Many schools and colleges have already started in-person lessons, but several educational institutions have also continued online classes. Some have introduced a hybrid model of teaching where some lessons are taught in person and projects are completed online. Whichever group you fall into, one thing is for sure: Educational apps are helpful in making learning easy, fun, and convenient and keeping students engaged. Whether you prefer fully online teaching or like to blend tech and in-person learning, these apps can help.
Zoom has undoubtedly become the darling app and communication center with so many more people currently working, studying, or simply hanging out at home. It has been the silver lining connecting us to our parents, our friends, our family, and our students and teachers during the lockdown, and now people are still in touch with their long-distance connections virtually. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, consider doing so now.
Zoom is a powerful cloud video conferencing platform that allows you to host “meetings” with hundreds of participants. Using the Zoom app, educators can share lesson plans, give instruction, swap files with students, and communicate directly with the group or individuals via chat, all within the app. The free version of the app supports unlimited one-to-one meetings and a 40-minute time limit on group meetings. The base paid version, starting at just $15 a month, offers meetings with up to 100 participants running up to 30 hours long.
Quizlet lets you create free flashcards to make learning more effective. The app is free to use and offers access to millions of study sets created by teachers and learners. You can also find solutions for various problems across 64 subjects, all written and verified by experts. The app also offers study modes and in-class games so teachers can keep the students engaged throughout the lecture. If you upgrade to the QuizletPlus plan for teachers, the app offers special tools for educators to track which students started or completed their study sessions and which ones need help. You can also add custom images, audio, and diagrams to make the lessons more interactive. Not sure if it’s the best app for you? You get a free 30-day trial to explore the features, and if you’re happy with the options, you can subscribe for $35 a year.
Teachers love to turn a boring lesson into a game to motivate their students, but not everyone has the skills to make a game from scratch. Thankfully, the GetKahoot website makes it easy to turn your class into a game show. All you have to do is enter your prepared questions and answers into the site to create an instantly playable game. Your students can then download the Kahoot app to use as a buzzer to join in on the fun. As a teacher, you can find millions of ready-to-play kahoots on any topic, so you don’t have to spend valuable time creating lessons for each subject. You also get custom reports to track your students’ progress. The app is free to use, but you can buy optional upgrades to unlock puzzles, polls, open-ended questions, and slides. The premium plans start at $3 a month per teacher and go up to $9 a month per teacher to unlock all the features.
Parents want to celebrate their children’s achievements every step of the way, so it’s important to keep them in the loop on their kids’ progress throughout the school year. With Seesaw, a student portfolio app, kids can store and post their best work to share with their parents. Teachers, on the other hand, can provide concrete examples of their students’ strengths and areas for improvement to their parents during teacher-parent meetings. Teachers can also find thousands of ready-to-teach learning activities to engage the students. Schools can use this app for monitoring student progress, publishing yearly achievements, making schoolwide announcements, and sharing curriculum plans and changes with the parents.
If your school already uses the G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education), chances are you already know about Google Classroom. Not only can you distribute and grade assignments through the app, as well as organize all class materials on Google Drive, you can also reach your students more easily — either to make announcements or to engage them in discussions. Teachers can now boost engagement with the Student Selector, which randomly selects students from the roster, so you can motivate full classroom participation.
Remind makes it easy for teachers to communicate with students and their parents in real time outside of the classroom. You can make class announcements, initiate group chats, or contact people privately through the Remind app. Your messages, which can contain files, images, and links, can even be translated into more than 90 languages, making it possible to communicate with parents who are non-native English speakers. The best part is that this app is completely free to use, so you can connect with your entire class for no cost.
Collecting those pesky parental consent forms from your students for field trips can be a nightmare, but Classtree makes the process painless and paperless. Unlike Remind, which simply notifies parents of the logistics of an upcoming field trip, Classtree actually lets you attach a consent form for parents to e-sign to go along with the announcement. The app also lets you add optional questions, solve urgent queries, and manage comments from parents. The app even shows you exactly who has seen your note and who owes you a signed form.
It’s not just businesses that rely on Slack to keep employees connected: Professors and college students are increasingly turning to the messaging tool to stay in touch beyond school hours. Not only are some instructors hosting text-based “office hours” on the platform, but they are also pushing important reminders through the app to their students. You can now set a Dark Mode and upload multiple images simultaneously from the message box, in channels, and in threads for easy communication. You can also make calls, share videos, and send live emoji reactions for instant group communication. For added convenience, the app can be integrated with other management platforms like Google Drive, Asana, Zendesk, and more so educators can get everything done in the same app.
Group projects can be difficult when everyone is operating on a different schedule. Fortunately, Trello lets students stay organized, providing handy tools designed to keep them on task. The app allows them to create checklists, upload images, and assign tasks to other users, among other actions, while conveniently syncing content across devices via the cloud. Content is displayed within a card-peppered interface, with options to easily move tasks around as needed. You can also add elements like photos and links directly to Trello for better organization. The app honors your last card so that when returning to the app, you’ll get right back to the last board or card you were viewing. Students and teachers can also use the calendar view to assign and track due dates. Plus, everything is completely free to use, so you can add your entire class on the same Trello board for easier management.
