George Lucas Educational Foundation

Mobile Learning: 5 Apps and Web Tools for Elementary School Students

Incorporating mobile apps and web tools into the curriculum can be a gateway to student engagement.
S. Jhoanna Robledo
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Even with the the youngest students, mobile learning can be a powerful tool to build interest. Apps that gamify math or let students embrace their creativity aren't just fun, they also encourage students to think about their learning in different ways.

Credit: Jared Andrew Schorr

Here are five to try from Edutopia's latest guide, Mobile Devices for Learning: What You Need to Know.

Puppet Pals HD

Instead of sitting back and watching TV, why not have children create their own education show? Puppet Pals, an app for tablets, lets students tell their stories with pictures, cartoons, audio, and videos. The basic format is free. A $2.99 Director's Pass is a good choice for schools. Although it doesn't add functionality, it's an unlocked version with no in-app purchases.


Quick Response (QR) and Data Matrix codes, the barcode-like square boxes, are cropping up everywhere in print these days, from newspapers to magazines and books. With i-Nigma, students with phones can scan QR or Data Matrix codes to access additional information via text, websites, and videos that supplement classroom resources. Or they can create QR codes themselves and embed them in their work.


Want to create a multimedia presentation that all of your students can follow at the same pace on an iPad? Try Nearpod, a free app (good for K-12) that lets you put together interactive displays and allows students to submit feedback, offering you a real-time way to assess their performance.

Martha Speaks Dog Party

An app created by PBS KIDS designed to help kids expand their vocabulary. According to a 2010 PBS KIDS-sponsored study of 90 children between the ages of three and seven who played with it for about two and a half hours over two weeks, the app was able to enrich vocabulary by as much as 31 percent.

Motion Math

Another app with a lot of buzz. According to a 2011 study by GameDesk, commissioned by Motion Math, this game for the iPad improved the understanding of fractions in 120 children by an average of 15 percent.

Check out app and Web tool ideas for middle and high school students. And for more on mobile devices for learning, download this classroom guide:

Mobile Devices for Learning: What You Need to Know

Learn how cellphones, e-book readers, and tablets are getting kids engaged with learning, focused on working smarter, and ready for the future.
More Resources:

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Raechelle's picture

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