Ash D'Souza 2015

Times are changing, and so are the technologies used within the classroom. Educators must take notice of the resources available to them, but also be weary of whether they can promote or hinder learning. These new tools can create distractions and cause students to lose focus from curriculum.

So teachers should incorporate these distractions into their teaching practices; because if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Here you'll find five mLearning tools that can influence education for the better (in no particular order), and how they can be used in relation to my major/minor (social studies/English).

Best thing is, all of these apps are free to use (although most do have in-app purchases that are necessary to use).

# 5: TOP HAT

Top Hat is a platform which engages students through questions and discussions that can be accessible through any technological device (laptops, tablets, or mobile devices).

Although the professor requires a membership (pricing and all that jazz), it becomes a unique way to increase class participation is a wireless way, that is compatible throughout all platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, Apple, Linux) as long as the students have the (free) app downloaded on their device.

This can be incorporated within a high school social studies class through having a "seamless lecture;" that where the educator can present material, lectures, and notes in a paperless manner; getting real-time feedback from students (through text message or sms).


While students should still read the assigned readings, Sparknotes is a quick resource that provides information on popular high school books and poems. The (free) app can be downloaded on a handheld device and viewed online through a laptop or tablet.

Teachers can use these in order to demonstrate major themes and motifs within the classroom, either offline or online. It can guide learning, rather than substatuiting it, as it reveals major ideas and plot points, but does not delve into

This app can be incorporated easily within a English class, as students can create study groups right from their mobile device, updating as they study or move throughout a reading.


Nowadays, Google has so many functions that it is difficult to keep track of anything other than its basic ability to "search." But Google Earth allows for educators to jump out of the classroom and into higher learning possibilities. In possession of multiple functions; Google Earth allows for a individual to explore geographical locations, whether they be part of the land, sea, moon, and space.

An educator can explore Google Earth through the a physical computer, the web (Google has a plug-in that allows easy access), or through a mobile device (for on the go education; available for iOS or Android).

This would be perfect within a social class, as Google Earth allows the user to not only view current geographical boarders, but also take a look through time. The "Historical Imagery" function allows for users to compare the landscape of the past and present day.


Another useful app from our Google Overlords is Google Play Books. It is an mobile e-reader, that store electronic texts and textbooks. It provides multiple books for free (the majority of them classics [The Essays of John Locke, Wuthering Heights, and a large collection of Shakespeare]). Books can be downloaded from third party sources and added to the app. Students can even publish their own book through Google Publish.

Useful between any K-12 classroom because it decreases the amount of textbooks that students have to carry. Now teachers do not have to deal with the excuse that a student "forgot" a textbook at home, as the books are all contained on one simple handheld device (or laptop/tablet/etc.). It not only possess the benefit of less paper books (which are often fragile and easily vandalized), but it also saves on cost, as e-textbooks are often less expensive than the real thing.

Especially useful within a English class, as students can keep novels and workbooks all on their phone. They can also highlight and customizable notes right into the page, having it all organized within in certain tabs. There is also a "Read Aloud" function, which allows those who do not learn traditionally, to listen to the assigned readings.


Study Blue is an electronic flash card generator that can be personalized for for the student, educator, or classroom. It is based in a collaborative environment, where students can create and share notes, while keeping track of their learning progress.

Students can design their own learning path through the mobile app, adding text, citations, and recorded sounds in order to learn an idea. The electronic flashcards can be taken anywhere, on iOS or Android devices, so that an individual can study wherever they go.

Study Blue can be used within a social studies classroom, as educators can make their own study sets and share them with their class. The class can also self-access themselves on their learning progress.

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