As the year is coming to an end, we’ve asked top tech bloggers and influencers to look back at the apps and tools they’ve particularly loved using in the classroom in 2016. From classroom management and productivity through “digital creativity” to science and coding, these recommendations are packed with tips to simplify the life of elementary school teachers and enhance learning.
“ScienceBob is a web based app dedicated to students’ scientific learning. From the website’s homepage, students can access multiple features for exploration. The “Experiments” feature offers students a few dozen experiments that they can conduct. Each experiment includes a video, list of supplies, descriptive procedures, an explanation of the science used in the experiment, and concluding questions. In addition, each experiment can be downloaded as a PDF. The “Science Fair Ideas” feature is designed to support student users in planning and completing a project. The website offers student users ideas for creating a project, information about the Scientific Method, additional resources, and tips.” Read the full review of this app at AppEdReview.com.
Recommended by Kelly Walsch of EmergingEdTech.com
“From class photos to poster projects, it’s easy to lose track of all the great memories that happen in our classrooms and our lives. As we transition from analog to digital lives, many people still hand us printed photographs that we treasure, but which ultimately end up in the back of a shoebox. Google Photo Scan is the answer I’ve been waiting for, creating an easy way to upload a good quality scan of important pictures straight from your phone. While there have been plenty of “scanner” apps, none put everything together as well as Google. It can grab high quality scans through reflective glass and awkward angles. If you use Google Photos, it will send your pictures straight into the service and keep all your important images organized for you and easily accessible. Google Photo Scan is a MUST have for teachers trying to get across the bridge from analog to digital.”
Recommended by Brent Warner from www.EdTech.tv.
“One of my favorite creation apps for elementary students is Pic College. At first glance, Pic Collage seems like just a photo collage app, but with the ability to search the web for images, add text, crop images into any shape, and then arrange all of the elements freestyle on a canvas, the possibilities for what students can create is endless! Pic Collage also has a robust photo editing tool right in the app which allows for filters, various effects and even drawing & writing on pictures with the pen tool. We create digital posters, digital crafts, play iPad Scoot and complete graphic organizers on the app. Finally, finished projects on Pic College save onto the camera roll and can be easily shared or used in app-smashing projects. Pic College is currently available for iPads, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows 10 users. See many of the ways my third graders have used Pic College in the classroom here.”
Recommended by Erin Flanagan from erintegration.com.
“One app that I absolutely love is Periscope. Periscope is a free app that allows you to live broadcast any event or activity and allows for live interaction from an audience. As an elementary campus we have used Periscope to share out our music programs, fun games, and more that some parents can’t attend. We even have teachers using Periscope to share out the learning in their class! Periscope can also be set up where you only share you broadcast with a closed list of pre-approved viewers! As an elementary principal, I also love using Periscope to share my own ideas, give my students a voice, and share different activities and perspectives from around the school! All you have to do is pick up a device, open up Periscope, and start broadcasting, it’s that easy!! (An added bonus is that your Periscope recordings download directly to your camera roll so you an upload to YouTube later!).”
Recommended by Todd Nesloney from www.toddnesloney.com.
“Google Classroom is one of the most valuable applications for educators using G Suite for Education. Google Classroom provides opportunities for students to become engaged, communicating and collaborating with one another in an online environment. Integrating perfectly with Google Drive and the core suite of G Suite applications, Classroom streamlines workflow for teacher and students. Google Classroom facilitates an opportunity for teachers to easily create announcements, assignments, or questions. Questions in Google Classroom can be used for formative assessment, exit tickets, and threaded conversations between students and teachers. Overall, with its always FREE Android, iOS, and web interfaces, Google Classroom is one of my favorite education applications on the market today!”
Recommended by Avra Robinson from edtechteacher.org.
“The Clever application is a definite must have in any school environment. Clever syncs with your Student Information System so your students can have instant log-in access to applications. School districts set up their “portals” with apps that are used in classroom settings. Students simply just click on the app and it takes them directly to the learning piece without the hassle of typing in usernames and passwords. For our littlest learners, we incorporate the Clever badge system. Our students have a digital badge, scan it on their iPads, and are taken instantly to our Districts Clever portal where they can access their applications. It has streamlined our technology integration ten fold. Students can get to the learning app instantly without technology getting in the way. Academic time is not lost by typing in username and passwords anymore. Absolutely LOVE Clever and how it has catapulted our district to get learning in the hands of our students faster.”
