K-12 mLearning Options

Apps to use in a (secondary) English Classroom


Shakespeare is a free app that allows students to view 41 plays and 154 sonnets on their mobile device. It also comes with a glossary of common Shakespearean terms and phrases. As well, students can read the break-down of a scene or character. Students can use this as a study or reading tool during more self-directed learning. I would like to use the app to do a quicker study of some sonnets to introduce the students to Shakespeare; they could read different sonnets in groups, practice deciphering their meanings and discuss as a class to explore Shakespeare's style and content.


Grammar Up

This provides over 1,800 grammar questions in a quiz delivery system. There are different categories so you can tailor its use to what you are studying. The app simulates the testing environment and gives immediate feedback. I would turn the use of this app into a contest. When a test, assignment or reading is done, the students can turn to this app for something productive to do. Students may be rewarded for greatest improvement, most tests completed, highest score and so on.


Writing Prompts

This app has a database of 600 writing prompts to get students writing and thinking. The prompt may be a quote, a story that has already started; there is variety! I would use something like this for a "daily (or weekly) write" exercise where the students are given a set period of time (15 minutes for example) to write on a prompt. This constant practice will improve their writing skills and encourage their creativity.


Dragon Dictation

Dragon Dictation allows you to speak into an ipad and it will take your dictation. This is a fabulous app for getting started on writing a paper. Sometimes just talking things out helps you to figure out what you want to do. This app writes those thoughts down for you, so you don't have to multitask as much. Later, you can reflect on and edit this work. This would also be a great app to use for students with motor difficulties or other special needs. I would like to use it as a strategy for essay writing; perhaps for every essay, a new strategy (or app!) can be used, and through this exploration, students can find what helps their process best.



Dictionary.com provides quick reference for word meanings and synonyms. When a student doesn't know the meaning of something, and you say "go look it up!", they are unlikely to if they have to go search through a huge book. But if they can just type it into their mobile device, they will. You can also have a bit of a speed battle between the students and have the winner tell the class what they found (this worked great during my IPT). This would also be great for a "word wizard" role or the like during literature circles.


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