At one of my school sites recently, I was able to spend some time with a prospective teacher. She had taught before, pursued another career, and was currently considering returning to the classroom.
During our conversation, it became clear to both of us that a lot of things had changed since she last taught. Access to the technology of today had eliminated the high use of photocopying that was required in the past. Papers are now submitted, graded and returned online. A wide variety of resources are shared with students by simply providing URLs. Communication with students and parents about grades, course progress and deadlines happens more often and more quickly.
As other teachers joined us, the discussion quickly turned to the types of technology and apps that they were integrating into their classes. I enjoyed the conversation so much that I began asking teachers at other schools what apps they found most useful.
Here are some of the most popular responses.
When it comes to Learning Management Systems (LMS), Schoology and Canvas were the ones teachers liked quite a bit. Schoology provides a user interface similar to that of Facebook, which means that even a first time user, if familiar with FB, can pick this up very easily. Canvas touts its adaptability and ability to aggregate data. Both provide features for grading, data analysis and use with other apps.
Evernote allows students to create electronic notebooks to manage the information they learn in class, as well as keep track of sources they find online. Project work can be housed here, and students can access group work as well.
Flipgrid uses video to create and pose questions. Students with the same teacher, but in different classes, can ask and answer questions with each other beyond class time. The teachers who use it agree that it helps with student and community collaboration
iMovie allows students to create stories through film, and Blogger gives them a venue to write about it. VoiceThread allows students to post video online, and gives viewers the option to write, record, or film their feedback.
Duolingo is used by World Language teachers to support language learning beyond the classroom. It is a fun and easy way to work on writing, speaking and translation. I am currently using this to brush up on my Spanish, and I find it very engaging.
For flashcards, quizzes and review games, Quizlet is one that gets a lot of use. Like the aforementioned apps, it can be accessed through smartphones, tablets and computers.
And finally, for students who don’t check their email or log into their LMS as often as they should, Remind is handy way for teachers to keep students on track through text messaging.
Students today are connected to technology in education in ways that we could never imagine. As educators, it is clear that we need to stay plugged into the latest technological offerings in order to continue to connect our students to their learning experience in meaningful ways.