Despite facing a tough early battle to gain ground in the educational space, EdTech is finally getting the classroom recognition it deserves. Close behind (and closely intertwined) have arrived the educational apps that teachers of all grade levels have quickly begun to rely upon, both to keep kids busy during transitional times and to accelerate learning. Here, we’ll look at how different educational apps work to supplement classroom goals, and how teachers can introduce these technologies without fear of the distractions often associated with screen time.
Achievement Tracking Apps
The easy synchronization offered by app-based technology offers teachers perhaps the biggest benefit of all — they can communicate goals easily with parents. That means no more “Of course we didn’t get any homework tonight, Mom.” Because mom can easily pull out her smartphone and see for herself what’s on the weekly agenda. This also helps parents to acknowledge and reward kids’ in-school achievements, and vice versa. Try:
Seesaw: Seesaw gives teachers, parents, and students unlimited access to one unified digital portfolio, where everything from learning goals to assignments and achievements can be documented.
iRewardChart: Ideal for younger, more visually oriented students, iRewardChart offers easy synchronization of a traditional rewards chart complete with fun stickers. When kids whiz a quiz or complete classroom goals, parents can see in real-time at home.
Goal Tracker: GoalTracker is designed to effectively track student progress through measurable analytics, and can be used on any device without necessitating app compatibility — great for maintaining goal communications with parents who are a bit behind on the tech times.
In-Classroom Learning Apps
Apps can help to make learning fun in the classroom by capitalizing on kids’ interest for all things tech. For students from low income families who may not get much exposure to tech at home, app-based teaching can also help to provide the early familiarization with technology that is so essential in a STEM world. Try:
CogniToys (Requires a CogniToys Dino): The CogniToys Dino stimulates learning through educational games and fun Q&A. Because the Dino is designed just for kids, it can also be used during classroom downtime without direct supervision.
Kahoot!: Kahoot!’s “make learning awesome” slogan might just say it all. The educational app features tons of great learning games that can be individually customized to fit educator goals.
Grammar Jammers: Designed for elementary-age learners, Grammar Jammers uses fun songs and animations to teach kids the fundamentals of language. Throw in a projection screen, and this app can be enjoyed by the whole classroom.
Resource Accessibility Apps
There are two kinds of resource accessibility apps that benefit teachers — the kind that enable easy access to classroom resources, and the kind that expand learning horizons beyond the boundaries of the materials that a single school or educational district can offer. The former helps to streamline classroom organization and workflow, and the latter helps to level out the learning gap in classrooms with limited material resources. Try:
Google Classroom: Google classroom provides everything from storage space for class materials to easy electronic grading. By consolidating everything in one place, it prevents missing assignment mishaps while keeping pesky papers to minimum.
Epic!: With Epic!, classroom literary resources aren’t limited to what the school library has to offer. Browse through an unlimited selection of children’s books to find the right educational titles for your classroom reading time.
Teach Learn Lead: Teach Learn Lead gives teachers the opportunity to connect with other educators across the world, sharing ideas, teaching methods, and resources within a platform that demonstrates social connectivity at its best.
Bonus Mention: Try ClassTree to gather consent forms quickly and easily through e-signing.
Special Needs Apps
For special needs students, educational apps can help to make assimilation easier, giving them the tools they need to succeed in a regular classroom. Parents might also find these apps to be beneficial at home, as special needs student sometimes learn more effectively through e-teaching (particularly those with autism spectrum disorders). Try:
Sōsh: Sōsh is especially helpful for students with Asperger’s, and is designed to help improve social skills and coping mechanisms. Through the app, users can set their priorities and goals, then set out to achieve those goals.
Tippy Talk: Tippy Talk enables nonverbal students to communicate via images. Rather than just using stock pictures, the app provides customization options so that kids can add their own pictures and words to their image vocabulary.
Write My Name: Write My Name is a simple letter tracing app that kids with fine motor delays can use to practice handwriting and spelling. With this easy-to-use resource, there’s no reason why every student can’t be involved in spelling practice.
In addition to the many educational benefits of app-based learning, the parental control options now available on smart devices mean that including electronic resources in classroom learning doesn’t come at the risk of introducing additional distractions. Not sure how to kid proof your devices? Check out these easy-to-follow instructions from Popular Science.