George Lucas Educational Foundation
Mobile Learning

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.


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?

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Alice Pamies's picture
Alice Pamies
High School World Languages teacher in Cleveland, Ohio

Not everyone has an iphone, but...If the students have texting, obviates the need for "clickers" for quick checks of understanding. It's free up to a certain number of respondents, and the results appear live on the whiteboard. I also had my summer school students do "instant feedback" Instagram videos (also free, and the students LOVE watching themselves [and reinforcing content]): 15 seconds to demonstrate vocabulary mastery, pronunciation, grammar concepts...this year, when I say I am flipping my classroom, I may mean that students MUST bring their phone to class!

Oliver Rose's picture

The 'Lex Flashcard Game' is great for studying vocabulary - it uses wordlists from the awesome Quizlet website in a game which requires production (not just recognition). You can also use the online app, and even put the widget on your own page specifying lists to use here:

Rhea's picture

Instantly convert your iPhone into an illuminated macrophotography camera, a digital microscope, view scope or a short range borescope, by simply simply snapping on the Illumoscope's(tm) built in microphotography case. You tube videos showing some its' functions can be seen at

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

I love this Pinterest board from Vicki Davis- lots of good idea here!

Personally, Pinterest is my current favorite app. I can take pictures of cool things I see out in the world and pin them to boards organized by topic, theme, whatever. I can also pin links, resources, etc to the same boards, so things are easy to find.

I also like that I can share resources on timely topics with families this way.

George's picture
Psychology tearcher

As a psychology teacher i was thinking that we should implement new technology in schools, not in forward but in backward schools so that time can be saved. My students are not working home work if i do not give them option to read lessons in laptops.
In mentally ill students these iPhone apps can work as a good treatment. You can check out my latest research in psychology at

Brian P's picture
Brian P
New Parent - Want to see what's happening with education.

My mother, who has been a teacher for 15 years, only recently got an iPhone. I don't think she really know that there are so many tools out there for teachers these days.
She is definitely savvy with the new technologies and would have no problem assimilating the apps on her iPhone to her routine.

Cathy Roberts's picture
Cathy Roberts
High School Marketing and Business teacher from Atlanta, GA

I wish these apps were available for Android. I really like the 'Pick a Student' app.

Anne Beninghof's picture

StickPick is an app that is similar to Pick a Student, but when you enter a student's name it allows you to choose a question stem level from Bloom's Taxonomy or from the ESL levels. When a student's name is selected, those question stems pop up, you can score the response and it saves the data!

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