By Teachers, For Teachers
When one looks at how technology has changed education over the past decade, one can’t help but be blown away by the sheer number of iPad apps for educators that have absolutely flooded the electronic marketplace. There are so many iPad apps for teachers released every month that even the most plugged-in educator would have a difficult time processing and utilizing them all.
Luckily, when teachers are looking to learn how to use iPads in the classroom, they need to look no further than TeachHUB magazine and TeachHUB.com -- an educator’s primary go-to resource when researching iPad apps for teachers and iPads in the classroom.
Read on to learn about TeachHUB magazine and TeachHUB.com’s updated list of the hottest iPad apps for teachers and iPad apps for education, destined to forever alter your curriculum landscape, organized here by subject.
A dojo is, by formal definition, a formal training place, which makes it pair naturally with any K-12 classroom. Although the app foregoes the belt rankings you might find in more traditional dojo applications, it does allow you to easily award both merits and demerits based on classroom conduct to your class roster right from your iDevice or Android. Consequently, Class Dojo helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily by generating behavior data that can then be shared with parents and administrators on the fly and younger kids will get a kick out of picking their own monster avatars. So why is this valuable?
For Teachers: It’s said that more than 50 percent of class time is spent managing behavior rather than delivering instruction. And given how precious time becomes in a single class period, this statistic is huge. Whether that extra stint is spent on further instruction, one-on-one troubleshooting or group work, any additional time is worth its weight in gold.
For Students: In addition to providing instant feedback to parents and administrators, students also get notifications (whether good or bad) and can help either encourage positive behavior or curb the negative – especially when they know their parents are finding out right away.
“Specific positive reinforcement helps students develop a sense of purpose in the classroom, enhancing intrinsic motivation over time. By giving students visibility and data on their own behavior, Class Dojo makes class less disruptive and creates a more positive learning environment.” [Via ClassDojo]
For Parents: Class Dojo makes it easy to keep regular tabs on their child's development rather than anxiously awaiting a report card at the end of the term or the dreaded phone call for an impromptu parent-teacher conference. In this way, corrective action (or a helping of praise) can be dealt out quickly.
All in all, it’s a great tool to have in your classroom toolkit and may in fact help level the playing field for your substitutes since the students will be held accountable for the same merits while you’re away.
It seems like phones are more like text messaging devices than anything else these days, which is great for two reasons. One, the massive minute overage bills may be coming to an end and two, we can incorporate this SMS technology into our classroom and beyond with apps like Remind101. At the core, Remind101 is an app built (in conjunction with educators) to solve communication obstacles between teachers, students and parents using devices that rarely come unglued from our hands. Teachers are able to send SMS messages to individual students or class-wide to remind them of upcoming due dates or exams or simply send words of encouragement. And, as aforementioned, parents are also able to receive texts for upcoming conferences, updates on their child’s progress or more pressing behavioral/emergency matters.
Like I’m sure you’re thinking now, we were a bit apprehensive about the app’s security. Happily, Remind101 has that covered – neither your or your students/parents phone numbers are accessible through the app and communication lives and stays within Remind101’s interface entirely. It’s also worth mentioning that we were able to sign up within a couple minutes on its brilliant and clean interface so regardless of your tech proficiencies, you’ll be able to get Remind101 up and going very easily and it’s a great portal to start experimenting with the connected classroom movement if you haven’t already.
Boasting a rather all-encompassing and encouraging title, this app admittedly does help you explain pretty much everything. At the core, it is an app that utilizes your device’s microphone, presentations or other media assets and allows you to annotate, animate and narrate over them.
Happily, Explain Everything also plays nicely with other services like Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, YouTube and the iWork suite so if you’ve got material you’d like to import on any of those apps, they will work just fine. Certainly, there’s a bit of a learning curve in mastering all the different things you can do with this app, but rest assured, it’s nothing that you can’t master in an afternoon’s time and will definitely push the creative boundaries of your students’ final group presentations. All of this functionality would be for naught if there weren’t some way to share or broadcast your work, but thankfully Explain Everything has you covered – it functions as an interactive whiteboard via Airplay and also allows for exporting projects in a wide variety of formats, though we wish there were higher, HD resolutions available for video (it maxes out at 1024x768).
