mLearning in an Elementary School Classroom
By Rebecca Barber
There are several mobile apps that can be used in K-12 classrooms. My Tackkboard is going to outline 5 mobile apps that would be acceptable for use in an elementary classroom, as that is my passion. For each app I will discuss what it is, how it can be used in the classroom/the pros of the app, who can download it (Apple or Android), and some of the cons to consider about the app. Before we get started reviewing apps used for mLearning, here is a video illustrating how it works.
Comic & Meme Creator
WHAT: It is used to build creative comics and memes. This app is rated 3.7/5 stars by users. Creations can easily be shared on different social media applications or saved into the devices camera roll.
HOW/PROS: This app is perfect for any subject. Students can create their own comic about an assigned topic. It is a fun an interactive way to get children thinking about what they are learning and turning it into a story.
WHO: This particular comic creating app is available on Android only.
CONS: Since this particular app is only available on Android some students may not be able to download it depending on their device. If they download a different iOS app that could create inconsistency.
WHAT: Woices is a free service that allows users to create tours of a specific geographical region. These tours can either be "Echos" which are audio recordings attached to a specific place in the world, or "Walks" that are "bound together by a common thread." (Woices.com/help#echo1). It is rated 3.5/5 stars on Google Play and there is no rating on iTunes.
HOW/PROS: Woices.com would be an excellent app to use when learning about geography and social studies. Students can learn about different parts of the world in an interactive way that will keep them interested.
WHO: This application is available on Android and iOS.
CONS: Woices is still limited in that it does not have echos for every location in the world. As well certain echos may not be in English, which would be useless in a classroom, as the students will not understand.
WHAT: Journal Jar is an application that lets students shake a jar that is full of different writing topics. Whatever topic they recieve after the jar is shaken is what they will be writing about.
HOW/PROS: In the classroom students could write a story or a journal entry on the topic that they are randomly given. It would be very helpful in getting them to write on a topic that has been freshly given to them, and helps them practice organizing their thoughts. Students can each write on a different topic creating variety in the writing.
WHO: This app can be used on Androids or Apple mobile devices, but it is not downloadable straight to the app. You must go to the website on your web browser and access it from there and adding it to your homescreen; therefore there are no ratings for this app on iTunes or Google Play.
CONS: Since this is an application, it will have a limited number of choices for topics and there could be repeats if it is used often.
WHAT: A real time polling website that allows you to ask questions in class, and students can reply using their mobile device.
HOW/PROS: Poll Everywhere is an easy way to get the opinions of students, or to get answers from students who may not want to raise their hands and contribute to the conversation. It is free and you can create an unlimited number of polls.
WHO: Anyone with a mobile device can use Poll Everywhere.
CONS: It could take away from in class interactions.
WHAT: Geoboard is a math app that allows students to explore different topics in math such as fractions, shapes, and angles. There is no stars rating on iTunes for this app.
HOW/PROS: This app allows students with the peg board and elastic band design to explore different topics and shapes in math. It is an innovative way to make math fun and more like a game rather than problem solving for children who don't like, or struggle with math.
WHO: Geoboard is available on iTunes only.
CONS: If the mobile device being used does not have iTunes then Geoboard cannot be accessed.
There are positives and negatives to every app that can be used in mobile learning. That is why activities like this are important. It is important to do research and decide which apps will work best in your classroom and with the resources you are provided with.