Many of my friends and family members own an iPhone or a smartphone or an iPad. We all know that there are apps available to help you with everything—whether it’s starting your car or checking your bank account. For teachers, there are apps that can help with all aspects of teaching, including connecting academic content to the real world, keeping in touch with parents and families, and grading papers and assignments.
Here's a roundup of five apps that I believe will benefit educators, families, and students.
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(Price: $4.99, 5 stars – 13 ratings; iTunes link)
Several teachers in New Orleans, including Aliya Bhatia, created this app that focuses on parent contact and home visits. Dash4Teachers allows teachers to log student behaviors for 1 to 100-plus students, their initial contact with parents, and follow-up communication with families. Aliya emailed me about it: “This spring, I was really frustrated with my parent-contact systems and [ended] up building an iPhone app for teachers to connect more easily with students' families. I, along with teachers at the school where I intern, have been using Dash4Teachers for the past few weeks to coordinate home visits. It has been a godsend and keeps track of all the data I need to make informed calls to parents.”
(Price: $0 - $6.99, 4.5 stars – 4445 ratings; iTunes link)
BrainPop is an amazing animated video tool that can be used in the classroom via a projector, SmartBoard, iPad, or mobile device for on-the-go learning with an accompanying quiz. This app features a learning video for the day and a daily quiz. The full version of the app, with more than 750 videos, is $6.99. BrainPop Educators features lesson plans and other teaching tools for educators on a variety of subjects from grammar to physics. There is also BrainPop Jr for K-3 teachers. Their main site offers free materials and videos at http://www.brainpop.com/. After a free lesson on the Harlem Renaissance, my kids had enough background knowledge to fully participate on a trip to the Apollo Theater. Jahyra squealed, “I know that answer, we just had a lesson on it and that question was on the quiz!”