Recommended by Susan Oehlertz from PAC Technology Integration blog.
“Computer Science isn’t a required class in all schools but the skills that students can attain from this subject are extremely beneficial for students of all ages. The trick is to start teaching students how to code and be innovative at a young age, some say it’s similar to learning a new language. There are two websites that require no prep for teachers that are perfect for K-12 students to learn about coding. The first website is scratch.mit.edu: This site is a free program where you can create interactive stories, games, music, and art with step by step tutorials for students. This website is created to making programming simpler. The other website is code.org. It is a free non-profit organization that has made coding simple to learn for all ages. It has wonderful lessons for students that can be taught with a computer, or unplugged. It comes with full lesson plans for teachers and even has students learn coding with fun games such as angry birds, frozen movie, star wars, and so much more! We have personally used these websites in our classrooms and our students loved them! If you are interested in more websites that benefit your classroom check out our resource website www.kstechtwins.com“.
Recommended by Nichole and Samantha from kstechtwins.com.
This year I’m so excited about the way the Adobe Spark tools have been embraced by teachers. I love tools that are available on multiple platforms – both iPad and Chromebook friendly. Spark Video lets users create video presentations with images, video clips, text, icons, music and voice. Content creation tools give students lots of ways to demonstrate their understanding and connect with an authentic audience.
Recommended by Monica Burns from classtechtips.com.
The Toontastic app has various backgrounds and characters to build a story. Students can draw their own characters, design their own background, or even use a camera feature. It can be as simple as creating one scene or multiple scenes. This app really helps students understand the critical parts that make up a story. When finished, the short video can be saved to the camera roll and shared with others. Overall, this app is a great way to use digital creativity in the classroom.
Recommended by Julie de Felice from Creatively Crazy with Learning.
As teachers we can barely keep track of our set schedules, running from classes to meetings to committees and right back to classes. Nevermind adding in special meetings with students, parents, or even co-workers. It can be tricky to set up times for all the people who need to meet with you, and that’s where youcanbook.me helps out. While the service is ostensibly built for independent workers, it fits in perfectly for busy teachers. Just share out an email or embed a calendar right onto your website/LMS and avoid all the back-and-forth trying to figure out when you can meet. Pro hint: Stick with the free version – it’ll cover your needs!
Recommended by Brent Warner from www.EdTech.tv.
“Where does all the time go? Most teachers scurry about and never seem to have enough time. Although phones, tablets, and devices can suck you into a time wasting vortex, they can also be a teacher’s lifeline for time management. One of my favorite apps for time management is a simple alarm. Why do you need an alarm clock for teaching? So that you and your students are ON TIME! I set alarms for lunch, PE, recess and clean up at the end of the day. I also set alarms for when students need to leave the room for gifted or special education. Alarms even help keep our administrators on a schedule. No meetings run long when all of the 3rd grade teachers’ alarms are going off and it is time to pick up students. I also set an alarm for when I am supposed to LEAVE school- a reminder to go home! I am currently using the free I Can’t Wake Up app. One reason I like this app so much is its ease of use. It is super easy to set up an alarm time, sound, and days. I love that I can even name the alarm. I know it is a simple app and definitely not the most flashy. But it IS the app I use the most in the classroom!”
Recommended by Amy Wendel from techcrazyteacher.com.
Google Keep is one of the many free gems that comes with your Google account. It’s a minimalized note-taking tool for teachers and students that can include text, images, pictures, bullets, and links. Notes can be color-coded, archived, and shared with all stakeholders. Highly recommended!
Recommended by Jacqui Murray of askatechteacher.com
BONUS: ClassTag Ambassador’s Recommendations
We got together with ClassTag Ambassador Rebecca, who shared her engagement secrets and apps she’ll be using next year. Rebecca is a kindergarten teacher who successfully engaged 100% of parents this year using ClassTag. Get her tips and set yourself up for success in 2017.