These days advances in technology find their way in all aspects of our lives and the world of education is no exception. As more and more devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones become affordable and accessible to anyone, so do the number of educational software and mobile applications have grown accordingly.
Thus it’s truly an exciting time for schools where administrators, teachers, and students adopt and integrate these tools in order to make teaching and learning more enjoyable and fun, as well as running the schools in an efficient manner.
Here are 8 productivity apps that every school should use:
If you want an all-in-one solution for your classroom and eventually for the whole school, look no further than G Suite. Designed by Google to provide an affordable, comprehensive, simplified, secure, integrated, and versatile solution that can be accessed anywhere using several platforms such as iOS, Android, Windows, and via multiple devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Best of all, G Suite is free and available everywhere in the world.
G Suite includes:
- Google Classroom – the classroom management app that enables teachers and students to seamlessly assign and share assignments, foster collaborative work among students, provides the ability for teachers to give immediate feedback, keep track of students’ work, and provide updates to parents and guardians on class discussions and upcoming homework and tests.
- Gmail and Hangouts – provides communication for everyone through email and instant messaging.
- Productivity/Collaboration – Tools such as Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Forms are incorporated as well.
- Tasks Management – Tools such as Google Calendar and Google Keep (notes) are part of the package.
Do you remember those old-fashioned flashcards that help you with your vocabulary words when you were younger? Well, fast forward now and instead of these cards, you’ll get Quizlet and so much more. On their website, Quizlet is “an online tool that helps students (and their teachers) practice and master whatever they are learning.” It makes learning interactive and engages students in positive ways. Teachers can sign up for free where they can create Quizlet live games during class and/or you can search for thousands of study guides to help your students review for upcoming tests and assessments. You can also create your own study guide.
Yes, that’s right, you’re not mistaken. In fact, YouTube provides thousands of minutes of educational video content and is a great homework resource. YouTube is very beneficial to students who are visual learners and students with learning disabilities. The videos can complement and augment class lectures and discussions. Check out popular sites like Crash Course, TED-Ed, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, and PBS to name a few.
If you’re looking for a simple app to streamline classroom management, consider TeacherKit. It has all the essentials a teacher would need to manage his/her class such as track student attendance, record grades, add student behavior notes, and backup files using Dropbox. TeacherKit is multi-platform via iOS, Windows, and Android (but in a limited capacity), and is available in 7 languages (iOS) including English, Arabic, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Russian. TeacherKit has both a free and premium (paid) versions at about $40 a year. In order to fully utilize the features offered in its free version, iOS devices (iPad, iPhone) are a must.
With its mission “to provide a free, world-class education for everyone, anywhere,” Khan Academy certainly is on its way to accomplishing this goal. The academy offers a comprehensive list of subjects, ranging from math, sciences, engineering, arts and the humanities, computer coding, and economics and finance, and at varying grade levels starting as early as kindergarten. It offers several practice exercises and instructional videos on its website and on YouTube. What makes Khan Academy unique is that it not only caters to students but to anyone of any age who is willing to learn something new. Finally, Khan Academy also offers reviews for major undergraduate and postgraduate standardized tests such as the SAT/ACT, MCAT, and GMAT. Khan Academy is available on the web, iOS, and Android.
Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard tool that allows users to create and collaborate with just about anything. In terms of educational application, a teacher can create interesting and engaging videos to help explain and illustrate concepts, topics, and the lesson for the day. Students can also use the tool to make fun presentations and reports. Explain Everything is multi-platform, that is, it works on iOS, Android, and Windows, and with multiple devices. It can work with other applications such as Dropbox and G Suite for Education. Sadly, there is no free version but instead there’s a special pricing for Educators starting at about $5 per user per year (minimum 5 users).
Socratic offers an easy-to-navigate and simple tool to help students with their homework. Just type in the question or the topic in the search bar and voila, a search list of popular answers pop up. Subjects covered include math (pre-algebra to calculus), humanities (English, U.S. and world history), and the sciences (from biology to physics). Socratic is available free on the web, on iOS, and Android.
Every school strives for 100% student participation when it comes to school voting but running voting events the “old school” way just doesn’t make sense. Voting 4 Schools, is an easy way to set up, administer and manage all types of voting events for schools online. In full disclosure, this is one of more than half a dozen apps that we’ve created specifically to help schools and teachers become more efficient.
Technology certainly opens up plenty of opportunities to learn, to collaborate, and to be productive in a fun and interactive environment so that everyone benefits, especially the students. As you move forward through the school year and beyond, consider using these productivity apps to help make your teaching day a little easier and go even smoother.
Happy teaching and happy learning!
Based in Orange County, CA, Software 4 Schools was founded in 2008 by Ben Star and Michael Buss who were teaching at that time and who wanted to make the school dance’s ticketing run efficiently and record sales and attendance accurately. They developed their own software and hardware and have since branched out to address other tasks that their fellow teachers and school administrators find tedious and take the most time out of their days. Click here for more information.