Teach with Your iPhone: Apps to Use in the Classroom | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

You don't need a class set of netbooks or iPads to integrate technology into your daily instruction. There are some fantastic, free iPhone apps that are perfect for teachers who are looking to change up their daily routine. These apps can make everyday tasks easier, simplify what you're already doing, and maybe just inspire others to make an investment in technology at your school.

Common Core

MasteryConnect has designed a wonderful app to keep the Common Core State Standards at your fingertips. Navigate the app by choosing your students' grade and subject area to access detailed information about each standard. There are even extra resources to support educators working with English-Language Learners and students with special needs. The clean and simple interface will have you abandoning gritty photocopies and referring to the app every time you're planning a lesson or unit of study.

Pick a Student

It's important that all students are held accountable during class discussions and everyone has a chance to speak his or her mind. Replace that old coffee-can-with-popsicle-sticks method and choose which student to call on using the Pick a Student app. Type in the names of the students in your class -- use multiple class lists if you work with many groups of students -- and the app does the rest. Press a button on the screen each time you want to randomly call on a student, and a name will pop up. I love placing my phone under the ELMO document camera in my classroom so everyone can see who I'll be calling on next.

Timer, Sand Timer and Traffic Light

Whether you're preparing your students for state exams or feel that they need to practice their pacing and stamina, use the timer on your iPhone to keep them on task. Two alternatives to the timer included on your iPhone's clock app are Sand Timer and Traffic Light. Both offer timers that are a little less threatening if you think a countdown clock might be too much for your students. The Sand Timer app is just like it sounds -- decide on a time, and the sand will run out of the hourglass when time is up. Traffic Light gives users the option to decide on how long a traffic light will be green and yellow before it turns red and your activity has stopped.


If you're organizing a classroom library or helping a student find a "just right" book, the BookLeveler app will definitely come in handy. Scan the barcode of the book to find the level of the text, or type in the name and author to search. This is a great tool to have in your pocket!

Groovy Grader

Make on-the-go grading quick and easy with your iPhone. The Groovy Grader app helps users figure out the percentage of questions a student answered correctly by simply inputting the total number of questions on an exam. Turn 17/20 into 85% or round 20/23 to 87% with a quick glance at your iPhone screen.


If you manage a classroom or school blog, the Wordpress iPhone app is a must-have. As quick and easy as sending a text or email, you can update homework assignments, upload a picture from a field trip, or reply to comments left by parents and students. It's great for teachers managing more than one Wordpress blog or with limited access to a computer during the schoolday.

DocScan HD

Like most teachers, I'm constantly trying to keep track of paperwork. DocScan HD makes it easy to stay organized. Snap a picture of a meeting agenda, handouts from a professional development, or student work you want to refer to later. DocScan HD turns your pictures into PDF and JPG files. With an upgrade, you can share these files to your Dropbox to make accessing them even easier.

MyScript Calculator

You may have already downloaded a calculator on your iPhone, but MyScript Calculator is in a category of its own! If you want to check the work of a student who you're meeting with in a small group, pull out your iPhone to write the operations on your screen. This app will "magically" turn your writing into numbers and solve the problem in a flash. Not only will it wow your audience, but it's a practical tool to have at your fingertips.

These apps also work great on an iPod Touch or iPad. What are some of your favorite iPhone apps to use in your classroom?

Comments (27)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Margarita Finkel's picture
Margarita Finkel
Social media for e-learning & technology

Every application that you and your family should know about, have a look here: http://quib.ly/tags/apps. Some interesting discussions there from teachers and parents perspective too.

merylvdm's picture
Teacher at homeschool co-op, Science Olympiad and Quiz team coach

Pick a Student will work perfectly in my Speech class. After a student delivers a speech, I randomly select someone to critique it. I usually write the names on a piece of paper, and put them in a bag which I draw from. But this is a far more elegant solution. And I am less likely to lose my phone than the bag of names!

Ms. A.'s picture

Thanks for this enlightening post. I just started using my iPhone in the classroom mostly the clock timer and stopwatch. I use it most for personal professional productivity. I use the reminders app extensively to record information about students so that I can later revisit it and provide more individualized assistance.

M. A. Hauck, M.Ed's picture
M. A. Hauck, M.Ed
Life Skills Support Teacher

By the way, I hope you feel good about exposing your students to more harmful electromagnetic fields, all for the sake of being trendy.

Mark Russell's picture
Mark Russell
Mathematics Teacher

It would be nice to hear about Android resources for teachers. Ethical people don't use Apple products.

Dana's picture

And many of us can't afford them; despite working two jobs

L. Horton's picture
L. Horton
Pre-K -5th grade Special Educator

Thanks for the resources they will come in handy this school year.

Vanessa Liburd's picture
Vanessa Liburd
High school French teacher from Hollywood Florida

Monica, thanks for your post. I have both an Iphone and an Ipad. I did not realize that there were s many apps that could be used in the classroom. I will definitely be looking into using these apps starting in the fall especially the pick a student app. I usually get small strips of paper and write the students' names and put them in bag or cup to pick from. Now it's going to be even more suspense for the students. I'm loving this...

Shah Alam's picture
Shah Alam
Science tecaher from Dhaka

Technology is improving day by day and I use my tablet in the class and many students also use the various type of device in the class room
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