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

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.

BookLeveler

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.

WordPress

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

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LMasterEdD's picture

Although there is nothing wrong with these apps, I don't see any of them changing up the way teachers teach. In fact, they seem to just be a high-tech way to do a low-tech task that is already being accomplished. If you're looking to inspire an administrator to purchase technology for a classroom, this won't do it. If I am going to spend a few hundred dollars on an iPod or iPad for a teacher, and then see them using it to draw names or figure out percentages, I'd be disappointed and second guess my purchasing decision.
I'd love to see more collaboration apps, like Evernote or VoiceThread, which can transform the way in which students learn, or some digital storytelling apps, like StoryRobe. WordPress, which you mentioned, can be used to allow students to publish their writing, and not just post homework assignments. These are the types of engaging experiences I am hoping teachers provide students through the use of technology.

Kori G's picture
Kori G
New Teacher

I found this blog very helpful. I have used Groovy Grader in the past and found it very helpful. I use my iPhone all day long. I have download apps for ideas to help with common core, defining words, Brain Pop, funny sounds to use while playing games with my students, and countless others. I even tested a program once in college, where students logged into a site and voted with their phones, and then the info was posted for the teacher to see on her phone and on line. In this ever changing world and where even my four year old can use an iPhone better than I can, I think it's important that we embrace these changes in the classroom. Thank you for the ideas in your article.

Joe O'Loughlin's picture

Some really good ideas here. Evernote is excellent, as is Edmodo. I just used Stitch in a 5th grade classroom, and what an awesome experience. A creative story telling/messaging tool. The kids loved it.

Monica Austin's picture
Monica Austin
SPED teacher in Virginia

I have not mastered using implementing technology in the classroom but I have used my own personal Apple devices to enhance a particular subject. As a special educator, visual aides are key to engaging the students in daily discussions. I trust the students to use my Ipad and Iphone to work on certain sites and applications. I will take the time to peruse through some of the free sites.

Jim Cash's picture
Jim Cash
Educational Technology Resource Teacher

Echoing what LMasterEdD said - technology is great when it can take learning, collaboration, communication, creation, critical thinking to new places. The use of more versatile apps, student driven apps, such as Explain Everything or Puppet Pals, become merely one component of a larger instructional design. A great model to use when employing technology in teaching and learning is the SAMR model -- more here: http://makelearn.org/2013/01/09/boost-learning-outcomes-by-transforming-...

SouthShoreEric's picture
SouthShoreEric
Improving student engagement with Blended Learning & Digital Storytelling

If our focus is on getting students to think more (solve problems) and create more (solve more problems and complete projects), then the apps should challenge their minds or provide them with tools to create things of lasting value. For my list, I would include apps like Explain Everything/Educreations (for iPads), 30hands (for iPads, iPhones, iPod) and Native Numbers (iPad).

Find ways to make the kids feel successful, not just have fun.

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