BYOD and Finding Apps for Education

Mobile is the big thing in computers, and apps is the big thing in software for those mobile devices, but educators and schools are still behind these trends.

That's not surprising. It took longer to get computers and then the Internet into classrooms than all the prognosticators were saying 25 years ago.

Students, especially at the higher levels, are bringing their own devices to class. That's enough of a trend in itself that a search on BYOD will turn up lots of results. As is often the case with technology, the business world has already been dealing with BYOD issues (such as usage policies) before schools gave it any serious thought. BYOD has a Wikipedia entry too, so it's official.

Students bringing their own technology (smartphones, tablets, and laptops) is moving down from higher ed to K-12 education. The model has always been that schools provided the technology that students would need. Some of that tech "funding" is being passed on to students and parents without schools even asking via the BYOD trend. This has also reduced a school's responsibility for support and upgrades.

But one thing that hasn't changed much in 25 years is deciding what software should be used. Schools or teachers still have most of the control over content and oftentimes that also means the software.

In 1990, there may have been dozens of software titles in an academic area and it was difficult to preview, review and test them. With the rise of apps on mobile devices, there are hundreds or thousands of titles to sift through to find ones with good educational uses.

Most educators don't have the time to go through the process. More and more, textbook companies drive adoption by bundling software with textbooks.  Hopefully, educators can begin to use the filters, curation and recommendations of peers aided by sites (and even apps) and contribute their own reviews for others.

I find many more sites with a K-12 focus rather than higher ed, so far. Here are a few samples:

IEAR- I Education Apps Review - reviews on apps, schools spreadsheets of Apps, student reviews

SNapps4Kids these reviews have an embedded list of skills that are addressed in the app (very important in K-12's world of objectives and assessment

Scoop it- Recommended Educational App Lists  - on this site you can join or just look at the reviews

Apps in Education - a blog that includes apps for music, math, English, special needs and more

App Advice is interesting because it is a website and also an app itself. The appadvice app is $1.99.

Have you found other reliable sources?

Some Free Classroom Apps

There are many free apps that can be used in the classroom. You have to be a creative teacher to use elementary apps effectively with students too young to have phones, but teachers are using iPads and tablets in classrooms and sometimes even getting parents to use apps on their own devices at home. Here are some via techlearning.com. Some are free. Some are free versions of apps that are available at a cost but are available in free lite versions (some may have ads).

Math


Basic Math - This app offers basic operations of math with choices. It allows teachers to see student’s score and email results to parents.


Mad Math Lite - If your classroom has limited iPads, this app allows you to have more than one user. In addition, it enables you to set the student’s setting depending what operation they are working on. This app records a report card on the student’s progress.


Coins Genius - This app is a good introduction to coins. It is limited in the free version, but it does give you a chance to see if this would be a good tool for your class.


Calculator Pro - A standard calculator in vertical mode and a scientific calculator in landscape mode.


EaselAlgebra ilite - Easel combines interactive, hands-on algebra workbooks with instant "ShowMe" lessons. If you get stuck on a problem, just tap "ShowMe" and see a step-by-step animation of how to solve the problem.


HMH-Fuse Geometry- A completely self-contained, interactive curriculum on the iPad.


Elementary Language Arts


My Spelling Test - Create your own spelling tests with your weekly words. Students can
test themselves. Allows students to see what words they got right and wrong. Teachers can track student’s work to make sure they stay on level.


ABC Phonics sigh words - Uses the DOLCH spelling words. The app has flashcards, drag and spell, and unscramble.


Wordweb Dictionary - The WordWeb English dictionary and thesaurus: fast searching, spelling suggestions, definitions, usage examples, synonyms, related words - and no ads


Free ebooks -  Download app, then join for free. Download five free books a month.


Paperdesk lite - Leave behind your paper notebook for your next class lecture or meeting. PaperDesk is a simple notebook replacement made for the iPad. The design goal behind PaperDesk was to mimic, as closely as possible, a simple pad of paper with no unnecessary frills.


Foreign Language


Spanish Tutor 24/7 - Goes
beyond the simple talking phrasebook or flashcard programs, providing a set of interactive study tools that helps users learn Spanish. Also available for French: French Tutor 24/7.


Sign Language - How to fingerspell words, numbers, express basic sentences, idioms and learn about deaf culture.