Apps You Should Know: Ten Ambient Sound-Makers and Other Meditation Aids

Readers of this blog will recall that I am a passionate proponent for teaching mindfulness and meditation to students. I’ve blogged about it here a number of times. And I have many more links describing the benefits of it as well as how to teach it. Someday, I plan to post these too.

For now, I’d like to show and tell about a number of iOS apps which can be effectively used to support meditative practices in you or your students. While I provide links to more info about each (as available), you’ll need to go to the App Store to search for and download them yourself.

Even though I use an Android smartphone, I have the apps featured here on my iPad only and not my phone. Therefore, I cannot speak to whether there are corresponding Android apps for any of these.

I’ve selected apps which are easy and effective to use, free of charge, and have either zero or minimal/unobtrusive opportunities for “In-App Purchases” (NOTE: This is accurate as what I’ve seen in the apps and also only at the time of publishing this). I hope you enjoy exploring these apps too:

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Peace – Ambient Sounds   – Free and without In-App Purchases

This is a pretty bare-bones app with only a handful of sounds. As it is free, clear of ads and w/o in-app purchases, it’s a good, basic, “starter app” to produce background sounds for meditation.

 

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WO.Audio (Red icon version) – Free and without In-App Purchases. NOTE: Search iTunes App Store with the “iPhone only” option selected.

For a free app, this one is surprisingly robust. It has both sounds and music along with options for users to create their own combinations which can be saved to the app.

 

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AmbiScience 300 Lite – Free and without In-App Purchases.

The free version of this is pretty slim on options as it functions mostly as an enticement to download their fuller versions. Yet, this app is one of the few I’ve found which also has the option to blend binaural sound waves into the mix of music and ambient sounds.

 

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White Noise Market – Free and without In-App Purchases

I’ve not used this app as much as some of the others, so I cannot speak to the depth of its functionality. That being said, at first glance it clearly has a range of sounds and functions which surpass many of the other free apps on this list. And it has this interesting map of the sources of the sounds offered by the app:

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Naturely, aka Nature Clockstand – Free without In-App Purchases.

Offering a range of sounds, an attractive image representing each sound, and a built-in timer, this app is another one with a high level of usability. I like the natural images which correlate to the audio as sometimes I’ll meditate with my eyes open and gaze at art or an image.

 

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Stop, Breathe and Think – Free with minimal, unobtrusive In-App Purchases

We’re now into a slightly different category of apps. Many of the remaining ones include audio, guided meditations, timers, record keeping of time/date meditating, and other features geared especially for novices to meditative practice. This app has a friendly, light-hearted interface. The user may “check-in” by answering a few questions and then receive a guided meditation tailored to their current need. Or, as this shot shows, the user can bypass the questions and simply select a style and length of meditation:

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Breathe2Relax – Free, no In-App Purchases

This app, while not strictly geared towards mindful meditation is designed with relaxation in mind. Designed with scientific research, this app is better to experience than to describe. So, if the screen shots above interest you, download the free app and try it out. If breathing is important to you, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in it.

 

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Smiling Mind – Free without In-App Purchases

Not only does this app have the best name of the bunch, but it includes a number of other unique features. While the mediation counter and resulting badges are similar to what is found on “Stop, Breathe and Think,” Smiling Mind is the only app I’ve found with meditations specifically geared to different age levels (see the 2nd shot above). Within each older age group is a “course list” of downloadable, guided meditations designed to teach and encourage a meditative practice. It also includes a “social media” function so your friends can observe and encourage your meditation.

And the voices are Aussies, reminiscent of Andy Puddicombe, creator and founder of Headspace.

 

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Mediation Timer Free for iPad – No In-App Purchases, ad supported

This simple, yet elegant app does one thing well. Although it doesn’t offer guided mediations or ambient sounds, it’s an excellent free timer. I use it every day to measure my 10 minutes of mindfulness. The free version is ad supported and has a couple fewer minor features than the inexpensive full version (which I purchased). I like how the user can set the time as well as sounds to mark intervals within the meditation. I use a deep chime sound for each 2:30 and then a specific bell at the end of the full 10 minutes. The app keeps track of my time and provides a number of key data points upon request. And I particularly like the option to easily post my meditation time on Twitter or facebook.

 

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Calm in the Storm (Stress Management) – Free, without In-App Purchases

This app is also different then the others listed here as it is designed specifically for people who suffer from high levels of stress and/or anxiety disorders. As you’ll see in the third shot above, there are guided meditations and relaxations within this app. These are set within the context of anxiety management and development of a plan to address anxiety and stress as they arise. For some, this app may literally function as a life-saver.

Do you have experience with any of these apps?

