your iPhone. However, if you are using a brand new device and you've never had one before, here are a few resources for getting started. It would be a good idea to get familiar with the basics before the class. Us…
  • 4
    Course objectives
    By the end of the course, you should be: knowledgeable about some of the best apps in each category (reading, productivity, reference, multimedia) comfortable with using your mobile device and installing apps on it comfortable with updating your apps, both in iTunes and on your mobile device comfort…
  • SECTION 2:
  • 5
    Kindle mobile e-reading apps

    Tips for using the Kindle apps, including how to get content from sources other than Amazon.

  • 6
    iBooks and iBooks Author books

    In this video I discuss the iBooks app. I also show two multimedia books made with iBooks Author. These have embedded media such as slide shows and 3D images. Books shown include Frankenweenie and NYPL Point: Frankenstein, Making a Modern Monsterby the New York Public Library. You can get each of these titles for free on the iBookstore (iOS only).

  • 7
    Borrowing ebooks from your library
    8 pages

    Borrowing ebooks from your library using OverDrive and using Bluefire as an alternative reader.

  • 8
    Ebook Subscription Services:
 Oyster, Scribd, and Kindle Unlimited
    1 page

    Discussion of three services aiming to be like “Netflix for ebooks.”Oyster, Scribd, and Kindle Unlimited.

  • 9
    Reading magazines: Apple Newsstand

    Reading magazines on iOS with Apple Newsstand.

  • 10
    Reading magazines: Zinio and Next Issue

    Reading magazines on mobile devices with two excellent apps: Zinio and Next Issue.

  • 11
    Reading and annotating PDFs with iAnnotate PDF
    3 pages

    iAnnotate is an excellent app for reading and annotating PDFs and other documents.

  • 12
    Saving web pages to read later: Instapaper and Pocket

    Two good apps for saving web pages to read later, online or offline.

  • 13
    Reading news feeds with Feedly

    An excellent app for reading and organizing news feeds.

  • 14
    Reading news feeds with Flipboard

    How to read news feeds with Flipboard, and how to curate content with Flipboard "magazines."

  • 15
    Individual book apps: Beethoven's 9th Symphony by Touch Press

    Many books are being published as individual apps. This allows them to take advantage of the multimedia features that apps can provide. Beethoven's 9th Symphony by Touch Press is an excellent example. For more multimedia book apps, see my resource guide, which lists many of these interactive book apps.

  • 16
    Readings about E-Reading

    A few articles to get you thinking about e-reading and the future of books.

  • SECTION 3:
  • 17
    Cloud storage: Dropbox

    Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage apps. I've been using it for a few years and love it. Box is also very good and is the recommended choice if your institution needs to be HIPAA-compliant. It works in exactly the same way as Dropbox. You could choose to use one or both of these apps -- they are both highly recommended.

  • 18
    1Password - secure password manager
    1 page

    I've been using 1Password for years and I like it. It does cost money though, so if you want a free password manager, try LastPass. 1Password has a slightly nicer interface and they both work well.

    This video from 1Password does a great job of explaining how it works. LastPass works in a very similar way.

  • 19
    Todo - excellent to-do list app

    There are many good to-do list apps. My favorite is Todo. Watch the video to see why. Other very nice to-do apps are: Clear, Wunderlist, and Paperless. It's a personal choice -- they are all quite good. I use Todo for my daily to-do lists, and I use Paperless for grocery lists, packing lists, and other misc. lists. I like all the cute and pretty icons that are included with Paperless -- it makes your list of lists easy to browse.

  • 20
    Evernote - organize all of your information

    I use Evernote for keeping track of EVERYTHING in my life. I love it. It's like a digital file cabinet with great tagging, keywords, search, and folders. The only downside is that it's not designed for pretty formatting. Because of that, I started using OneNote for a few things in my life where I want to format the text. I like it.

    You can choose one or use both, like I do.

  • 21
    Penultimate - handwritten notes

    Penultimate is a useful app for handwritten notes and sketching.

  • 22
    Dragon Dictation & Dragon Go

    Apps for speech recognition and speec-activated searching.

  • 23

    Like having a scanner in your pocket.

  • 24
    Red Laser - barcode scanning

    Scan book barcodes, generate QR codes, and more with Red Laser.

  • 25
    Word processing with Apple's Pages app

    Apple's iWork suite for Mac and iOS includes Pages for word processing, Numbers for spreadsheets, and Keynote for presentations. In this video I demo Pages.

    Here is Apple's info about compatibility with Microsoft Office.

  • 26
    Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
    1 page

    Information about Google's apps for word pressing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

  • 27
    Haiku Deck & Prezi for beautiful presentations
    1 page

    Two more apps for making your presentations look interesting (no more boring PowerPoint!)

  • 28
    Readings about productivity & writing
    1. The iPad for Academics  - Alex Golub 2. My iPad Day - Ann Kirschner 3. Apps: web apps or native apps? - Rob De Lorenzo 4. What Cloud Computing Means for the Real World - Keir Thomas 5.  Collecting, annotating & redistributing student work using an iPad, GoodReader & Dropbox  -  Greg Clinton 6. Re…
  • SECTION 4:
    Research & Reference
  • 29
    Merriam-Webster Dictionary App

    A dictionary with voice search and audio pronunciations.

  • 30
    Wikibot - for Wikipedia

    Wikipedia now has its own official mobile app, and there are several other apps for Wikipedia. Currently, the official Wikipedia app is the only one that allows edits of Wikipedia from your mobile device.

    The others are worth exploring because they have useful features such as: saving pages to read offline, bookmarks, history of your searches, reading the article out loud, location awareness - see Wikipedia articles about places nearby, and more.

