As one of the best note-taking apps, Notability is extremely comprehensive in what it is able to offer. Users of the app are able to make either typed or hand-written notes and then share them with anyone or sync them to the cloud. Given that many students have smartphones available, this is a tool that can be used to quickly send out notes instead of having each student write it down. Furthermore, other files can be imported into it and then edited such as adding additional notes, sign documents, or make annotations. One of the best features of Notability is that for students, it can also record lectures while the user takes note. When they click on a section of the notes that they were taking, it takes them to the section of the audio recording. With this, it becomes extremely easy to refer to previous sections of the lecture. Through all of these features, Notability is a highly recommended app for note making and note taking.
In a digital age, Google Classroom is one of the best apps for a connected experience. Teachers simply need to set up their virtual classroom and then have students join. Once in this classroom, all of the resources become available such as documents, files, and even videos so that the classroom becomes accessible to those who may not be present in the physical class. To improve communication between students and teachers, Google Classroom enables for chats as well as announcements to be made to the entire class. As a solution that brings the physical classroom to the digital space, it is a tool that is highly applicable for those who may not be in the classroom everyday or want to more efficiently share content and messages.
As a simple classroom management app, students are given avatars and can be awarded points for exhibiting good behavior or penalized for bad behavior in a point system. Beyond this, students can also be assigned into groups in a seamless way. One of the best aspects of ClassDojo is that teachers are able to add parents to the group and then share pictures and videos throughout the day as well as the rewards and penalties that have been earned. Through this, parents can stay up-to-date on the activities that are happening in the classroom and how their child is doing. As one of the most social tools that can be used to better engage with students and teachers, ClassDojo is a highly recommended tool to be integrated into each classroom.
One of the biggest communication issues for teachers is not with the students, but relates to the parents. As contact with the teachers often only occurs during scheduled visits a handful of times a year, Remind is a chat tool that increases this frequency to as often as needed online. In being able to get in touch with parents quickly, the status of the students can be given daily so that parents know how their kids are performing and where they can improve. Beyond messages, formats such as images and files can be sent directly to the parent as well. Through Remind, communication is made easier and more efficient for both parents and teachers.
As learning is often regarded as a dry process that is difficult to keep students engaged, educators can use Kahoot as a tool to make learning fun. Through the app, teachers can create questions with four options while students can join the game in order to answer the questions. The student who enters the correct answer the fastest is awarded the most points. With this competitive ranking system, students are encouraged to participate and become more aggressive in their learning to win. With the ability to customize games, students are exposed to highly relevant content as opposed to cookie-cutter style games that may not be as relevant to what they are learning in class. Through these game style lessons, students are able to more actively learn through an interactive process which makes it one of the best forms of education gamification.
For educators, the apps listed in this article are able to provide tools that can help students and others learn in a way that is significantly more engaging and efficient. From apps that provide a more connected experience to others that create an engaging environment, these tools should be used to improve the learning process. Although many educators may shy away from introducing technology in the classroom as it is considered to be a distraction, these tools can complement the traditional learning environment given the increase in access to smartphones.