10 Must-Have Apps for the Classroom


Photo by Ash Kyd


The Google Marketplace can be daunting place. As a classroom teachers, researching apps that correlate with your curriculum can be a time-consuming and lengthy process. However, if chosen correctly apps can be a powerful academic tool to enhance learning and instruction.

Here are ten apps that can be used in the classroom:

1. Symbaloo– Symbaloo is a must have tool for students and teachers alike. By now, you have probably assembled a list of websites that are considered classroom favorites. Create a sharable webmix with Symabloo EDU. Using visual tiles,  your websites are organized and saved in the cloud for easy access. Symbaloo provides many benefits by:

  • Creating a safe platform for your students to use when surfing the internet.
  • Saving valuable instructional time by avoiding the manual input of web addresses.
  • Being saved in the cloud allowing access from any mobile device.
  • Being a versatile tool for Grades 5 and up.

2. Global Shark Tracker – Super cool to say the least, offfers the Global Shark Tracker app which allows the user to follow the migration and navigational patterns of sharks.  Grades 4 and up

3. Operation Math– Operation Math provides math practice for ages 5-10 in an engaging game format. Complete with global missions, spies, and an evil mastermind, Operation Math will put the students on track for leveled and focused math practice.

4. 50 States– Keep it simple with this straightforward and effective tool. 50 states is a fun and interactive way to learn states, capitals, and facts using flashcards and quizzes.

5. Brainpop Featured Movie– One of my all time favorite web-based tools is Brain Pop. Now Brainpop offers a movie of the day app that explores a wide variety of relevant topics for your students. Each featured movie is followed by an interactive quiz. Note: your students will love Tim and Moby, BrainPop’s two regular and comical characters.

For early elementary students:

6. Read/Write Phonics– A favorite early literacy app, Read/Write Phonics teaches reading and writing using an easy to use format. Kids can listen to sounds, practice writing, and earn rewards for mastery.

7. ABC 123 Fun– Ideal for Kindergarten and younger, ABC 123 is interactive practice of letters and numbers. Based on virtual flashcards, kids are fully immersed in multimedia learning.

8. My First Letters– Aimed at preschoolers through first grade, My First Letters is a highly rated letter tracing app. My First Letters contain 66 levels and turns letter writing into an adventure by challenging kids to help the baby ladybugs find their mother. Innovative and fun for emerging writers.

9. Eggy Alphabet– Brought to you by the popular reading website Reading Eggs, Eggy Alphabet is focused on honing alphabet and handwriting skills.  With over 208 fully interactive activities, progress monitoring capabilities, and varied levels, Eggy Alphabet is a must have for the early learning classroom.

10. Crabby Writer– Crabby Writer is a teacher created app that focuses on writing, reading, literacy, and phonics.  Designed for preschool through first grade, Crabby Writer simply makes learning fun for kids.



Choosing Apps for the Classroom



 Photo Credit: Daniel Go via Flickr(CC 2.0)

Aimed at improving and enhancing the learning process, mobile devices are being deployed in classrooms nationwide. The result? An onslaught of educational apps that promise to make learning easier, differentiated, and most importantly enjoyable to the student.

Over the course of  two years, I have been immersed in a newly initiated, district wide, one to one computing program consisting of Android tablets.  While working with multiple grade level teachers, the most popular question remains to be about apps that correlate with the existing curriculum.

The app market can certainly be  daunting when searching for quality apps. Gathering apps requires certain criteria for an educator to keep in mind along with the mindset that the app, as well as with any other tech tool, loses effectiveness without proper teacher guidance. Author Jeff Dunn provides a  checklist of criteria ideal for choosing apps or reviewing the current apps that you use. In his article, 10 Criteria Teachers Should Use to Find The Best Apps, Dunn suggests a simple ranking process to ensure apps are best fit to support your curriculum and learning environment.

Choosing apps can simplified by referring to some experts in the field–your students.  Giving students a say in selecting apps for the classroom will foster ownership in the learning process while developing content specific skills.  Harry G. Tuttle’s article, Giving Students a Voice in App Selection, outlines the effectiveness of including students in the selection process.

Whether you are choosing new apps or doing some spring cleaning with old apps, consider implementing a selection criteria and allowing your students to contribute to the process.