Mobile Apps in the Classroom
What they Are, What the Do, and How they Help
Quizlet is a web based program centred around the concept of creating and sharing “study guides” as well as modifying the information to incorporate several different learning styles and any number of topics. Additionally, this program can be downloaded on any mobile device in its app version so that the information is accessible from any location at any time. Within the classroom, I have personally seen and used it within a language studies class (Spanish), where the teacher created study guides consisting of the vocabulary words (both in Spanish and in English) that the class was expected to learn so that the students had a concrete, accessible, and practical format to study in and keep track of their progress as learners.
Journal Jar is a writing prompt app that, with the shake of a jar, produces different writing prompts that vary from analyzing what the words said by friends and family mean, to what types of inanimate objects the writer would like to see come to life. This tool could be beneficial in an elementary or junior high English class, especially in preparation for provincial exams. Specifically, it could be used at the beginning of class as a ten-minute prompted writing to get the students ready to write about a general or vague topic within a limited time frame.
Story Kit offers its users the ability to read, modify, or create their own stories all within the convenient and mobile app. This tool would be most effectively used within a primary or elementary English class, as it works with classic fairy tales and stories that the children recognize and understand and allows for the modification of these stories (such as a change in the narrator) to enable the students to become familiar with the concept of perspective and the role that it plays in narrative stories.
Dragon Box is an algebra centred app that helps to teach kids the basic principles of algebra through interactive puzzles and games. While this app does encourage individual learning, perhaps even outside of the formal learning environment, I believe that it would still be beneficial to be used as an introduction to algebra, particularly in the younger primary/elementary years when it is still viewed solely as a game and can begin teaching the basic principles of algebra in a engaging and age-appropriate manner.
Khan Academy offers a wide variety of lessons, practice questions, and instructional videos that aid in the development of math, science, and humanities/art skills for its users. While this may be viewed as an external learning device, I believe that it is useful in the classroom (at any of the provided grade levels) because of its ability to provide an alternate explanation of subjects, a source for additional practice problems, as well as a last resort resource for those concepts that just didn’t “stick” in class.