What additional apps have you used for ambient sounds and/or meditation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free, On-line Retreat Starts Now

For at least 5 years, my very favorite site for Catholic reflections on the daily gospels, wonderful audio retreats, current church events, and much, much more is the site posted by the Collaborative Ministry Office from the Jesuit Creighton University.  Visiting this robust site any day or everyday will yield wisdom and insights to nourish your faith.

Today (or this week) is a particularly good time to visit the site as a free, on-line retreat begins now.  This Ignatian themed retreat can actually be started at any time.  But they’ve created a calendar, from this week through the next nearly three dozen weeks, which connects the retreat to the liturgical calendar.

So, how’s your faith-life during these transitional days of early (school) fall?  Are you feeling called to a more organized, potentially communal, scriptural, way of daily prayer?  Will you join me and many others and begin this retreat now?

A Gaggle of Google, Part II

A few months ago, I posted a list of links related to the Google universe.  It happened to be the 100th post.  Now, we’re approaching 150 posts and I thought it was time to send out another, updated list of Google items.

A couple of notes.  First, I did not renew my Office 365 account when it expired a month ago.  The $70 or so they wanted for another year wasn’t worth it to me.  So, I’m planning on migrating all of my files over to the Google trio exclusively.  I mention this as I’m keeping an eye out for useful posts on Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Next, my school does not use Google Classroom as our LMS is Buzz, built on the platform of BrainHoney.  I note this as I generally don’t look out for Classroom postings.  You may see one or two in this list, but it’s not a focus for me.

Without further ado, here’s good stuff I’ve seen recently on Google:

10 Reasons to Love Google Docs

A Collection of Some of the Best Chromebook Apps for Teachers

Must Have Chrome Apps for the New School Year

14 Essential Google Search Tips for Students

10 Back to School Tips for Teachers Using Google Docs

5 Important Chrome Tips for Teachers

PDF My Google Drive Folder

Back to School With Google Chrome: The Complete Guide

Launch Desktop Application from Google Drive Preview in Chrome

Explain Everything – On Chromebooks!

6 Google Tips – Infographic

Two Important Google Slides Updates Teachers Should Know About

5 Under Appreciated Google Tools for Teaching Social Studies

72 Google Drive Shortcuts You Should Know About

Some Great Educational Resources From Google

Google Classroom: Sharing or Submitting a Google Drive Folder

Excellent Google Sheets Tools for Assessment and Grading

12 Ways to Use Google Classroom’s Newest Features

Some Teacher Tested Notable Chromebook Apps to Use with Students

Top 90 Educational Apps for Android

Google Brings It’s 360 Degree Storytelling App to the iPhone and iPad

Here is a Great Alternative to Google Forms

A New Look for the Google Docs, Slides and Sheets Viewer on the Mobile Web

Google Apps and the Brain Friendly Classroom – Collaborative Learning

Treasure Trove of Historical Footage Now Available on YouTube

6 Most Popular Google Docs Templates for Teachers

Teacher’s Top Educational Chrome Apps for 2015-2016

3 Important Google Drive Updates Teachers Should Know About

100 Ways to Use Google Drive in the Classroom

411 on Google’s Educator Certificates

Google Forms: Using Summary of Responses Repeatedly

3 Excellent Google Sheets Tools to Enhance Workflow

A Handy Google Drive Tool for Annotating PDF’s

24 Google Docs Templates Which Will Make Your Life Easier

Top 5 Android New Aggregator Apps for Teacher

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Enjoy the wide ranging list!

 

 

Every High School in the U.S. is Getting a Free Copy of Selma

Yes, this is a pretty awesome thing!  Another site mentions that this free mailing does indeed include both public and non-public schools.  No word though on when these DVD’s will be shipped.

Teachers can receive a free “companion study guide” upon request.  There are numerous sites such as this one by “Teaching for Change” with other support materials.

And, it is rated PG-13.  This is particularly good news for schools like mine where “R” rated films cannot be shown.

A Must Have iOS App – “Apps Gone Free”

It’s not too long until 1pm EST.  Since that’s the time I eagerly await each day to receive my “Apps Gone Free” notice for every day of the week, I thought this would be a good time to mention this truly useful and fun app.

Apps Gone Free

I stumbled across this app a couple of months ago and my life hasn’t been the same since.  It is a very user-friendly way to have access to the highest quality free apps.  There is a diversity of types here – early childhood through elementary games; a wide range of games for older students and adults; top notch productivity tools; photo editors and much more.

It’s a great way to try out tools and games without the commitment of buying them.  But beware – you may quickly find your memory close to full (especially if you also have the lightweight iPad2 with just 16 GB).