6 PAID iPad Productivity Apps for the Music Teacher
Last week, we brought you six Free iPad Productivity Apps for the Music Teacher. This week, we’re bringing you six PAID iPad Productivity Apps! I know, you “don’t like to buy apps”. Well, give Robby Burns a chance to convince you otherwise; there are some great apps that can make your life simpler and more effective.
6 Essential Paid iPad Productivity Apps to Help Music Teachers Get Organized (And Why You Should Buy Them)
This is a follow-up to my article on free iPad productivity apps from last week. Before I tell you why these six paid apps are so important, let me advocate for their price tags.
Most are reluctant to spend any money in the App Store, but sometimes it is worth investing in software that does exactly what you want rather than settling for functional free options. If you’re not convinced of the value of paying for high-quality apps, then consider the following:
- Software is cheaper than ever! Think about PC software, particularly before the smartphone era. The average piece of computer software could cost anywhere from $40 to over $100. In the modern world of mobile apps, the same quality software (even better I might argue) is being made for mobile platforms – with the average price being only a couple cups of Starbucks coffee.
- Support developers! Chances are, an individual or small team of people’s livelihood are depending on the business of making software. Before you look away from that $10 note-taking app, consider that quality software costs money to develop and produce. Keeping good software on the market requires supporting those who design it.
- If the app is free, YOU are the product. Free apps usually use ads to support their development (the same is true for Facebook and Google). If you can’t figure out how an app is making money, be wary that they are going to eventually change their business model to something less than ideal, or be forced to stop development on an app you have grown dependent on.
Now on to the fun!
Fantastical 2 (currently on sale for $9.99)
Find Apple’s calendar app confusing? Fantastical 2 is what the iOS calendar should look and feel like. I love how it integrates Apple’s reminders, but it’s claim to fame is the natural language input. Instead of a lot of technical tapping around to add events, I can enter something as simple as , “lunch with Bob at 4pm tomorrow.” Fantastical will figure out the rest!
Soulver (currently on sale for $1.99)
Soulver is a smart scratchpad for taking notes that require calculations. The app allows for taking notes in natural English while intelligently interpreting the numbers and equations in the users text – automatically calculating them on the right side of the window. It can handle a lot of complicated equations, but I use it as a simple place to take notes that involve numbers. I find it super useful for jotting down a name and amount whenever a student gives me money for a field trip. Additionally, if there is a problem with a payment or any questions, I can save these files as PDFs and email a copy to my school’s financial specialist to show my work.
This is my favorite app on iOS! Drafts is a lightweight text editor that opens directly to a white screen and keyboard at launch. The idea behind it is that no matter what you are thinking, you can get your thoughts out quickly and then decide what to do with it it later. Drafts saves all of your quick text entries as permanent drafts and then allows you to export them into nearly every iOS app imaginable. For example, I think to myself, “I need to photocopy those practice charts.” Then, I Open Drafts, write that down. You can leave your thoughts in Drafts like this and use it as an alternate to the native Notes app, or you can press the “Share” button and view a list of compatible apps. Drafts documents can be exported as Tweets, Facebook posts, emails, calendar events, Evernote notes, reminders, text messages, Google searches, you name it! The developers, Agile Tortoise, even have an online action directory of user-submitted extensions that allow you to install new actions in Drafts. To give you an idea of it’s breadth, all of the apps mentioned in THIS article are available as extensions in which you can export to from Drafts. Tip: Try putting this app on your dock (the bottom row of icons on your iPad) for a week – within easy reach of your thumb. Use it to jot down all of your thoughts quickly. You will never turn back.
PDFpen ($14.99) / Scan+ ($6.99)
Every educator needs a PDF management solution. The iPad can read PDFs natively but does not come with an app to edit and manage them. The app store is saturated with options, but the one I have settled on is PDFpen. It is not the cheapest but it is one of the most powerful and well-designed. Smile Software really gets Apple’s design philosophy and the app feels at home on the iPad. This app allows you to edit text, add notes, highlight, sign, and save all of your documents to iCloud or Dropbox. This means that you can pick up right from where you left off on the Mac version of the software. (Note: The desktop version of this software is a bit pricey, but you can read your PDFpen iPad files on a Mac using the free software like Apple’s Preview or Adobe Acrobat Reader.) If you are looking for cheaper options with lesser emphasis on features or design, try GoodReader or PDF Expert.
Scan+ is a companion app that can take pictures of a physical document from your iPad or iPhone, trim the edges, adjust the colors, and turn it into a beautiful PDF. It can even make the text of the document searchable. Great for including musical excerpts on a worksheet!
OmniFocus is the app I am most dependent on across all my devices. It is the most expensive on this list, but it has changed my life. Based on the philosophy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done, OmniFocus provides powerful tools for managing the tasks and projects in your life. If this seems like an app you need, I recommend you check out OmniGroup’s website to learn more about what it can do for you. If you want a simpler app to manage todos, try Clear or Apple Reminders. If you want the deeper features but less of a learning curve, try Wunderlist.
Note: OmniFocus 2 for iPad is currently in development. In effort to avoid new users buying a version that will soon be out of date, OmniGroup has temporarily removed it from the App Store. They have announced that they intend to release version 2 alongside Apple’s new iPad software update in September. If you are using a Mac, I strongly recommend you try out a free thirty day trial from the companies website. If you like it, make sure you take advantage of the educator discount on their website instead of buying it full price on the Mac App Store.
1Password (currently on sale for $9.99)
1Password is a database for storing your logins to various websites, credit card information, identity, software licenses and more. It’s pretty simple: 1Password saves an encrypted database of all of your information behind a single password. This way, you can make the logins to different websites unique and complex without remembering them all. 1Password has a web browser plugin that will automatically login fields on a webpage by pressing Command + \. This is the first app I install on all of my desktop and iOS devices.
With these six apps, you are on your way to being an iPad power user! Each of these apps has found a place in my daily workflow throughout the school year and I would feel ineffective without them. If the price tags are still overwhelming, but you want to dive in, I recommend starting with Drafts and Soulver; of the apps on this list, these are the cheapest and tend to be a little easier to grasp the utility of from the start. As the school year begins, these apps are going to make a big difference in helping you be productive and effective in the classroom.
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