Taking advantage of the iPad’s touchscreen and portability, the Doceri app, only for iOS, turns the mobile device into a portable interactive whiteboard. You can annotate whatever material you have on-screen as you teach, which makes for a more interactive lesson. Besides letting you handwrite complicated math equations or brainstorm Venn diagrams on the fly, the app can also record the class and post it online directly from your iPad.
Elementary school teachers are always on the lookout for new books for their students but worry about spending too much of their own money on their classrooms. With the Epic Unlimited Books for Kids app, teachers in the U.S. and Canada get free access to over 40,000 kid-friendly books ranging from National Geographic Kids to the Goosebumps series. The Educator’s version of the app also includes lesson ideas and videos to make life easier for teachers. Recent updates include features that help kids pick the next book in their favorite series and Epic! Originals, which offers stories from the kids’ favorite authors. Prices start at $10 a month or $80 a year for four child profiles.
Chances are you’re already familiar with Dropbox. The service is terrific when you need to upload and store presentation photos, assignments, videos, and anything else you might need to access at home or in the classroom. The dedicated app also lets you create and edit Microsoft Office files on your mobile device and share file links with your students so you don’t have to clutter their inboxes with an abundance of enormous files. You can now control how people can access content with link settings, and more refined parameters around camera uploads let you choose when automatic camera uploads begin, and whether to upload your entire camera roll or only new images, as well as edited photos.
Education takes place in and out of the classroom and Pocket gives you a way to quickly save articles, videos, and other web content pertinent to your current or future class lectures. The app also lets you view anything you save offline while presenting your articles with an easy-to-view layout that enhances the reading experience, regardless of your device. Sharing that enlightening article on the Roanoke colonists with your students couldn’t be easier. Recent versions introduce offline listening, so even without a network connection, Pocket automatically uses your device’s text-to-speech voices.
ClassDojo isn’t your typical classroom-management platform. Whereas many concern themselves with gold stars and charts, this app lets teachers emphasize positive feedback, allowing you to elaborate on the behavior of your students with comments such as “working hard” or “participating.” You can even send parents public and private messages regarding their child’s progress, and if they desire, they can view their child’s feedback in real time. No school newsletter required. Most features are free to use, but you can get optional upgrades like personalized memory albums for $8 a month or $60 a year.
Organization is key in the classroom, but it’s not always easy. Teacher’s Assistant Pro allows you to keep a set of behavior records for each student in your class, offering a quick method for looking up and noting bad behavior and letting you email specific incidents from the app’s main interface. The app collects your entered data and stores the infraction or accolade, plus the date, time, location, images, class period, details, teacher action taken, and any parental involvement.
Anyone in the knowledge profession will find WolframAlpha helpful in checking facts, doing calculations, discovering new information, and researching new angles on practically any subject to boost teaching and learning. The WolframAlpha computational knowledge engine covers a huge array of topics, offering information on disparate subjects like mathematics, physics, astronomy, earth sciences, life sciences, weather, geography, history, music, linguistics, sports, finance, socioeconomics — you name it. It is a superlative resource for both teachers and students in any field of study. It costs $3 to download the app, and you can buy a $10-per-month subscription to unlock all the features.
Are you still grading the old-fashioned way? Groovy Grader lets you update your technique for calculating that all-important bottom line for students, parents, and you. Groovy Grader replaces your paper grading calculator to provide more flexibility in figuring out the most accurate and fair grade you can bestow. You can configure it for hundreds of questions and have it display grades as whole numbers or with an added decimal place. The app lets you view grades for number correct, number wrong, and half points with convenient color-coding. You can view more than 50 grades on the screen at once. The best part? Everything is completely free to use.
Educreations is an interactive whiteboard app that allows you to create easy-to-follow tutorials for students. You have a vast range of options for the tutorial format, including animations, videos, diagrams, and more. The app will enable you to record audio to pair with your actions to narrate instructions and commentary for the work. Your creations will be shareable via social media, messaging, and email as well. The latest versions debut lesson draft syncing where you can use your account to access your saved drafts on all devices, support for Apple Classroom, managed accounts, iCloud Keychain, and more.
Paper notes are becoming more and more obsolete in the digital world. With StudyBlue, teachers can create digital sets of flashcards, study guides, and quizzes, each complete with optional audio and video. Students can also build their flashcards or other study tools and share them with friends. The interaction within the app helps make learning stick. All students get unlimited access to over 500 million StudyBlue materials, study guides, and the ability to copy and modify any flashcard deck — for free.
You can’t go wrong with TED. The organization’s official app houses hundreds of inspiring and intriguing TED Talks, featuring fascinating lectures from industry and subject experts spanning a wide swath of topics such as neuroscience, traditional folk music, human evolution, and many more. TED Talks make a perfect conversation-starter for classroom discussion or debate or help teachers brainstorm topics for future lessons.
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