28.08.2015

Get ready for school: learn how you can use your mobile phone in the classroom

Image | Flickr

School holidays continue in the northern hemisphere, but that shouldn’t prevent teachers and students from taking advantage of their free time and looking for applications that will help them face the coming year with greater motivation. There are also apps for educators.

First, there is the option of doing homework without leaving the classroom. Encyclopedias have been replaced by Wikipedia and search engines, but that doesn’t stop us from using many other applications. Slader for iOS has answers to all kinds of questions, and there are also collaborative text books that can be downloaded.

If we look more specifically at the subject of Mathematics, the apps multiply. With them we can enjoy more entertaining arithmetic lessons. One example is MathMateer (Android and iOS) that students can use to practice what they have learned in several units such as simple math, fractions, decimals, etc. Also available is the Croatian PhotoMath that received an award at 4YFN,  which instantly solves practically any type of operation including many complex calculations.

The same applies to many science subjects. Mobile technology can really help in these areas. Laboratory experiments or field trips to museums or to the country can´t do the same thing as apps can. For this, we recommend apps such as:

  • Periodic Lite: Teachers will enjoy this interactive table for Android that has everything you need to teach classes ‘ with 118 elements, atomic number, oxidation, etc.
  • Pocket Anatomy: This meticulous recreation of the human body is used even in medical schools and is highly recommended for any biology class.

Recording student progress

In addition to these applications for activities, there are other very useful resources for teachers that allow them to record student progress and report on the development of the class. This is the case of ClassDojo (iOS and Android): teachers can record the advancements of their students so parents can see their progress. It is even possible to establish a point system to reward those students that come to class on time and participate in the classroom.

Another option is the Spanish iDoceo which functions as a notebook for iPad and records the students marks. Similarly it lets you create a class newspaper report and sends reminders to students.

No copying allowed!

Of course on return to class the wily practice of cheating inevitably surfaces. Again, mobile technology is at the service of teachers to make sure no one tries to receive any outside help on a test. For this we have applications such as ZENworks Mobile Management, which can be installed on students’ phones, and controls the device so it’s possible to disconnect the camera or the operation of any other apps that are installed. So it will be impossible to copy.

Students must be careful with some apps that teachers may not like. So, MyScript Calculator is able to recognize handwriting from operations like equations and clear up any doubts. Meanwhile, Calculator++ improves your Android device by adding new features like percentage symbols (%). Although after all … Why bother to cheat? The important thing is to learn!

Apps to learn how to make apps (someday)

And why not, while we’re talking about mobile technology we can conclude this review by discussing applications for children to learn to program. Who knows, maybe the next app to revolutionize world will be found in one of our classrooms. They are aimed at all ages. Daisy the Dinosaur serves to teach small children the basic features of coding via ordering the actions of a dinosaur. For those with a little more advanced level, Hopscotch allows you to create animations with friendly characters. Now we just have to wait for the school year to begin and for teachers and students to decide which apps they will use.