As you might expect, Explain Everything’s weak links have more to do with the tablet than the app itself – relying on the iPad’s built-in microphone for narrations requires a fairly quiet room to get reasonable results and we’d definitely recommend you purchase a stylus of some sort to help with your on-screen annotations and drawings. But these peripheral shortcomings aside, the app is versatile and relevant for uses well beyond the classroom space. For all that it can do at $2.99, it’s also a steal.
Reading books in traditional fashion is quickly becoming a thing of the past and Subtext is an app that fully embraces the transition to the digital reading world. Gone are the days and limitations of the red pen and highlighter – Subtext ushers in the ability to embed instruction and scaffolding directly into the pages of most digital books or e-publications. Think of it like a Kindle reader on steroids. Within the app, you can layer web links, videos, assignments and quizzes – making it both straightforward and interactive to engage students, improve critical thinking & writing skills and assess student progress within the frameworks of the Common Core State Standards.
As the only eReader application that was designed specifically for the K-12 classroom, Subtext allows you to create classroom groups to keep notes private while also accommodating peer collaboration and book blogging at the close of each chapter or assignment. A wide variety of literature is readily available to add to your Subtext bookshelf – individual and volume pricing are options right inside the Subtext eBook store or via Google Books. Perhaps surprisingly, there are several titles that are free on the latter platform that are mainstays in any K-12 instruction (i.e. Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey, Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter). Speaking of free, the app manages to be exactly that despite all the advantages it delivers to any level of ed tech equipped classrooms. That being said, we think this app is a no-brainer to add to your instructional arsenal.
Finally, a worthwhile project management system that is both free and easy to operate! OK, project management may not sound incredibly exciting, but in the classroom, especially for group projects, it’s a load off your back to be able to see how things are moving forward, what ideas are being thrown around and how each of the tasks are being distributed and completed.
As an even greater relief, the interface is very visual, which will be great for your students who are privy to social network news feeds. Compared to some other (free) project management platforms, it is far less an adaptation of an Excel spreadsheet, but more of a “Web 2.0” daily planner and organizer where your pending, current and finished items within projects are easy as pie to see.
Within each task, you’re able to assign labels, members, due dates, attach files and more. With this system, individual responsibilities within collaborative projects are much less likely to fall by the wayside. One of my favorite features is how you can “vote” and comment on particular tasks. I find this incredibly useful for getting feedback on brainstorming ideas and drafts.
If money was no object, we’d push for Trello Gold ($5/month) where you get stickers, more board backgrounds, custom emoji, larger file uploads (250MB per file) and more. But if it is, the free version works just fine and is a great way to keep not only your classroom organized, but get your students on an structured path of their own.
Brainstorming is a skill that often goes underappreciated, but many times as a result of poor translations into coherent and organized mapping. Inspiration Maps aims to make that transition from the students’ mind to paper a much more direct communicative process.
At the core of the app, students are able to utilize visual learning (via diagrams, maps and organizers) to help transform streams of thought into linear outlines that can later be exported for writing. It’s relatively easy to operate and utilizes gestures familiar to native iPad users for navigation, editing and more. To help students gets started, the app offers a handful of very useful templates including: Cause and effect diagram, group project plan and root cause analysis. Beyond this, teachers can use Inspiration Map as a workplace tool to analyze information, take notes and track classroom activities.
Inspiration Maps gives you a number of options for sharing your maps: via e-mail, saving them as images to your photos folder, printing them (via AirPrint) and storing or sharing via Dropbox and iTunes. The app also plays nicely with Pages and other word processing programs on the iPad.
At $9.99, it’s easily our most expensive tool we’re reviewing this time around but it definitely lives up to its price tag. For the budget conscious, there is a free version, but it is essentially just a preview of what the full-fledged variant can perform.
Obviously, many more iPad apps for teachers exist to make the lives of educators that much easier and creative. Take advantage of what they have to offer as well in order to provide students with well-rounded lessons that nurture them both inside and outside the classroom.
What education apps for iPad would you recommend? How do you use iPads in the classroom? What are the benefits of iPads in the classroom? Share in the comments section!