In this post, Sarah Fudin, a community relations coordinator for the University of Southern California’s online Masters Degree in Teaching program, shares 5 mobile apps that teachers are already using in the classroom to aid learning.
Apple’s catchy tagline — “There’s an app for that” — is proving to be true in today’s classroom. Educational apps that are well designed and highly interactive engage students and make learning more enjoyable. A quick online survey shows that there are hundreds of apps available for every educational level, from pre-Kindergarten to college.
Many schools are putting iPads into the hands of students in the classroom. Even in classrooms where only the teacher has an iPad, Apple’s Video Mirroring technology allows the screen image from an iPad to be shared with the class via a projection screen or HDTV.
Here are five extraordinarily useful Apple and Android apps that are being used in classrooms across the country right now:
Millions have people have used the byki (or “Before You Know It”) system to learn a foreign language. Byki utilizes spaced interval repetition to help users build a strong language foundation by locking words and phrases into memory. It’s a powerful tool for students and teachers in foreign language, ESL and TESOL courses. Programs for more than 70 languages are available for the computer and online versions of byki, though the byki Mobile app for Apple and Android devices supports only English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.
2. World Wiki
This Apple app provides quick access to detailed information about more than 200 countries around the globe. According to Macworld, World Wiki uses data from the official CIA World Factbook. Country data includes maps, flags, native language, motto and national statistics, with more detailed information about a country’s government, economy and geography also available. World Wiki’s presentation and depth of information make it a useful tool for teachers and students of all educational levels, with particularly innovative applications in the ESL / TESOL teacher’s classroom, where bridging the cultural gap may sometimes be challenging.
3. Motion Math
Initially developed at the Stanford School of Education, this app makes learning about the number line and fractions a physical experience. A video game format helps elementary school students gain an almost tactile understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts. Eye-catching HD graphics, sound effects and increasing levels of difficulty keep students engaged, and availability in seven different languages ensures that students from around the world can access it.
4. Blackboard Mobile Learn
This app works with the Blackboard Web-based teaching and learning software, allowing students and teachers to access grades, assignments, coursework, discussion boards and school announcements. This app is available on a variety of mobile platforms and is free for schools that use Blackboard software.
No roundup of educational apps would be complete without mentioning this app, which is listed as the #1 app for students by U.S. News & World Report. Over 1 million words from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com are included in this app, along with audio pronunciation, word origins and example sentences. The app can be downloaded free of charge for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices and conveniently works without an Internet connection.
As technology continues to advance and become even more ubiquitous, permeating our everyday lives and routines, it is certain that the classroom of the future will also become more high-tech. The apps being used by teachers and students today are only the latest wave of the digital revolution sweeping over education. As the processes and programs currently available are advanced and refined, technology will offer teachers and students even better ways to work, to connect and, of course, to learn.
Do you use apps in your classroom? Which ones do you use? Share them in the comments below.