In recent years, schools have tried to integrate the latest electronic and Internet-based technology into classroom instruction. By doing so, educators seek to engage students by using familiar forums to teach and prepare them for life after school. With the movement toward mobile-based apps, teachers are also striving to stay on the cutting edge of instructional technology by integrating the latest and greatest apps in the classroom.
Image credit: Sean MacEntee (via Flickr)
In particular, educational apps are paving the way for a more interactive, engaging, and rewarding classroom experiences for many students and teachers. With all of the apps available for teachers, however, selecting useful teaching aids can be intimidating.
To get started, consider these helpful teaching apps:
Science 360 (free, iTunes link)
The science 360 app for iOS is great way to engage students K-12 in science and engineering. The app seeks to make the subject matter more tangible, approachable, and easier to understand. Scientists and engineers are in charge of updating the photo, text, and video content, which helps with the app's credibility. Additionally, all content is high quality and well organized.
Mathematical Formulas ($.99, iTunes link)
Remembering all of the necessary formulas in mathematics can be challenging. This app helps solve the problem by collecting formulas and grouping them into various disciplines. Examples showing how the formulas work are easily accessed, which is a great plus. The app can benefit teachers creating quizzes and exams along with students who need to prepare for them. For only $0.99, the app is money well spent.
SimplePhysics ($1.99, iTunes link)
Working on the iOS and Android platforms, this app applies the rules of physics to a fun, interactive game. Students can design and complete a stress test on complex structures such as bridges, skyscrapers, tree houses, and almost anything else. To win the game, players must build successful structures and keep them under budget. The game is a little more advanced, so it is recommended for grades 5 – 12.
The Elements: A Visual Exploration ($13.99, iTunes link)
This app provides a valuable, visual depiction of the periodic table and so much more. With information on every element known to mankind including what each is used for, where it can be found, latest news concerning it, and even its market value, this app can be quite helpful in science classes. Videos of experiments with the elements and computations also help to make this app a necessity.
Schoology (free, iTunes link)
Schoology is a learning management app that allows students and teachers to stay connected online outside—or even inside—the classroom. Students can read course plans, submit work, receive new assignments, and communicate with their teachers at any time. Teachers are also able to grade and return work through the app. Classes are able to stay organized and communicate freely on the go.
My Congress (free, iTunes link)
Best used by students in grades 6 -12, this app for iOS makes learning about Congress easier. The app allows students to research the latest information on Congress, get relevant news on Congressional subjects, and access information on each individual Congressmen including how he or she votes on bills. The site allows students to find out who their local Congressmen are and provides links to their Twitter feeds.
News-O-Matic, Daily Reading for Kids (free, iTunes link)
For the slightly younger crowd—grades 2-6—this news app provides 5 age appropriate news stories with accompanying images, videos, and maps. The app seeks to engage students in current events through news presented in a multimedia format with relevant facts, games, and puzzles. Students can not only keep up with current events here, they can also learn to think critically and engage with the world around them.
History: Maps of the World (free, iTunes link)
While it might seem this app is useful only in history and geography classes, it can help with much more. Because students must often tie art, music, culture, food, languages, and politics to their places of origin, this app comes in handy for multiple disciplines. The app also contains maps and cartography from past eras, giving users a view of how geography, borders, and boundaries have shifted over time.
NASA (free, iTunes link)
NASA has created a truly remarkable app with this one. Containing over 157,000 images, videos, information on current and past NASA missions, and a link to their Twitter feed, this app gives students the opportunity to glimpse deep space, learn about astronauts, and even talk to astronauts in 140 characters or less.
GarageBand ($4.99, or free with new devices, iTunes link)
The GarageBand app makes recording music and other audio very easy. Ultimately, it can be used to record students in music class, make songs for class projects, take basic music lessons, create podcasts, or fulfill any other audio-based assignments. In addition to recording the songs, lessons in audio production are possible with the app.
Whether you’re an educator or student looking for help, chances are, there’s an app available that provides the resources you need.
About the Author:
Viviana Woodbury is a freelance writer and blog junkie from app developer. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to Viviana.Woodbury@gmail.com.