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9 Popular Apps Recommended by Teachers

K-12 teachers share their favorite smartphone and tablet apps that make learning fun. Here’s what’s working well in classrooms like yours.

Mobile apps are the latest “must have” tool in the K-12 teacher’s bag of tricks. Whether you’re looking for an app to help with classroom management, exploring the stars or figuring out tricky math problems, there’s an app for just about everything. Here are six that I’ve found to be particularly useful, along with three teacher picks. They are fun for both teachers and students alike!

Google Earth - FREE
Available for
iPod, iPhone, iPod or for Android

Google Earth is one of the first apps I implore teachers and students to download for their devices. Whether it’s zooming around your neighborhood while talking about community, looking at photos from around the world or exploring the depths of the ocean floor, Google Earth is the one of the easiest ways to explore the planet.

Storykit – FREE
Available for
iPod, iPhone, iPad

From animated sock puppets to cartoon pirate characters, apps that allow authors to create their own stories are varied. Storykit is a special app, as it presents users with a blank slate. Text, audio, still images and drawings can all be added to Storykit books; as an added bonus the app is FREE and published by the International Digital Children’s Library, a great non-profit dedicated to promoting tolerance of cultures through literature.

NASA App – FREE
Available for
 iPod, iPhone, iPad or for Android

Are you nuts about space? Have a unit or lesson that deals with space physics, astronomy or the solar system? Try the NASA app. Watch NASA TV, view a stream of high quality photos from the International Space Station, learn all about NASA’s ongoing missions and more. My favorite part of the app features resources about our solar system; it’s a space geek’s gateway to space exploration.

Math Mistakes – 0.99¢
Available for
 iPod, iPhone, iPad

Tired of the same old math games and apps that have students selecting the correct answer? Twist their brains a bit with a few rounds of Math Mistakes, a playful take on math games that asks you to choose the INCORRECT equation for each set of questions. With negative numbers, multiplication and division in the mix, this app is a simple way to get students practicing and developing their number sense.

Screenchomp – FREE
Available for
iPad

White-boarding apps are another popular category of apps on iPads, but Screenchomp rises above the rest when it comes to simplicity. Sure, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other paid apps, but when you or your students want to record a simple white-boarding session and share it with the world in a click, Screenchomp is the way to go. Click RECORD, sketch and narrate your lesson, then share.

Notability - $2.99
Available for
iPod, iPhone, iPad

Annotate all things! Or so I feel the Notability motto should be written. This versatile app lets you write, draw, scribble, highlight, annotate and leave audio notes on any PDF document. Use it in conjunction with Google Drive or Dropbox and you’ve got a powerful tool for turning digital documents into powerful digital notebooks.

 

Recommended by fellow teachers:

Blogger – FREE
Available for
iPod, iPhone, iPad and Android

Blogging on the go! Kyle Krol, high school English teacher and Writing Center director, has her students create blogs and comment about how to help their peers with the writing process. Having access to 21st century writing tools in their pockets makes it even easier!

EasyBib – FREE
Available for
iOS and Android

Your students LOVE creating proper citations for research papers, right? No? Enter Easybib! A great tool that creates perfect MLA, APA and Chicago style citations in seconds. While the web version is powerful, with the mobile version you just point your device’s camera at the barcode on the back of a book, click and you get a citation. Many secondary teachers recommend this app, including Nick Provenzano, ISTE’s 2013 Outstanding Educator of the Year.

Write About This – FREE
Available for
iPad

Developed by Brad Wilson, a former elementary classroom teacher in Michigan, this app gives students wonderful visual writing prompts using pre-selected school-safe apps, or lets them take pictures and create prompts of their own. Text prompts and voice prompts are available, making it a great tool for students who need accommodations. Nick Travis, elementary technology teacher in Michigan, helps staff members in his building use this app to encourage creativity in young writers.

Ben Rimes, K-12 Technology Coordinator and NEA member, Mattawan Consolidated School District

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