mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project

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Best Apps of 2011

It’s great to look back on a year of amazing change and growth in mobile. Also its now been over year using my beloved iPad and iPhone 4. So here are my top Apps for the last year.


How does one keep up with all the latest and greatest news? Well you can sift through a myriad of sites, feeds and tweets. Or you can do it the easy way with Zite – the personal magazine aggregator. Plug in your interest areas and Zite will generate a magazine just for you. Like or dislike articles and help Zite customise it to what your interested in. Available for iPad and iPhone.


The first magazine app for the iPad aggregates your RSS, twitter, facebook – almost anything can get plugged into this thing. It lays out articles in an attractive way – stripping out all those damn ads too! They just released an iPhone version which is just as good. Available for iPad and iPhone.


I do a lot of research on the web and I used to print out a lot of articles to Read Later. I’d end up with a stack of papers that would pile up on my desk and then find their way to the bin – often unread. Then Instapaper came along and changed all that. Instapaper is based around the concept of Read Later – you can browse, find something and then add it to Instapaper to read later. The other great thing Instapaper does is strip out add and enhance the reading experience so you can change the font, size and colour. This app has become integral to my daily life! Available for iPad and iPhone.


I was happily using the official Twitter app for most of the year, and then they updated it. It completely changed the user experience and for me it was a leap backwards. I tried a couple of alternatives and then came across Tweetbot. It’s simple powerful and user friendly. Available for iPhone.


More a cross-platform web service than a single app Evernote is a jewel. You can use it to store and catalogue almost anything and then have it synced across multiple devices and the cloud. It means all your stuff is available anywhere, anytime. Start writing on your iPad and finish on your laptop. Take a photo using your iPhone and the image gets OCR‘d so you can search the text. I’ve got my business card collection stored – so if I want to find someone I just need to remember one detail about them and I can find them! Available for iPad and iPhone.


If you travel a lot TripIt will become your best friend. It aggregates all you travel information. You can email it booking confirmations and it will scan the details and add it to your itinerary, or you can let it scan your inbox. The app then allows you to see all your info in one spot. What time was that flight? What was my confirmation number? How do I get to the hotel? You can do it all with TripIt! There is a free and a paid version, so try before you buy. Available for iPad and iPhone.


When I went to the US early last year I had no information on where to stay or to eat. Yelp lets you find places and see how other people rated them. Want to find the best steak in town? Maybe you’re looking for Mexican ice-cream, Yelp can help you out and it’s now arrived in Australia! Available for iPad and iPhone.


People love the old school photo booth and now you can relive them from you iOS device. I love using this with my niece and nephew – 4 photos in a strip with some great analogue effects. Available for iPad and iPhone.


Another app to bring the analogue to the digital world – this time for video. Complete with different film stock, grain and camera effects you can recreate those classic 8mm films. Turn off the mic to get a truly old school clip! Different versions available for iPhone & iPad