Adding Apps & Finding the Right Apps
As a teacher it can be a daunting task to figure out how to adjust and add new things to the classroom especially with the growing list of expectations; however, Apps and Extensions can be a great aid in achieving this in a seamless manner.
The most beneficial part of utilizing Apps is they can be used in a variety of ways.
- You can use them in presenting material, for example as a math teacher I frequently will use Desmos Graphing to create demonstrations and represent the mathematics using the visual approach.
- Students can use them to collaborate, for example Realtime Board allows for students to see a white board on the screen and each person working on the task can see the changes being made on their screen. This app is very similar to Google Draw; however if far easier to use.
- For reference one of my favorite Apps is CK-12 as it allows students to look for additional explanation and help on various topics. This site provides students with video help and written help in addition to addition practice and quizzes to test their knowledge. Khan Academy is also a popular app that provides similar information.
- Some of my favorite productivity Apps are Google Drive (very easy for sharing work and accessing work anywhere), Google Calendar (keeps you organized with many meetings and family activities), and Quick Note (great for keeping your meeting notes organized and accessible from anywhere with internet connection).
- Presentations are a key in preparing our students for the future; however, typically students will use methods you have suggested or will make a PowerPoint or poster board. As a teacher you can encourage your students to take new routes in presenting by demonstrating some of the great tools available for free. Through the use of Apps students can now create video presentations, electronic poster boards, and much more. There are endless possibilities once you have achieved the "buy in" from students.
- Lastly I love using brain games and other tools when there are five minutes left or when students finish their homework early. Some of my favorite games are Magic Squares and Set. I also love using flashcards as a quick way to test their knowledge of past material and if they get the answer wrong they take a seat or in a large group setting by submitting their answers via their electronic devices.
Here a video showing some of my favorite apps as well as how to access and add new apps to your account.
Now many of you may still feel like this is an impossible feat. You may be concerned with student "buy in" and parent complaints. For student "buy in" it is essential for them to see you utilizing the apps and extensions with in the classroom. They will be more apt to want to use them at home if they see how useful and time saving they can be. For parents it is important to focus on the fact that they are free as long as they have internet and that their child can get access to the internet at the local public library or through the school's media resources.
It is important for us as educators to not only use them to improve our effectiveness and efficiency but also to help our students learn to use and integrate these into their work. Technology is not going away and is only changing more quickly so it is important to stay up to date on the current technology trends and embrace how effective they can be.