5 Mobile Learning Apps in the K-12 Classroom

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1. Shadow Puppet EDU

Overview: This app is a video/presentation creator designed to be used in the classroom by both students and teachers. Shadow Puppet EDU allows individuals to combine various web and/or personal images, as well as video clips to create presentations which can be easily shared and uploaded. App features like audio recording, music, text and drawing tools are also available for users to help them enhance their videos.

Classroom Use: Teachers can use this app to create short lesson presentations that students can watch on their own. This example shows how a teacher uses the app to create mini science lesson videos as a part of her blended class component. As for students, the app provides them with opportunities to complete numerous projects and activities. For example, students could go on a nature walk and take pictures of the different flowers, plants and insects they come across. Using the app they could then create a slideshow of the photos with text overlay to identify the images and audio narration to provide further description of the artifacts.

2. ClassDojo

Overview: ClassDojo is a classroom management app for teachers that keeps both parents and the students themselves informed. Teachers create their own accounts to set up a virtual classroom and a customized list of positive and negative behaviours. Teachers can then award or subtract points for students in their class based on their actions in regards to the list of behaviours and display results for students and parents to view. The app also allows students to reflect on their progress and teachers, to send parents messages on their child's learning.

Classroom Use: Throughout the day, teachers can easily keep track, and add/subtract student points by using their own mobile devices. The app could also be used as a type of exit slip, where students are able to view their results at the end of the day, and then provide a brief reflection on how they could improve and/or continue their behaviours.

3. Talkboard

Overview: Talkboard is a canvas space that multiple users can view and edit as they collaborate and share ideas. The app enables them to insert images, audio call the other individuals that are a part of the canvas and use the drawing tools to sketch, draw diagrams, write notes or label/explain inserted pictures. Projects and creations can be then shared through email and other social networks.

Classroom Use: Students can use this app in the classroom to work on projects and assignments where they get to collaborate and be creative. For example, if a class was learning about structures, the teacher could have students in groups use the app to sketch a design of a bridge and then use that image to create a bridge model. Additionally, the Talkboard website mentions an example where students use the app to work on math equations and problems together.

4. SeeSaw: The Learning Journal

Overview: This app lets students create their own digital portfolios for teachers and parents to view. Students can take and submit pictures or videos, drawings, notes or content from other apps to add to their journal. They can further explain their work by adding text descriptions, audio recordings and drawings to their artifacts. Overall, SeeSaw also helps teachers keep students' work organized and parents updated.

Classroom Use: With this app there are countless possibilities for students to reflect and represent what they know in various formats. For example, teachers could have students take a picture of their art project with an audio recording explaining their work, take a video of them performing a science experiment along with a text description of the things that worked well or that they could do differently next time, draw a diagram/mind-map of the branches of government, or save to the camera role and upload an image of the human body which they label using the drawing tools.

5. Monster Heart Medic

Overview: Monster Heart Medic is a fun and educational game designed for kids ages 9-11 that teaches players about the cardiovascular system and making healthy choices. The game revolves around a monster named Ragnar who players help diagnose through simulations of the cardiovascular system, arcade games, health achievements, monster stories and interactive medical instruments. The game ultimately helps teach players about what a healthy vs. an unhealthy cardiovascular system looks like and how lifestyle choices can affect this, including exercise and food choices.

Classroom Use: Teachers could incorporate this app as a part of their health lessons and have students use headphones to individually play this game in the classroom for some quiet, personal time that allows students to unwind for a bit while still learning. Afterwards, teachers could open up a discussion with the class about the content students learned throughout the game, or have them write a paragraph reflection on what choices they have or will make to stay healthy.

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