Done correctly, Android apps can make your class more engaging, more entertaining and more educational. Of course, the ‘done correctly’ is vital there. For it can just as easily go wrong. After all, there is a lot of junk out there. At best these won’t help you much. At worst, they will end up being distractive, disruptive and destructive.
For that reason, you need to think very carefully about the apps that you want to use in your classroom, for the risk very quickly exists that you’ll overload your students and they won’t know which way to turn for information anymore. So keep them down to a minimum if you can.
There are a ton of different categories where you can look for information, but the main areas that you should explore are:
- Communication with students
- Communication with parents
- A research tool
- A place to get support from other teachers and share ideas
- An administration tool
- Tools that boost class engagement
Note that quite often apps span several of these fields simultaneously. Here are top 10 best android apps that we’ve found particularly useful.
It used to be that the only feedback the parent’s ever got on their work was an ‘it was fine’ when their kids got home and the teacher’s opinions once every few months during parent-teacher conferences. That really is no way to keep the guardians engaged in their kid’s development. For that reason, Seesaw has set out to create portfolios for the children, so that they can showcase their best work.
Even better, teachers can use the portfolio to demonstrate what their students are good at and where they struggle so that when parents want to take an active role in their development, they know where to take action.
2. Teach Learn Lead
The internet has greatly sped up the sharing of lesson plans and class ideas among teachers. Now the next step is here. With Teach Learn Lead – which is a social network for teachers – it becomes immensely easy to share ideas, discuss problems and in other words disseminate the best practices in teaching.
In this way, teachers will find it far easier to upgrade their knowledge and give their students the best of what the teaching world has to offer. Neat, right?
This app is all about letting you easily and quickly update children and parents about developments in the classroom. You can use it to let them know when big assignments are due when school outings are being planned and more.
Remind is easy to use, effective and has a great translation service that allows it to translate whatever you’ve written in 70 different languages – just in case you’ve got parents at your school whose English isn’t top notch. In that way, everybody is in the loop and there aren’t any nasty surprises for the kids, the parents or yourself, for that matter.
The administration isn’t any fun. For that reason, we really want apps to automate it as much as possible. Additio can help you a lot in that regard. In it, you can keep attendance, track and calculate people’s grades and keep your personal timetable.
In that way, all of your information is up in the cloud, where it can’t be lost and locked behind your password so that students can’t ‘accidentally’ take a look at how they’re doing.
5. Google Classroom
Google Classroom is a free service for schools, non-profits, and anyone with a personal Google account. Classroom makes it easy for learners and instructors to connect – inside and outside of schools. Classroom saves time and paper, and makes it easy to create classes, distribute assignments, communicate, and stay organized.
6. Plagiarism checker
Some students try to cut corners. That’s just part of the ‘game’. Now you can just depend on your spider sense to tell you. Alternatively, you can get this Plagiarism checker to see if they didn’t just lift the text wholesale (or at least in part) from the internet. In that case, you can be sure that it’s actually their own material (provided, of course, they didn’t use a writing help).
I’ve found it useful to show the effectiveness of this app right at the beginning of the year so that students understand the risk they run if they do decide to copy stretches of text. That will undermine a great deal of temptation.
If you allow your students to hand in assignments online, then the last thing you really want them to send it to you by email. That gets messy fast and also makes it far too likely that you’ll miss somebody’s assignment (or can’t disprove their claim that it ‘somehow got deleted’).
Dropbox is a much better option. Here you can create folders for your different students that only they have access to. Then it’s just a matter of going through them in whatever order that you prefer. Even better, the history of a folder is also stored, so you can see not just what is there now, but if something was there earlier and has somehow ‘disappeared’.
Of course, it’s also great for organising your own material across multiple devices.
Evernote is a bookmark tool on steroids and makes centralizing and saving your research and absolute cinch. This app is a great way to make sure that you’ll never lose the interesting websites again. As an added bonus, as it syncs across platforms, that means you won’t have to go rummaging through your devices in order to find what you’re looking for.
Add to that scanning features, pdf support, the possibilities to send emails into the app, notebooks for the organization, internal search functions and the ability to link internally to other notebooks and you’ve got an incredible time saver that will make you wonder how you ever managed to survive without it.
You can note anything, you can write the book, write an essay with best writing advisor, or make the lists of your future dissertation.
This is another great class organization app, that lets students continue the conversation after the school bell rings. This great app allows you, as a teacher, to answer questions, offer up resources, give grades and in other ways make sure that your students don’t end up struggling with insurmountable problems without any outside help.
And that’s just a few of the app’s features. Edmodo really is a great go-to tool if you want to make sure that everybody understands
No class likes a quiz. Or do they? With the new app Kahoot they just might. But then this isn’t any ordinary quiz. This isn’t the ‘here’s a the questions, use a B2 pencil’ quiz. This is far more like a game show, where everybody gets a buzzer and people get to match both wits and knowledge.
Gamification is a phenomenal way to engage your students. It uses the ideas of video games (e.g. points, colors and immediate feedback) to make your students learn information more quickly while keeping them active and interested.
The best part? Games are normally hard things to program. Not with Kahoot. All you have to do is upload your questions and get your students to download their version to get a buzzer and you’re all set, which is easy as it is free.
There are a lot of apps out there. So make sure you don’t take this to be the definitive list of apps and programs. It is, however, a great place to start as all of these apps have been well received and are widely popular among teachers nationwide.
Know of any other apps that should be included but that we clearly missed out on? Then add them in the comment section and everybody will benefit.