Mobile Apps for Social Studies

for iPhone

Junior and Senior high school

# 1 - Toodledo

  • This app lets people keep track of deadlines and tasks. It allows people to prioritize their tasks by importance, organize tasks into categories, attach notes to different tasks, set reminders, and so forth
  • In junior high, when students are learning to keep track of assignments for many different classes, they could use guidance on planning and time management. However, they would find paper agendas too old-fashioned. So, at the beginning of each class, all students would bring out their phones, and we would review all upcoming deadlines, allowing students to make sure their Toodledo is up-to-date.

# 2 - CIA World Factbook

  • This app allows you to quickly look up any country, and find out a wide variety of statistics and facts, from natural resources to infant mortality rate.
  • I would love to use this app for a "debunking stereotypes" type activity. Students tend to make presumptions about what life is like in different countries. I would have them answer questions like: "which has a higher child mortality rate, Turkey or Botswana?" They would make guesses, and then check their answers. Students would then write reflections on why they guessed the way they did, and how reality differed from their predictions.

#3 HISTORY: Maps of the World

  • This free app has over a hundred historical maps, with a focus on World Maps from different eras and on different themes (such as colonization, language, etc), World War 2 maps, and old maps of Europe.
  • In grade 8 Social Studies, during the study of colonization, students would examine the map entitled "Wytfliet's Map of the World 1598". In groups, they would discuss the following questions: How does this map differ from the map of the world we use today? What does this map suggest about what Europeans felt and knew about non-Europeans?

#4 Merriam-Webster Dictionary

  • This is a searchable, iPhone version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary. In addition to definitions, it also gives examples and synonyms.
  • During a junior high reading activities, all students would have their phones out with the dictionary app open. Instead of asking me for what words mean, students would have to look the words up on the phone. At the end of the reading activity, before getting into substantive discussion, students would volunteer to explain the new words they had looked up.

#5 Voice Memos

  • Voice Memos, an app that comes with the iPhone, allows students to record themselves talking. The quality of the recording is quite high.
  • In a high school Spanish class, students would be assessed for their conversational abilities. After a unit, pairs of students would write a conversation that uses some of the key vocabulary they had just learned. After practicing, they would record the conversation on Voice Memos and then email the recording to me. This would be a way for shyer students to have their conversational abilities assessed in a less-intimidating way.

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