By Laura McClure
What are the best apps for teachers? Below, 25 awesome apps recommended for teachers, by teachers.
For teaching students how to present, create and code
More than 250,000 teachers use TED education tools to spark student curiosity and explore presentation literacy skills. “TED-Ed is an outstanding resource in my classroom,” says TED-Ed Innovative Educator Jennifer Hesseltine. “I use the online platform to add engaging content to topics that we are studying. I have also given students the opportunities to help in the process of creating TED-Ed Lessons by choosing videos and creating questions to include.”
Students can create beautiful presentations with this app. “It’s great for pairing short poems and images,” says TED-Ed community member Jessica Dawn Kaiser.
If the benefits of a bilingual brain motivate your students, try this app. “Duolingo revolutionized the way people learn languages,” says TED-Ed community member Dhruv G. Menon.
Draw and Tell
This app can increase creative confidence in kids of all ages. Just draw something, tell a story about it and share your creation. For TED-Ed community member Ginnie Harvin Pitler, this app is a classroom favorite. “I’m an elementary teacher and believe in creation apps over consumption apps,” she says.
Students can easily create and share their own beautiful videos with Animoto. “I’m a huge fan of this simple yet powerful digital storytelling tool for iPad and the web,” writes TED-Ed Innovative Educator Jennifer L. Scheffer in an this ed tech roundup. “The app allows students to select a theme, music, images or videos, add captions and/or two lines of text, and within minutes a slick video is created. The finished product can be shared via social media, uploaded to YouTube, or embedded in a student’s e-portfolio. For a great introduction to Animoto, with a built-in lesson in digital citizenship, have students create an ‘About Me’ or ‘Year in Review’ Animoto.”
This popular app is another teacher-recommended choice for student video creation. “My students enjoy using iMovie for group projects,” says TED-Ed community member Chris Gilley Callaway. Check out the Apple apps for educators, too.
From science experiments to merit badges, this app offers instructions for more than 100,000 DIY projects. Looking for a classroom maker project? You’ll find it here. Did your students create something awesome? Encourage them to upload their instructions and share their ideas.
For everyday classroom needs
Teachers love this notetaking app — for good reason. “Evernote has allowed me to get rid of handouts. I just don’t make them anymore,” writes TED-Ed Innovative Educator Nicholas Provenzano . “All of my projects are shared with my students through our shared notebooks, and all assignments are posted on the Assignment shared notebook that is available for parents on my website. Traditionally, these handouts would be viewed by students then trashed. Now they can view them on Evernote and trees can be saved.” To learn more from Nick about how to use Evernote in the classroom, read The Epic Evernote Experiment.
Basically, it’s an interactive whiteboard. “It’s one of the most versatile apps you can have in your toolbox,” says TED-Ed community member Caroline Taylor-Levey.
This app makes it easy to create new videos for learning. For example, “it’s a great tool for explaining math strategies with voice, pen and screen recorder,” says TED-Ed community member Melissa Julian. ”It also lets students make learning resources for other children to use.”
Every classroom needs a good dictionary or two. For TED-Ed community member Nuria Carballal, Oxford Dictionary works well. Meanwhile, TED-Ed community member Chie Sipin Bjarenas recommends Dictionary.com. “It’s a quick way to answer ‘what does [insert unfamiliar word] mean?’” she says.
For collaborating on school projects
Whether you’re collaborating with other teachers or assigning group project work to students, this app can make communication easier for teams in a variety of settings. “I’ve experimented quite a lot lately with Slack,” says TED-Ed Innovative Educator Dylan Ferniany. “It has the benefits of a Facebook group, plus wonderful integration with Google Docs and Google Hangouts.”
Google Apps for Education
If you see the acronym GAFE on any education blog, it probably refers to this suite of Google apps. Among teachers, Hangouts gets a thumbs up for video-based conversations. Here’s one example of how that can work well in the classroom, from TED-Ed Innovative Educator Jimmy Juliano: “In an AP Environment class at my high school, students used Google Hangouts on Air to have climate change conversations with friends and family members. Harnessing the power of two-way video has really opened up new pathways to learning opportunities.”
This cloud-based platform is “similar to Facebook, only it includes the needed security features for school use,” says TED-Ed community member Jessica Dawn Kaiser. “I use Schoology for a class page, so my students and I can post assignments, videos, completed work and links.”
This app makes it easy to map out the relationships between ideas. For complex group projects, it can also provide a way to quickly visualize and create a project outline, together.
Sometimes what you really want is a wiki. For those moments, teachers recommend this app.
For communicating with students (and their families)
This digital communication tool is in a league of its own, according to TED-Ed Innovative Educator Jennifer L. Scheffer. “The privacy (no personal phone numbers are required) and message scheduling features are top-notch. For a high school teacher, Remind is an essential digital tool, since most teens have cell phones with texting capabilities.” Read Jenn’s full review here.
A WordPress blogging platform designed with teachers in mind. “I love my Edublog app for a.m. documentation and communication,” says TED-Ed community member Louise Sciulli MacKinnon. “It’s user friendly and makes uploading and sharing images simple.”
This option provides multiple ways to engage students and their families. “I love it as a classroom management tool and motivator,” says TED-Ed community member Heidi Cooley, who built a reward system for her students based on points earned in class.
For giving (and receiving) student feedback
For providing clear feedback, many teachers like this learning management system. “The app makes it possible to give students constructive feedback in a 1:1 manner,” says TED-Ed Innovative Educator Jennifer Hesseltine. It’s also easy for students to respond.
This learning assessment tool simplifies grading and reports. One recommendation: try out the quiz feature to enhance student understanding of classroom content, says TED-Ed community member Noor Alhoda.
This open-source learning management platform “has a questionnaire option that I really like,” says TED-Ed Innovative Educator Mitzi Stover. “I have students complete this anonymously to give me feedback on my online class.”
Many teachers recommend this app for gathering feedback from students. “It’s a great way to receive feedback from the whole class at the end of a semester,” says TED-Ed Innovative Educator Sharon Hadar.