Looking to try something new in your classroom this year? Consider trying these 7 apps. 🙂 They will help you grade student work, keep in contact with parents, establish class discipline/routines, help students be organized, track student progress with ePortfolios, and create tutorial videos. And five of them are still FREE – wow!
Still FREE and getting better with every upgrade – Socrative, an app that turns any device with a web browser into a student response clicker. I have been a fan of Socrative since I first discovered it two years ago. It’s one of those apps that I wish had been around when I was still in the classroom. Last July, Socrative added two additional quiz features. # 1 – Teachers can now add images to their questions. #2 – The system can now grade short answer questions. Teachers just input the acceptable answers and the system does the rest. 🙂
The Socrative website and app are unbelievably cool – they turn any device with a web browser (iPhone, iPad, laptops) into a student response clicker. If a teacher has access to any kind of wireless lab, he/she can engage the entire class in a game or quiz and watch the results in real-time. Teachers begin by using their teacher app or logging into t.socrative.com with their email and password. Once logged in, teachers are assigned a room number to share with their students. Students log in using their student app or at m.socrative.com and enter the “virtual room number” provided by the teacher. Teachers initiate an activity and students respond on their devices. Multiple choice and short answer quizzes are easy to create – types of questions can be mixed. Teachers can also choose to run the quiz as a Space Race game. The students’ responses are visible to the teacher in real-time. Teachers can see what each child answered individually as well as what the group answered collectively. And the best part is… the app grades, graphs the results, and generates a report as an Excel spreadsheet or an email.
What a powerful tool for teachers – a short quiz at the end of a lesson can pinpoint what students understand and what needs to be reviewed. Hours of grading and analyzing test results are done immediately. Every student is involved – wow!
Link to new user guide: http://www.socrative.com/materials/SocrativeUserGuide.pdf
2. Remind 101
Remind 101 a FREE iPhone/iPad app that provides a safe way for teacher to text or email parents/students. To start, a teacher goes to the Remind 101 website to add his/her class list. A unique code is generated and the teacher shares that code with parents/students. The parent or student then sends a text message with the code to subscribe to the teacher’s class. From that point on, the parent/student will receive any message that the teacher sends from Remind 101. Teachers can text or email their entire class in minutes – homework assignments, field trip reminders, etc. All phone numbers remain private – students never see the teacher’s phone # and the teachers never see the students’ numbers. This app has been written about by NBC, NPR, Huffington Post, Edutopia, and Edweek. Wow – what a great tool for improving communications but maintaining your privacy!
3. Class Dojo
ClassDojo is a FREE & fabulous tool that helps improve classroom behaviors. Rewarding good behavior in real-time is easy – all it takes is a click. To use ClassDojo, you only need one device (computer, smart phone, a laptop, or a tablet) and an internet connection. It is very easy to set up. Each student on your class list is assigned a cute, monster-like avatar. Kids earn points for positive behaviors and lose points for negative behaviors. ClassDojo is also fully customizable so you can delete behaviors from the original list and/or add your own behaviors. As you use it, it automatically logs any data that you input. This data can be used to generate behavior reports to share with parents and administrators. How awesome is that? You can go into a meeting/conference with reports in hand! And now, parents can check online to see what kind of day their child is having.
If I were still in the classroom, I would enter my class list twice – once for data on work/study habits and the other for data on behaviors. I would make my habits/behaviors match exactly what was on my report cards. Then as I used the app, I would also be gathering data for my report cards. At the end of the grading period, I would just print out the date and enter it on the report cards – how easy! I would also have the data (in a printed report) to be able to back up any grade on the card. “As you can see Mrs. Doe, Jane only turned in her homework 56% of the time.” Instant data would also be available for the RTI process, IEPs or any other team meeting on a child. What a powerful tool for teachers! An educational app that has the ability to positively impact the learning environment – LOVE it!!
Check out the website for more information: www.classdojo.com
Currently $.99 – Homework+, a simple to use homework/test planner. This educational app is geared towards older students who are taking multiple classes. It could also be used with younger kids as an electronic assignment book. It’s never too early to teach kids how to be organized. 🙂
To set up the app, first edit the subject list & category lists to reflect what you are studying. After that, it is very easy to add assignments to the calendar – just give the assignment a title, choose the subject & category, put in the due date, choose a level of priority, and save. As you finish an assignment, mark it as complete and the app moves it to the finished list. App badges show you how many assignments you have and how many you have finished. Notifications can be set (1 or 2 days before) to remind you of an upcoming assignment. The app also keeps track of overdue assignments. Very slick and intuitive – great for teaching kids to be organized!!
5. Too Noisy
Too Noisy Lite is a FREE noise meter for iPhone/iPad. It measures the level of noise in a room and graphically displays whether it is at an acceptable level or not. If the level is acceptable, a smiling face is displayed. If the noise level increases beyond a level of acceptability, the graphic changes to indicate that the noise level is NOT acceptable. In the settings, a teacher/adult can adjust the sensitivity of the meter to go with the activity. A testing situation could be set at a 99% sensitivity level and group work could be set at a much lower sensitivity level. The meter worked when I tried it but, I was not in a large room with a group of kids. I would think that the FREE version is worth a try to see if it works for your situation. There is also a PRO version available for $.99. By using an Apple Digital AV adapter or a VGA adapter, Too Noisy can be projected on a TV or monitor so kids can learn what noise level is acceptable – cool idea! Another great FREE educational app!
6. Easy Portfolio
Currently $1.99 – Easy Portfolio – ePortfolio Tool for Students & Teachers. Download this educational app today to start getting organized for the upcoming school year. Easy Portfolio makes it simple for teachers to create ePortfolios for individuals, groups, or subjects. Individual student portfolios can be used to track student progress, highlight student achievement, monitor classroom behavior/work habits, and more. Subject portfolios can be used to organize teacher resources – videos, websites, images, etc. Imagine having everything you need to teach a unit or to make a presentation in one portfolio. The possibilities for using Easy Portfolio are endless.
Easy Portfolio is very simple to use. Just name your portfolios to begin. Then it’s easy to add videos, images, audio recordings or music, notes, URLs and digital documents. Added files are stored by type and can be sorted by date or ABC order. Files can also be shared via email or Dropbox. How wonderful it would be to have a digital portfolio for every student in your class. It would make getting ready for parent-teacher conferences or a IEP meeting a breeze! Capture and share your students’ learning this year with Easy Portfolio. 🙂
Educreations is great FREE app that turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard. You can create tutorial videos for a variety of purposes: teach a lesson, create example math problems, explain a diagram, add commentary to your photos, etc. This educational app records & replays your voice, handwriting and/or drawings. Educreations is simple to use and permits you to build lessons with multiple pages. The editing tools allow you to: add text to any page, add photos, resize and move images, easily erase drawing mistakes, create “animated playback” by dragging objects as you record, and more.
But the best thing about this app is the ability to share your work. Free accounts are available at http://www.educreations.com where you can share your work as well as look at lessons created by others. Students can be given online access to the lessons that you have created there. Or, you can embed your lessons on your class blog/website. Students can watch a lesson before class or review a lesson after class. Absent students can watch from home. You can post information to help students with their homework. You can tutor someone online. Parents can log in to find out what is going on in class so they can help their children. What a powerful tool!! This app is being used at all levels of education including the college level. The features of Educreations make it a standout among the recordable whiteboard apps!