An increasing number of schools are adopting 1:1 programs while others encourage students to bring their mobile devices (BYOD) to class. Many teachers interested in integrating technology into their classrooms may be feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of leveraging mobile technology for educational purposes.
My advice is to start with some basic universal apps that can be used by both teachers and students in every subject area. The more teachers explore apps using mobile technology, the more likely they will be to incorporate that technology into their instruction.
Here is a brief description of 5 apps that I use and love:
1. Google app
Are you interested in using QR Codes for learning? Want to facilitate in-class research projects?
Google has a variety of awesome education apps for mobile devices! The Google search app makes it easy for students to use the Google search engine for real time research. They can type in words/phrases or use the voice recognition feature to say key words. Unlike so many dictation apps that don’t properly capture the words being spoken, google has been very easy to use.
Google search also has a built in QR code reader which makes it possible for teachers to use QR codes in class to support student learning. As I mentioned in a previous blog, a QR code is linked to a URL, so teachers can create one code which connects students with information they need. Teachers can:
- Put QR codes on assignments and handouts to link students to a helpful video or online resource. That way students have a strategy for problem solving.
- Use QR codes to take students on a virtual field trip without ever leaving the room.
- Design an class webquest with QR codes that take students to the necessary resources they need, then they can work in collaborative groups to do creative tasks with that information and/or have in-class discussions on a variety of topics.
- Use goo.gl to generate QR codes to direct students to online quizzing site like QUIA so you can track who has taken the quiz. OR send them to an online resource and track how many students actually viewed that resource.
- Make a textbook interactive by using QR codes to direct students to supplementary information.
- Post QR codes on the wall to provide useful info about syllabus, schedule, cafeteria menu, sporting events, etc.
Do you have students carrying backpacks that look like a bomb exploded inside? Do your students regularly fail to bring their materials to class? Do students have trouble locating important information, notes or homework assignments? If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, then Evernote is an app worth checking out.
This app is great for BOTH teachers and students. I use Evernote daily to capture interesting or important information I find online. I often encounter images, articles and information that I want to return to later, so I capture it using Evernote. I have never been so organized!
Students can use the basic (free) version of Evernote to capture text they find online, make notes for a class, record homework assignments, take pictures and capture audio. This information stored via Evernote can be accessed from anywhere– using computers or mobile devices.
Would you like your iPhone or iPad to look and act like your desktop? The Atomic Web Browser offers users the opportunity to view webpages in tabs like they would from their computer. This makes it easier to:
- Do real time research projects in class
- Complete real time web quests in the classroom
- Tackle problem solving tasks using mobile devices
- Read articles and information online
A review of the Atomic Web Browser app described the app as “incredibly flexible and useful, allowing the user to set up advanced privacy controls, choose from several color themes, activate an ad-blocker, customize the search engine bar, view the source of a Webpage, and even have Web servers identify Atomic as another browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.“
Are you interested in having your students capture images with their mobile devices? Adobe Photoshop lets your students import photos or take pictures with their mobile devices then edit them using this app.
As education begins to focus more on “real world relevance” and problem solving, photographs from life can serve as inspiration for learning.
Teachers can capture images outside of school, edit their photos and share them with students in class or online. Images can be used to motivate writing assignments, create real life math problems, drive scientific inquiry and inspire art projects.
Students can tap into their own creativity and explore their world using photography!
5. Common Core
Are you curious or anxious about the national set of standards being adopted across the country? If so, this is a great app for exploring the Common Core State Standards for your grade level and subject area. This app makes navigating the Standards easy.
Many teachers today do their lesson planning on the go. This app makes it possible for a teacher planning a lesson to quickly identify the Common Core State Standards aligned with a given lesson or activity.
I have had this app on my phone for 2 weeks and I already feel confident in my knowledge of the Common Core State Standards for my subject! It can make transitioning to a new set of standards much less painful.
This app may not interest most students, but it can help answer the ever present question, “why do we have to do this?” This app makes the standards visible to students so they understand why they are being taught particular concepts. Students can benefit from understanding the benchmarks they are responsible for meeting at the end of each grade level.
For any educator teaching in a 1:1 program or using mobile devices in their classrooms who want to know more about educational apps, check out Apps for Learning:40 Best iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone Apps for High School Classrooms by Harry Dickens and Andrew Churches. This fabulous book identifies 40 apps that can be used in the classroom to support students learning. For each app, they provide an “About the app” section which out identifies the subject areas each app is appropriate for, how much it costs (many are free), and where it can be found online. They clearly explain what the app does, how it works, and how it can be used in the classroom.
If you have a favorite education app that you have used with students and love, please add to this list with the name of the app and a quick explanation of how you have used this app with students. Thanks!