Mobile Apps for k-12 Learning
The best apps suited for the k-12 classroom
In this tackk, I will discuss six apps that I think can be useful to implement in the classroom setting. These apps will range anywhere for the k-12 grade level. For this tackk, the apps will be primarily iOS. These apps can be used across a multitude of devices to faciliate access to the students.
Being a future French Immersion teacher, I am really interested in the use of Duolingo in the classroom. Duolingo is an app that makes it easy for any user, old or young, to learn a new language. Popular languages used for the app include Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. I would enjoy using this app with young students as learning a new language comes easiest when you are young. The app takes the user through simple lessons as you gain achievements. The content is appropriate for young ages and it is an activity that students continue at home and even do with their parents! Not only does this app cater to all Apple or Android devices, they have a mobile site which you can use on any computer. This eliminates the technology brand barrier that may present for other educational apps.
TED talks is primarily a site that provides educational, inspiring and motivational videos to any audience. TED talks are not only informational, but also very amusing to and captivating to watch. TED talks have made is so their videos are accessible through many different technology platforms. Not only do they have an app specific for iOS, they are available on their website, through Youtube, on Netflix and many others. I would use TED talks for a quick and entertaining source of information to show my students as well as for professional development and to boost classroom morale. TED talks even has a section dedicated specifically to education which they call TED Ed. You could use science TED talks for your older students, for example, or to show a funny video to the younger students as a brain break. The students won't even realize that they are learning!
The Grading Game
This app is one that is quite unique and ties in with every educators understanding of errors as tools in learning. The Grading Game is an app that puts the student as the teacher. It is an English curriculum app that gives students writing assignments to grade. They must search as quickly as possible for grammar mistakes and typos. This app would be great for any higher level learning as a tool for formative evaluation; making sure the student understood what was taught. It is also good for keeping your brain fresh. We may occasionally forget to put in an apostrophe or how to use a semicolon, so this app can be good for anyone to use to review simple grammar rules. Unfortunately, this app does cost $0.99, but could be worth the investment for schools.
Math Ninja, is an app quite obviously based around math at the elementary level. In this app, the character is a Math Ninja going through a game while solving simple math questions along the way allowing them to pass or buy items to continue. A teacher might like to use this app if the class is doing an activity but there are students who have kept them busy. Instead of idly turning their thumb, they can play the educational Math Ninja allowing them to use their spare time to learn and use math skills in a fun way without even realizing it. This app is $2.99, therefore the teacher might want to look into buying it for just one mobile device in the class room.
Notability is a fantastic app for any user! It is a note taking app that gives you not only the ability to simply type out the notes, but so many more as well. On Notability, you can record a lecture and type or hand write your notes on the screen and play them back later together by clicking on a word and having the app take you to that section of the recording. You can also import PDF, Word or Powerpoint documents into a "note" on Notability. You can highlight important parts or create your own little notes along the way. Students would find this especially useful if they are not able to take notes fast enough, and need to have that voice recording. As well as if they are unable to write, they can simply type along the way. I would personally use this particular app in a higher grade level, instead of younger. Teachers can also use this app for grading and keeping track of classes and their assignments by creating folders. I personally love this app in my university studies. This app is unfortunately a costly $3.00, but well worth the cost for students who would benefit from its use.
Luminosity is a free brain training tool, with use for any brain in mind. Students may use this app to build their memory, attention and problem solving skills, while adults may use it just to keep alert and maintain an active brain. The user is able to build their personal training program based on what they feel they need to work on. For example, in memory, a student might want to select "keeping track of multiple pieces of information in your head" to build up skills to prepare for tests. Or perhaps in the attention section, they might choose "ignoring distractions" to work on keeping focus during lessons. This app would be geared towards the secondary school level in which a teacher could have students use the app during free time or for a ten minute period a day.
Cursive Writing Wizard
Cursive Writing Wizard is an app that designed to help children develop their cursive writing skills. This app is fully customizable to meet every child's needs. The teacher can even track the progress of the students through a reporting system integrated into the app. They may even customize words into the program for students write. This app is directed at smaller grade levels where cursive is a big part of the curriculum. Being that it is so customizable, students will have fun with the app and teachers are able to implement any vocabulary words of their choosing. Therefore, they not only work their cursive skills, but practice their language skills as well. This app is unfortunate $3, however, may be worth the investment.