Apps teachers use to tame the classroom and teach their students
It's the start of a new school year, which means you've probably got a stack of new books on your desk, a drawer full of new pencils and an iPad that desperately needs some new apps. TUAW is here to help you build a new app list, and we did so with the help of some friends.
We consulted with students, teachers and some of the top tech and educational bloggers to generate this list. In this article, we highlight the teachers who lead the classroom. Here are the apps that they use:
Kelly Tenkely of Anastasis Academy in Centennial, CO.
What makes Anastasis unique is our approach to learning. We are an inquiry based school that believes students must be involved in their own learning. We have a 1:1 iPad program that is a BYOD (bring your own device), and the iPad is the only supply on our supply list.
I chose the iPad as our common learning device because it is so incredibly intuitive. Preschool through ninth grade can pick it up and immediately put it to use for a wide variety of learning activities without being taught how to use it first. We are paperless in that all student work gets digitized. Even building projects get captured digitally. We purchase the educational apps that the students need as a school. Below is a list of our favorite titles.
Meraki This is Cisco's free device management platform. We use it to manage devices (including restrictions) while students are on campus. Meraki lets us purchase apps through the Volume Purchase Program and push them to student devices as needed. There is also a virtual backpack that lets us share files and documents with teachers and students. Fantastic tool and free cannot be beat!
Evernote We use Evernote as a complete ePortfolio solution. All student work is documented in Evernote. Evernote is a great ePortfolio because parents can access it easily, it is easily searched, and students can record learning that is both natively digital as well as not. If students create a physical model or project in our prototype lab, they can easily take a picture directly in Evernote. We also love the sheer number of apps that integrate seamlessly in Evernote. If students complete a project in iMovie, Keynote, Pages, etc. that does not seamlessly integrate, students create a note with the title of the project and list where the project can be found on their device. This makes it easy to keep track of all learning. Teachers and students have shared notebooks to share work.
Camera This is an obvious app but one not to be overlooked! This is probably our most used app. Students are constantly documenting their learning with the camera. Whether it is field work on a field trip, a project that they are documenting steps of, or a presentation they are giving, our students have a HUGE collection of evidence collected with the camera.
iMotion HD This has become one of our students absolute FAVORITE ways to document learning or progress. Students use iMotion HD to reflect on learning, tell a story, document scientific process, and as a creative outlet. Kids of all ages really love this app! http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=4257
Koostik Because we use the camera so often, our students discovered that they need a way to prop their iPad up for recording. While many cases have this ability built in, they leave a lot to be desired. One of the great field trips we took was to the Koostik headquarters where our students saw how iPad and iPhone sound could be amplified without power. While we were there, our students commented on how cool it would be to have a Koostik that they could use for recording. Koostik created special stands for our students that are perfect for keeping the iPad propped and stable during recording (we used to use stacks of books!) (Technically, this isn't an app, but it's used with an app, so it's cool!)
Voice2Note Lets students turn their Evernote voice notes into text. This is a fantastic app for students who struggle to get their ideas out in writing (often a problem with Dysgraphia). Also wonderful for emerging writers who have a great vocabulary but struggle with spelling and limit their writing as a result.
Postach.io This is an app that works with Evernote to turn notes into blog posts. This is the way that students "publish" their finished work to share with others publicly. We use the #comments4kids hashtag on Twitter to help our students get feedback from other educators and students. Our kids love getting comments on their hard work from around the world.
Dragon Box This is the most amazing math app I've ever seen. It is the perfect complement to our program because it lets students (as young as 5) play with and discover algebra without knowing that they are actually doing it! It is a little bit of a virtual card game that helps students recognize patterns and rules found in Algebra. Brilliant! Number Pieces- This is another math app that helps students develop a deeper understanding of place value. We love the hands on discover approach that it offers!
SketchNation Lets students create their own app. They can use Sketch Nation to prototype ideas or creatively reflect on learning by creating a game.
Paper A beautiful way to sketch out/share ideas. Students use this app for ideation when they are working on design thinking.
Skitch Skitch is another ideation app we love...integrates seamlessly with Evernote!
Composer Pro students can create their own interactive ebooks without knowing a lot of coding.
Tapose Students can do research and take notes side by side in this app. Very useful for new learning!
FactorSamurai a fun way to practice math facts :)
Explain Everything a recordable whiteboard where students can record their thought process. This helps them break down learning and allows teachers to go back through their thinking one step at a time.
Rover Let's students access flash content from their iPads. We only wish it was a little more reliable!
Glen & Monique Storey, husband and wife teachers from New Zealand
Glen & Monique Storey are teachers in New Zealand. They're lucky enough that each child in their classroom has a MacBook and access to iPads. They're passionate about using apps that engage and motivate learners in the classroom. As developers they bring their experience as teachers and their love of technology to create great apps such as Silent Light and BookBot.
OS X Apps
Skitch (OS X) A free, easy way to annotate and modify pictures, pdfs and websites.
Wunderlist (OS X) A really easy and simple way to be organised. Great design and support.
Mindnode (OS X) A really simple and elegant way to create and manage thinking.
Pixelmator A great way to edit and create more complex pieces of art.
Explain Everything If I was only allowed to have one app on my classroom iPads, it would be Explain Everything. An absolutely fantastic way to create and share evidence of learning. We use this every day, with every student in our math program and it shows real evidence in developing student learning. (We have examples of kids' work if you need them).
Puppet Pals 2 A really fun and creative way to create narratives or share writing. Kids love Puppet Pals and can quickly and easily create great content.
Silent Light We have a large, open-plan classroom, and Silent Light is one of our essential tools at helping kids manage their own learning and noise level.
100s Board, Rubber Chicken Apps Although a simple app, 100s board is a fantastic tool to use with kids when teaching them about numbers, addition or place value.
Type Drawing A fantastic way to merge writing and art in a creative and unique way. (We have examples of kids' work if you need them).
Poplet The best brainstorming tool that we've ever come across. Simple and adaptable to whatever you might need. Brainstorms can be emailed, saved to camera roll etc.
Math Slide (a series of apps) Great motivational and multiplayer apps to help kids learn their basic facts.
Action Movie Action Movie is great at providing a bit of incentive when writing as a class, especially for boys.
Software Updatesmore updates
- Apple Remote Desktop updated with Yosemite support
- OS X Yosemite 10.10.2, iOS 8.1.3 updates now available
- Sports Illustrated 120 SPORTS channel comes to Apple TV
- Logic Pro X update brings AirDrop support, new effects, tools, and more
- Parallels Access 2.5 released, adds file manager, computer-to-computer remote access
- The Google Translate iOS app is about to get a lot smarter