Mobile Apps for the Classroom

Using cellphones and iPads to support Learning.

APPS  For ENgliSh

It can sometimes be tough to get students to write. Not everyone enjoys writing, and knowing where to start is sometimes the hardest part. Journal Jar creates writing prompts to inspire students. They can take the topic and write a short story, draw a picture, or simply write a reflection on that topic. I would use this app in Junior High English Language Arts to have the students write something everyday. Daily writing would help me to correct their grammar, as well as allow me to get them to try different styles.  

Journal Jar

Story Kit allows students to create books on their iPad, including adding video, audio, and images. For those students who need a gradual introduction to writing, this would be a great way to allow them to express themselves without forcing them to use just one medium. This would be great for ELL students and would allow them to complete the same assignment as their peers by just using more visuals, or by translating what they have written. Since it is all online, alterations to text and format would be simple.

I would use this app in both Junior and Senior High. I would have them, for example, re-write Romeo and Juliet for modern times, complete with illustrations. I could also have them use the app to create their own original peices or to write a book report.

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SociAL STUDIES

Working with current events is an important part of the Social Studies Curriculum. Students need to be able to analyze news and media, but they should also be encouraged to take part in it. Audioboo allows students to create their own podcasts and is a great resource to start a school news podcast. I would use this app to have students create podcast news reports or to turn essays into speeches without having to dedicate two days of class time for the presentations. The speeches could be peer assessed online and free up class time for more interactive activities.  

Another important aspect of Social Studies is globalization.

Students can use Social Media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to connect with people from around the world and get to know more information about real people from other countries and cultures.

Here are some Apps that help with geography:

Students have the knowledge of National Geographic at their fingertips. I would get them to use this app to make a report or class presentation on a foreign country.

Students can take quizzes on world geography. When you are dealing with world events the location of different countries is important in order for you to understand why wars and alliances are created. It is important that my students know the difference between Palestine and Pakistan. This quiz app would give them a chance to beef up on world geography without me having to kill trees upon trees to create pen and paper tests. It is also useful because they can practice on their own time.

ENGLISH   LANGUAGE   LEARNERS

Sometimes our ELL students need a bit more help with grammar and vocabulary building. These apps are dedicated to this:

This app is developed by Cambridge university and uses images to teach ELLs phrasal verbs, which are often quite difficult to memorize, but are often used in English. I would use this as a supplementary activity instead of grammar worksheets.

Speaking as someone who has lived in a foreign country where I did not speak the language, those first few weeks of school are brutal, and sometimes you just aren't ready to speak, or you simply don't have the vocabulary to start. This app allows students to tap a picture and have the app speak for them. This way they can still communicate their needs and get settled into the classroom but don't have to rely on charades or their limited vocabulary. Also, because the app speaks at the tap of a button they can hear the way the sentence should sound and mimic it if they choose. Giving students this option will help to ensure that when they do speak up, they can have a positive experience.

Whether or not my students would actually be studying to write the citizenship test for themselves this app would help fill in some of the general Canadian content that many of their peers would have already been exposed to, and contain information that the Canadian government deems important for its citizens to have.

Really, I would use this for all students in my Social Studies class as well. We should all know our Canadian history, and this app would be a great study resource, a repository of ideas to jumpstart an essay on a famous Canadian, or a way for myself as the teacher to include more canadian authors and inventors/inventions in my L.A. and science classes.

ScienCE   BIO  and CHEM

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This app lets your students play detective in a game setting while learning about microbiology, pathogens, and disease. In the game they are an outbreak detective that must slow the spread of the disease and find a cure. I would use this in a science class as a way to introduce or conclude the unit on cellular biology.

Bio aside, the app is also great because it builds students skills of logic and analysis and can help clarify the scientific process to them.

This app is a direct link to current missions, videos and images taken in space, as well as information about the universe as we understand it so far. I would use this app to give my students current data to work with when writing a science report, to track shuttles ( I could even throw in some physics here for my Science 10 class) and to explore an authentic career field in science by giving students the tools to connect with real professionals.

This app lets students identify plants based on images. I would use this app in conjunction with a field trip. I would have my students go on a nature walk with a Fish and Wildlife officer or Forest Ranger, or botanist, we would collect plant samples and learn about this career field, we would then return to the classroom and the students would (in groups) create a collage or presentation about what they had learned, as well as what plants they had collected. Super fun, and authentic

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