    If you are on Android, try LoboWiki, a similar app to Wikibot. It's getting good reviews.

  • 31
    Wikilinks - a different kind of WIkipedia app

    Wikilinks has some unusual features that are interesting - a mind map view for related articles, links to related YouTube videos, and more.

  • 32
    Wolfram Alpha - "computational knowledge engine"

    Wolfram Alpha calls itself a "computational knowledge engine." A useful reference app.

  • 33
    Convertible - unit convertor

    Convertible is a unit convertor for currency and many other units (length, volume, etc.)

  • 34
    Google Maps and Apple Maps

    A quick look at the features of Google Maps and Apple Maps.

  • 35
    Languages - foreign language dictionaries

    Languages is a foreign language dictionary app that includes multiple languages.

  • 36
    Duolingo - learn another language with this game app

    Duolingo makes language learning into a game.

  • 37
    IMDb - Internet Movie Database

    IMDb for iOS and IMDb for Android are very useful reference tools for information about films.

  • 38
    Chirp Birdsong USA+ - learning birdsongs

    Chirp Birdsong USA+ is a fun way to learn birdsongs. Versions of this app for Canada and Europe are also available.

  • 39
    Subscription database apps: EBSCOhost, SpringerLInk & more
    3 pages

    Learn about a few sample apps in this category, including apps for finding open access scholarly articles.

  • 40
    Papers 3 - citation management
    2 pages

    Learn about Papers 3 for citation management, plus links to a few other recommended apps in this category.

  • 41
    Jailbreaking: some things to know
    3 pages

    What librarians needs to know about jailbreaking.

  • 42
    Research & Reference - Readings
    1. Apple's guidelines for app developers are interesting to read, even if you aren't developing apps. They help you understand the care that Apple takes and what some of their goals are. Here are the first 4 sections of Apple's guidelines: (these are only 1-3 pages each) Introduction Platform Charac…
  • SECTION 5:
  • 43
    Art, Art Envi Deluxe, Louvre
  • 44
    Kaleidoscope X, Spawn Illuminati HD
  • 45
    Adobe Ideas

    Drawing and painting

  • 46
    Bamboo Paper

    Drawing and painting

  • 47
    Comic Book

    Create comic books from your images.

  • 48
    ToonPaint and Color Splash
  • 49

    Add fun filters to you photos and share them with friends.

  • 50
    Pro HDR (photography)

    Pro HDR lets you capture an image exposed for the highlights and another exposed for the shadows. It then automatically aligns and blends the images, giving you an HDR image up to 5 megapixels.

  • 51
    Photosynth, part 1

    Create and share panoramic photos (360 degrees)

  • 52
    Photosynth, part 2

    Create panoramic photos and share them on (Microsoft)

  • 53
    More photo apps
    Here are two  other recommended photography apps:  Photoshop Express : free, (great for editing photos), Diptic : $.99, (photo collages)  
  • 54
    Sound Hound, TuneinRadio
  • 55
  • 56
    Bloom, ThumbJam, TonePad Pro, Bebot
  • 57
    Ocarina 2 (turn your iPhone into a playable ocarina)
    Another fun app is Ocarina 2 (free). See the  videos on their site  and  learn how to play .
  • 58
    Videos, AirVideo, Netflix, PBS, YouTube, iTunes
  • 59
    iTunes U and Apple's Podcasts app
    Apple has two free apps worth trying, released since the video in the previous lecture was made.  iTunes U , free As of June 29, 2012: Apple has a new  Podcasts  app. Here's a story about it:  Bye-bye, downloads: Apple's new Podcasts app enables better streaming . There are also some alternative pod…
  • 60
    Unit 4: Multimedia - Readings
    1. In defense of digital play - Andy Russell 2. Storytelling, creativity, and the new frontier of digital play - Andy Russell 3. See this blog for reviews of apps that push the boundaries of new media:      Creative Applications Network - iPhone apps   | iPad apps 4.  30 second video showing an arti…
  • SECTION 6:
    Keeping Up
  • 61
    Keeping up with apps & app reviews
  • 62
    Readings: the future, the cloud, apps
    1.  The future is disposable 2.  For whom the app tolls 3.  Teens and Data Retention 4.  Show us the data (it's ours, after all) 5.  Apple iCloud to offer "continuous client" functionality 6.  App Store volume purchase program  (for educational institutions) 7.  How to buy the right iPad ----- Addit…
  • 63
    Readings: The future of educational technology
    1.  Kids are the road to tech innovation 2.  From the mouths of babes: the future of tech is robots and real world integration 3.  Study: Children's future requests for computers & the internet  (PDF) 4.  How consumer technology & user-generated content are changing ed-tech 5.  10 great iPad apps fo…
  • 64
    What Librarians Can Do
    Become mobile/app literate... blog or create guides for your users. Teach and offer workshops on apps and ebook reading. Write reviews (or make video reviews) of apps for your community. Developing a mobile web site? Figure out a few top things that people want to do when mobile and work on those fi…
  • SECTION 7:
  • 65
    What did you think of this course?
    Hi everyone! I would love to get your feedback on the value of this course! Please send your comments to: . This will help me improve it for everyone. Feel free to resuse the guide I made for MIT Libraries as well: Apps4Academics : And if you found th…


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  • Catherine McDonald
    Quickly & Easily Learn All About Apps.

    Concise information, clearly presented, with plenty of additional resources provided. The structure of the course makes it easy to go at your own pace and review what is important to you. Public librarians seeking to become familiar with the many categories of apps available - both to discover new tools and to understand what patrons are using - will find this informative and time-saving.

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