Apps for your iPhone and/or iPad can make your job a lot easier. We’d like to share what we think are 5 of the best teacher apps out there. These will not only keep you organized, but place helpful resources at your fingertips.
5 No-Nonsense, No Fluff Websites &Teacher Apps
Assign-A-Day (Free) Remember that week between Christmas and the New Year when you arduously labored over every detail of your course schedule? Do you remember doing this instead of playing Upwords and drinking gingerbread lattes with your husband only to have your students lose the syllabus on January 2?
Go green. Go paperless. Go frustration free with online teacher-managed calendar. With Assign-A-Day, you can create a calendar for each class and add assignments for the students to view. Students view their teachers' calendars in order to see assignments for classes they might have missed, or to get an overview of the class.
Attendance2 ($4.99) Taking attendance is as foolproof as it gets. Or is it? Be honest, how long was it before you misplaced or spilled Starbucks on your attendance records last semester? And if you’ve never done that, how about the bother of having to manually enter the numbers into your computer at the end of the year?
Skip the frustration and go with Attendance2, a teacher app that streamlines the attendance-keeping process. Import your students’ names via Dropbox or email and customize each name with the built-in flashcard function that will put the name with the face—literally. So when you’re looking out into a sea of unfamiliar faces on the first day of class, relax: Snap a photo, upload it to the app and make your mom proud. You’ll never blank on your students’ names again.
BookGlutton (Free) Unpacking the moxie of an Emily Dickinson poem alone is fun. But discussing literature as a group will always be a far richer activity. I happen to think reading was meant to be a social activity. What if you could actually meet your students on, say, the second paragraph of page 269 in A Tale of Two Cities? Well, if you have BookGlutton, you can.
This teacher app allows readers to create virtual reading groups that meet inside of the text itself. Browse 797 open-source (completely free) classics from Dickens, to Hawthorne, to Joyce, Marx and Freud. Once you select your text, sign in with your Facebook login and meet your students inside any chapter where you can share notes, leave comments on any paragraph and receive notification when they respond. Genius.
Documentary Heaven (Free) It doesn’t matter where you teach or how old your students are; they’re going to struggle when it comes time to select a research topic. It’s an irrefutable fact, dare I say.
In my experience, one of the best ways for students to get a sense for the “larger conversation” about a topic is to begin by watching a documentary. It’s a far less intimidating place to start than books and articles. In addition to this, documentaries will give them a sense for how a topic should incorporate a broad range of perspectives and voices, but ultimately lead the reader to a specific conclusion.
View a vast collection of documentaries spanning across every genre out there: music, movies, philosophy, psychology, religion, science, space, war, technology—and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Mixed Ink (Free) MixedInk is a collaborative platform that allows groups of any size to weave their ideas together into a collective text without stepping on each other’s loafers. Here’s a great example of how you can use this app in your classroom:
In his teaching blog, The History Channel This is Not, Nata Kogan gives a great example of how Mixed Ink can be used in the classroom: First, he assigned each student a question based on the reading and asked them to post their responses on their own blog before class the next day. When the class reconvened, Kogan asked students to take their blog post and upload it to Mixed Ink. For the next 20 minutes of class, the students “peer reviewed” each other’s answers and typed up substantive feedback inside Mixed Ink.
After this, Kogan placed students in groups and asked them to “remix” their original, pulling specific language from one another’s post to create a collective response. If one student wrote a sentence similar to one of their peers, they would see that other sentence pop up and have the option of including it in their draft.