Technology is more pervasive than ever before. So it’s no surprise that teachers are starting to incorporate apps and other devices into their curriculum. We asked a group of teachers, all located in Indiana, what kinds of apps and devices they like to use in the classroom. Here are their answers:
It’s important for teachers to stay connected to the internet to access helpful apps, news, and other media.
• Doceri - When one teacher told us how she stays connected despite not having a network connection, our ears perked up. Andrea Tinkey, who teaches 7th grade social studies, likes to use the paid version of Doceri ($30 one-time fee) because it “lets her connect her iPad to her desktop computer,” since they don’t have airplay or network connection in the school.
• Ellipsis 8 Tablet – A great way to engage your students’ attention is by incorporating a tablet into your lessons. Get a Verizon Ellipsis 8 Tablet for free when you activate a 2-year device payment plan.
Having ongoing conversations with the parents of students is an important aspect of teaching. With so many different options out there, we had a ton of different app referrals from teachers on how they stay connected to parents.
• Remind - Tinkey suggested teachers use, “Remind: [which] makes communication with students and parents so easy!”
• Class Dojo - Galina Sinitsky, who teaches 5th and 6th grade math, says “Class dojo is my single favorite app for school, it's a tremendous help in maintaining classroom management for younger grades. Not only does it provide an interactive and visual depiction of a student’s behavior as an individual, but can show group or classroom totals to unify students in achieving goals or accommodate teachers in setting incentives. The best feature is how interactive it is! Not only can parents log on and follow their child's behavior anytime from anywhere, but your coworkers can be ‘added’ to your same class so behavior tracking is fluid and collaborative from room to room if classes are departmentalized.”
• Edmodo - “Edmodo is a great tool for classroom Communication and to find other educators to exchange ideas with,” said Marithe Benavente, who teaches 6th and 7th grade world history
• Shutterfly Share Sites - Benavente also suggests using, “Shutterfly Share sites [because] not only can a group of students and parents upload and share pictures privately, but [Shutterfly Share Sites is] also great for communication and volunteer sign-up sheets. The calendar sends alerts for incoming events and messages on the message board.”
• Math apps - Jennifer Hubbard Wilson teaches 7th and 8th grade math, and says she uses Virtual Nerd, Khan Academy, and Purplemath. These sites offer “tutorials and how-to's for parents and students to revisit a topic they are stuck on.”
Tools for grading
Teachers have always required a level of organization when it comes to grading their students. But now, there is a treasure trove of websites and apps for teachers to choose from that can assist them with keeping grades unbiased and separate.
• Exittix - Wilson likes to use Exittix.com for her middle schoolers, saying she uses it because it gives “kids an exit ticket or a quick check for understanding in the middle of class or even for a bell-ringer. [It includes] lots of options and awesome instant feedback of how the students did. You can project kids' scores and answers while keeping hidden their identity.”
• Plickers - Tinkey adds that her 7th grade social studies class responded well to Plickers, “[It] allows me to do formative assessments using my iPad, but the kids do not have to have devices. They use a pattern to respond to questions and I scan with my phone or iPad.
• Marley - One way to make the grading go quicker is by listening to music. Looking for a good in-ear option? Grab a pair of Marley In-Ear headphones for $10 off. For a limited time only.
Of course, every teacher needs help now and then. And a great way to get the kids’ attention in the classroom is by incorporating technology. The teachers we talked to had a lot of suggestions for using tech to teach.
• Quizlet - “I've used Quizlet which I really like for my 10th grade ICP class,” says Jason Rott. This app carries a variety of opportunities to test a child’s knowledge, with flashcards, games, and quizzes. And Tinkey also seconds Quizlet. She likes getting students’ interactions and learning from using the “online flashcards and games for reviewing for tests or vocabulary.”
• Classcraft - Shawna, who teaches 7th and 8th grade likes using “Classcraft [because] It's awesome. I can reward kids, track behavior, assign things, and communicate with parents all through a fun Fantasy MMORPG-type lens.”
• Kahoot - Wilson added that she uses “Kahoot, [which is] an app [where you] make your own or even use someone else's quiz.”
• Padlet - Wilson also suggested using “Padlet, [because] teachers can post a question or topic, and students can add their answers. “
• Spelling City – 2nd grade teacher Sarah Haines Helfrich likes to use Spelling City. This app allows her to enter the class’ weekly [spelling] list, “then students can practice and take a test. There is a paid version, but we use the free [version]!”
• Boombot Rex - Another way to connect with students is through music. We recommend getting a Boombotix Boombot Rex for $10 off at any of our stores to get your kids moving and grooving.
As you can see, there’s a slew of apps and websites that teachers can use to enrich their teaching experience. Try all of these and figure out what works best for you and your teaching style. Rock school out, and stay tuned to this blog for more school-related tech suggestions.