Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dollar Store Deals... on itunes- or how to find good cheap apps

I am a little addicted to shopping for apps on the app store.  One of the reasons I have started this blog is so I can easily share my favorite apps.  Sort of like when you call your best friend to say "hey, when I was at the __ store today they had a sale on that __ you wanted."  This weekend I went to the dollar store to browse for teaching tools and toys/puzzles for my kids.  I kept finding myself debating over the $1 puzzle, workbook, toy, teaching posters.  For the first time I left empty handed- because I realized that the same $1 could buy me an awesome app that wouldn't break, be recalled or lose a piece.  The app store is the ultimate teacher's store.

Well, shopping the app store can be time consuming and frustrating.  There are also some apps that are duds, or just not as good as others.  New apps are added all the time too and while I think the app store is easy to use it's also has a pretty poor organizational system.  It can take a lot of time to slog through the apps in other languages, topics you don't care about to find your new favorite. There are so many great apps that pop up every few days it could become an obsession to look for them.  Oh, wait... maybe it has already become one for me.  Maybe I need to join AppsAnonymous.

Anyhow, how do you find good apps?  First, check out my earlier blogs.  I have a list of some of my favorites.  I will update as I go.  Some are free, some are not; some are better than others.

Then, check the app store; you can sort by release date (my preference), most popular and name.  I tend to focus on the "education category" and check through it every few days for new apps.  Secondly, check out the "top charts" (be sure to click on the more button after the first 10 free/paid apps on the list.  Third, activate and browse through your "Genius" recommendations.  Many are ones I ignore, but it has also helped me find some really great apps. Also, sign up for a "free app a day" app and check it as close to daily as you can.  They have several apps that usually cost you, but that are free! for that day only. Mostly games, but I have lucked out with a few good apps I wanted but didn't want to pay for. Lastly, when you look at an app's description for more info/read reviews (ALWAYS read the full description and reviews if you are thinking about buying an app) look on the left side of the description; this shows you other apps by the same developer.  Sometimes their other apps are better or might fit your need best.

Suggestion: always check for a free version before you pay.  Or, at least look critically at the reviews and screen shots.  Some apps are not worth $ while other free apps are amazing.

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