Stream Videos with Free iPad Apps

Image credit: PBS

You might watch Netflix, HBO Go or Hulu Plus for personal use on your iPad, but while these may not always be appropriate for students, there are many free iPad apps for streaming video that will work great in your classroom. The days of running to the VCR to record a clip off a television program are long gone. If you want to hook students with a film clip, to connect your classwork to reality television, or to inspire children's interest in a topic through educational programming, there are many apps that can be used to stream content on your iPad.


The Discovery Channel app has full episodes and snippets from a variety of television shows. I love to grab my students' attention with exciting video clips, and the Discovery Channel has a lot to choose from. If I'm teaching sustainability or ecosystems, a clip from Deadliest Catch might fit into my lesson. MythBusters can explain the science behind everyday questions with a production value that I can't swing in my classroom. Whatever you choose to stream, I'm sure students will be interested in the change of pace from your everyday instruction.


If it's a clip from NOVA on Stonehenge or a documentary on the Dust Bowl you're looking for, you've found the right app. PBS has lots of material that will stream straight your your iPad. With an easy-to-navigate platform, the PBS for iPad app has an abundance of local and national programming available for your classroom. Bookmark your favorite clips at home so they'll be easy to find when you're ready to share them with students.

History Channel

The History Channel app is simply called History, a wonderful tool for streaming clips and full episodes of a variety of programming. I can't decide if my favorite part of this app is the well-organized series of clips from the program America: The Story of Us or The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents. Instead of searching through a long video for the perfect moment, these snippets are already broken down into perfect pieces. This app has lots of options for the American history classroom and clips that can connect to English language arts and science topics.


Similar to the Discovery Channel, the A&E app has reality show clips that might easily connect to units you're teaching in your classroom. A snippet fromAmerican Hoggers or Duck Dynasty may be just the hook a lesson needs to grab the attention of your students. Even though it seems silly, a clip from a popular show could add to your discussion on ecosystems or economics. I'm a big proponent of making real-world connections that demonstrate the relevance of content. A video of real-life people is one way to do it.

Smithsonian Channel

A fantastic resource for high-quality videos on a wide range of topics, theSmithsonian Channel app lets you watch full episodes of Aerial America and clips from a variety of other shows. Search by topic or create your own channel by choosing from a list of topics that actually goes from A to Z. If it's footage of Niagara Falls you're looking for -- or if dinosaurs and outer space fit better into your curriculum -- there is a lot to choose from in this app.

What are your favorite apps for streaming video on your iPad? Have you tried any of these with your students?

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