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September 29, 2020

10 Favorite Apps for Teachers

For today’s students, mobile technology is a constant companion. These devices have put the power of learning right in the student’s pocket (depending on the size of the device of course)! Smartphone ownership has risen dramatically for our K-12+ learners over the past few years. More than 50% of children 11 years of age and older have a smartphone, and 91% of 18-year-olds do as well. While there may be some differing viewpoints about youth access to mobile devices, many learners use mobile tech tools to read coursework, collaborate with classmates, complete assignments, and even communicate with their teachers.

With the potential to learn (more and anywhere) right in a student’s pocket, consider leveraging the mobile devices by using teaching and learning apps. We decided to ask our teacher experts about their favorite apps, and of course, we wanted to share their insights with you.

Crowd Favorite (Most Mentioned):

1. Seesaw

Coming in at number one, Seesaw is a teacher fave! We’ve written about it before, and it sounds like a popular, easy to use, multi-function app. If you haven’t investigated it, you might want to after you read what teachers are saying.

Comments from Educators:

  • We pushed out all our assignments, communication, screencasts, etc. during distance learning using Seesaw. Super easy to use for teachers, kids, and parents!
  • I love Seesaw for interaction between me, kids, and families and for the ease of use.
  • It’s a “one stop shop” for communicating, posting assignments, and staying organized.
  • The students could respond to activities and I could provide feedback.
  • It allows me to model what needs to be done using voice, video, drawing or attachments AND comment on student work.
  • This is great for communicating lessons to students and staff. It allows for immediate feedback on work.

2. Google Slides-Bitmoji Classroom

Watch for a future blog post on this one! We can’t always be with our learners, but we can provide them an engaging online classroom feel. Teachers are going nuts about using Slides and Bitmoji in combination to develop virtual classrooms! Our recommending teacher shared that this creative process helped curate materials and engage students. Sounds like a win-win to me!

3. Teach Your Monster to Read

Well, this certainly looks engaging for young learners. From their website: “Create a monster and take it on an adventure through a magical world. Travel to exciting places, meet fun characters, play games and win prizes as your monster learns the first steps of reading.” It makes me want to learn to read again because well…monsters!

Comments from an Educator: I love “Teach Your Monster to Read” for my Kindergarten students. It’s an interactive literacy app that helps beginning readers use technology to practice their reading skills.

4. Plickers

Making formative and summative assessment simple…Plickers has educators raving about the card designed assessments. It’s fantastic for in-person or hybrid/blended learning. You can read a number of testimonials on the Plickers home page, but my favorite Tweet said, “The kids love Plickers because it feels like a game. I love #plickers because I get instant feedback on their progress and can use it to form small groups and differentiate instructions.” In addition to assessment, there are even more uses for Plickers.

5. Clips

This Apple iOS app (iPhone, iPads, etc.) was recommended for its ease of use and as a nice way to encourage creativity. Common Sense Media provides a great product review and some ideas on how to use Clips in the classroom. One teacher said, “Clips is a nice and funny app that help students summarize their learning in short clips or mini-movies. Students can personalize their learning by using the posters features.” Maybe there is some video recording in your future?

6. Explain Everything

We’ve written about this one on our Chalk Blog, too! This interactive whiteboard and presentation app is a robust choice for collaboration. Students can import content, write, draw and record audio to demonstrate learning. This tool works much like an enhanced slideshow presentation tool with great features that take your work to the next level. One teacher shared that Explain Everything is a great way for learners to show what they know. This educator also used it during distance learning to explain concepts with which learners were struggling.

7. Prodigy

This adaptive game-based math learning platform will keep your students smiling. It’s great for motivation and differentiation. One educator told us, “It’s free and I can tailor it to fit the needs of my students while also collecting valuable data on their math skills. The majority of my students love it as well.”

8. Epic

Epic gives free access to high-quality, age appropriate books for students in grades 6 and under. You can track progress, assign audiobooks, and even personalize daily reading. Our teacher friend wrote that it allows students to read a variety of books at home…another helpful method for distance and/or hybrid learning.

9. Google Forms

Forms has many uses for the classroom when you need to collect information. You can develop and share daily check in activities or gather quick feedback to a one-question parent poll. Students can create and distribute research surveys, and you can send them questionnaires to learn about their interests. The teacher that recommended Forms shared, “It is a great tool for formative assessments, exit slips, surveys, etc.” So many uses!

Want to learn more? Check out OL 5098: Enhancing Formative Assessment Practices with Technology. The use of Forms for assessment is covered in this fantastic course which is highly relevant now given our distance and hybrid learning models.

10. Google Classroom

Classroom is just plain invaluable. One teacher wrote, “Google Classroom has helped us provide content and interactive opportunities. It helps students and teachers organize assignments, boost collaboration, and foster better communication.”

Mobile devices are not going away anytime soon, so let’s embrace it and add learning to daily screen time.


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