Classroom Technology: There's an App for That

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jul. 16, 2012 12:00 am  

Classroom applications run the gamut from being designed specifically for teachers and students to being general applications used for specific projects in classes. Following are a few examples popular with teachers in the K-12 realm.

Apple TV: Not actually an app but an additional device, this service's strength is its ability to connect to a larger screen wirelessly. Teachers can use it to display their iPod on a large screen while remaining mobile. It requires a usable Wi-Fi network to work properly, however.

Education Games: Apple's App Store offers a number of "edutainment" games. Michael Graham, instructional technologist at Harrisburg Middle School, said these can be useful, but only to a point.

"Education apps tend to have a narrow focus and push learning toward the bottom of the learning continuum," he said.

Graham said these types of games "have a place in the learning process but they are limited."

Some examples are Factor Samurai, Algebra Touch and Stack the States.

Blackboard: A web hosting platform frequently used by schools, Blackboard also offers a mobile version for tablets and smartphones.

SonicPics: Graham said this app is popular among students. They can use it to record a voiceover for a custom photo slideshow and then post it to the school's YouTube or Facebook page. It's often used to let students report on subjects interesting to them, Graham said.

Google Maps: Google's extensive map network grows every day, and Graham said it's great for helping students understand locations, especially when students can directly interact with them.

"Students can explore any part of the world and use features like Street View to walk down a street in Rome and take a stroll past the Coliseum," he said. "Maps calculates distances, gives directions and sometimes you can actually walk into buildings like the White House or Detroit Zoo."



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