Guest Blogger: @primaryapps
Primary Apps on Itunes and Android
Getting an educational app on to the Apple Store is quite a journey and I’m hoping that through the reading of this post, it might give you an insight into how Primary Apps came to be.
Way back in 1998, as Interactive Whiteboards started to make their way into primary classrooms, and being a bit of a geek (!) I wanted to create some little programs that would run on the boards for my class of Year 3/4s to use.
Having never made an interactive program I first started to tinker around with Powerpoint. Powerpoint was good and using hyperlinks and transitions, I was able to achieve a fairly decent educational game – but it soon became evident that Powerpoint was fairly limited in its ability to do things like generate random numbers etc. This is when I decided to start to learn a little bit of Flash – and tried to get my head around some coding.
After a few months of attempts and redrafts I soon began to generate some fairly decent end products such as basic function machines and a great little look, cover, write, check program. One of the most useful ports of call were some of the online forums. I soon found that if I got a stuck on a particular area of coding then there was always someone else who had been there and mastered it – and the online community were extremely helpful in getting me through those difficult times!
I ended up with a little folder of about 15 programs that I used regularly with my class and they really enjoyed using them as part of their lessons – and even during golden time on a Friday afternoon, I found that they wanted to load them up on the Interactive Whiteboard and use them in their own time.
This little catalogue of about 15 programs moved with me from classroom to classroom and school to school as I continued my teaching career and each school that I went to, other teachers asked me to copy them on to their computers so that they could use them with their children too. But it was in 2010 that I saw their real potential with the advent of handheld technology in the primary classroom.
Seeing children really engage with iPod Touches and iPads – I wondered if my apps could be transformed from simple flash programs into fully fledged apps. I posted on an online forum and a member got in touch and asked if we could maybe work together on one. I had the content and he had the coding skills.
In the spring of 2010, I launched my first educational app ‘Secret Numbers’ which was a great little app where children had to try and work out a mystery number by typing one in and the app would tell them if the number was higher or lower than their guess. They had to keep guessing until they got that mystery number. The app seemed to go down really well with children and parents in the UK (and the USA – which was hugely exciting) and then after a couple of months, I launched what has probably been my most successful app to date – ‘Monty’s Quest’.
Using the simple little flash programs that were tried, tested, refined and tried again in the classroom, was a great foundation for Primary Apps. Knowing that the apps hit specific teaching targets within any primary classroom is hugely beneficial. I didn’t want to create apps just for ‘having an app’s sake. They have to be firmly rooted in teaching and learning.
Four years later and Primary Apps is going from strength to strength. There are now 15 apps in the Primary Apps portfolio, online in the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store and the Amazon App Store with a 16th planned release in September 2014.
It is a challenge coming up with something new and different that has not been done countless times before that is going to appeal to children whilst at the same time enhancing their learning. Listening to the feedback from countless teachers across the world that get in touch with me, I certainly get the feeling that the apps that I have created do just that.
If you would like to find out more about Primary Apps, then please visit my website:
I’m also on Twitter – @primaryapps
and you can find me on Facebook too!
I hope that you continue to enjoy the apps and look forward to hearing from you if you’d like to know more.
Thanks very much for reading!