mLearning For Today's Classrooms
What is mLearning? mLearning is mobile learning that allows students to learn when they want, where they want, and at the pace they want. There are hundreds, if not thousands of apps that that make learning more accessible and engaging for a diverse array of learner needs. Teacher's can benefit from these apps as well and as a pre-service teacher, I know I'll be using a number of mLearning apps in my classroom. This tackkboard outlines some of these apps that can be used on android devices, although most can be used on many other operating systems.
Edmodo is a social learning platform where students and teachers can post their work, collaborate on projects, participate in polls, or discuss topics, just to name a few. As an app, it can be accessed on most mobile devices which provides a greater flexibility and accessibility to learning.
One of the features of Edmodo that I think will be a very useful tool once I become a teacher is the feature that let's you keep track of each student's progress. I haven't entered the classroom yet, but I image organizational skills to be of huge importance in being an effective teacher. If you're teaching multiple classes, Edmodo lets you easily keep track of all the different assignments and projects going on for each class. It also allows you to keep track of which lessons the class or individual students are struggling with. Overall, I can see using Edmodo has a daily part of teacher life.
English Grammar Book
English Grammar Book is a fantastic app for any junior high to high school student learning english, whether its for a class essay on Shakespeare or for an ESL student learning nouns. It provides explanations, definitions and examples on the different parts of grammar that student's can quickly refer to when working on their English homework, writing an exam, or proofreading someone else's work. It also provides grammar quizzes that would be great for student's studying for an english grammar exam.
As an ESL teacher, this app would be great for ESL students at the junior high to high school level. It's easy to get confused and get frustrated with the material when a student doesn't understand the grammatical term. For example, if an ESL student was assigned homework that had them highlight conjunctions in the newspaper but couldn't remember from class what a conjunction is, he or she could quickly find out using this app. ESL students don't always have someone at home who speaks proficient english so providing an app that can provide additional help is very useful.
The life of a high school student is busy, between part time jobs, extracurricular activities, friends and homework and it's easy to get overwhelmed when there is so much going on.For many students, if not most, organization can be a major challenge. Student's Timetable is an easy to use app that lets students keep track of assignments, organize their school calendar, and get reminders about upcoming events or exams. This app would be particularly useful for students if their school does not use Learning Management Systems such as Moodle but even if the school dos make use of LMSs, this is still a great app for organizing activities outside of school which student's have plenty of.
Socrative Teacher is a polling and quiz app that enhances classroom participation. It lets students respond to multiple choice questions, open ended questions, polls, quick quizzes and even games on their mobile devices during class as an alternative way to get classroom participation, assessment, and feedback.
Socrative Teacher would be particularly useful for engaging students who do not normally participate in class. Students may feel too shy to give their opinions or may not feel confident enough in answering questions. This app lets students respond without the anxiety attached to speaking up in class.
One of the most challenging aspects of learning another language is pronounciation, and this is probably one of the most difficult aspects to teach. Speak English allows users to improve their pronunciation skills anywhere and anytime. ESL students can record themselves saying phrases and then compare it when the phrases included on the app. A challenge with pronunciation is hearing the difference between what you say and what the "correct" pronunciation should be. This app is a great way for ESL students to do that.
Another benefit of this app is that students can practice pronunciation from the privacy of their own home. Students can be self-conscious practicing pronunciation in class, or the class may simply too loud for effective pronunciation practice to take place. This app lets you practice over and over again the parts of pronunciation you struggle with in a place where the student feels most comfortable.
studyPal Student is an app that allows students to complete objectives at a steady pace, learn new skills and accomplish goals. Students can break down assignments or goals into smaller manageable steps and the app will help students keep on track as they move through the activity. This app can be great for differentiated instruction by providing scaffolds which support's student learning. Some students can really benefit from extra structure when working on an activity so they don't become overwhelmed or frustrated from multiple steps. This way, students can focus on the learning and gain confidence as they work towards their goals.
Quizlet, as the name suggests, is a quiz app. Students can access flashcards, quizzes and games on a huge variety of subjects. This is great for preparing for an exam or just an alternative way of learning the material. Teacher's could also make this into a fun assignment. The quizzes are user generated so a teacher can assign students to make quizzes for each other on the the material. This would be a great way for students to practice what they know and make the material more engaging for a student-centered class.
Viewer for Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a free education website that provides tutorials and other learning materials on everything from organic chemistry to ancient rome. Viewer for Khan Academy is an app that makes these videos more accessible for mobile devices. If, for example, students are learning about ancient rome, they can go home and watch "A Tour through Ancient Rome" to expand their learning further. This a a great app, and website, for presenting the material in an alternative way, or a teacher can direct it at students who are particularly interested in a subject who want to take their learning further.