APPS IN THE CLASS­ROOM

Tools to Stream­line Study Time

iPhone Life Magazine - - Education - by Carolyn Grayson

As a ca­reer ed­u­ca­tor, I’ve wit­nessed the rapid shift in at­ti­tude to­ward the role of mo­bile tech­nol­ogy in the class­room. Less than five years ago, I re­mem­ber in­sist­ing that my stu­dents put away their phones while in class. To­day, I’m ask­ing kids to take them out of their back­packs to help with school­work. The iPhone is a teacher’s dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy—an in­no­va­tion that com­pletely changes an ecosys­tem—and that’s a good thing.

The iPhone, even more than the iPad, has im­proved the way teach­ers and stu­dents com­mu­ni­cate, help­ing ed­u­ca­tors cre­ate more in­ter­ac­tive, ac­ces­si­ble, and per­son­al­ized cur­ricu­lums. Why the iPhone over the iPad? Not ev­ery school dis­trict has the means to sup­ply an iPad to each stu­dent, and in my ex­pe­ri­ence, when given a choice, most teenagers pre­fer own­ing an iPhone to an iPad.

If you’re the par­ent of a high school stu­dent, I highly sug­gest get­ting him or her an iPhone the next time you’re able to up­grade—or, if cost is a con­cern, con­sider pur­chas­ing a sec­ond­hand model or an­other in­ex­pen­sive In­ter­net-en­abled de­vice that your teen can use to connect to the se­cure Wi-Fi

at school. My goal is to get stu­dents to see their de­vices as tools for class­work dur­ing school hours. Here are just a few apps that not only help stu­dents in the class­room, but that also help teach­ers pre­pare their stu­dents for fu­ture suc­cess in the work­place. Ever­note (Free) Ever­note is a won­der­ful note-tak­ing app that al­lows stu­dents to type or dic­tate notes, as well as save pho­tos and web clip­pings in one place. Since Ever­note stores in­for­ma­tion in the cloud, stu­dents will al­ways have ac­cess to the doc­u­ments they need for class. Shared fold­ers among stu­dents, class­mates, and teach­ers al­low for col­lab­o­ra­tion, mak­ing it easy for teach­ers to share hand­outs and ar­ti­cles with the en­tire class, as well as add com­ments and sug­ges­tions to as­sign­ments.

Ever­note helps bridge the gap be­tween the for­mer state­spe­cific stan­dards and the new Com­mon Core stan­dards for math and English lan­guage arts. Be­cause some text­books are out­dated and do not ad­dress the types of read­ing as­sign­ments re­quired by Com­mon Core stan­dards, teach­ers can find news ar­ti­cles and clas­sic lit­er­a­ture in the public domain to share with their stu­dents in Ever­note. In fact, I’m cur­rently us­ing Ever­note to study Shake­speare with my sopho­mores, who use the app to im­port the text, take notes, high­light pas­sages, and re­ceive work­sheets from me.

Ever­note is, in essence, each stu­dent’s dig­i­tal­ized port­fo­lio. At the end of the school year, I en­cour­age my 10th-grade stu­dents to share their fold­ers with the 11th-grade Lan­guage Arts teacher, so that he or she gets a sense of each stu­dent’s skill level and learn­ing style in ad­vance. iBooks (Free) We all want our teens to read more, and Ap­ple's iBooks makes it easy for stu­dents to read on the go. Along with of­fer­ing the con­ve­nience of hav­ing your text handy at all times, the app also al­lows read­ers to ma­nip­u­late the font in or­der to ac­com­mo­date in­di­vid­ual pref­er­ences. Although the app is free, most books have an ad­di­tional cost—though those in the public domain (as well as all e-books that meet ePub stan­dards) are free to down­load. This means most of the clas­sics nor­mally cov­ered in the class­room will be free of charge.

The app al­lows stu­dents to mark up and high­light text, add com­ments, and email copies of read­ing notes to teach­ers and class­mates. Some books also in­clude au­di­tory sup­port and a built-in dic­tio­nary for strug­gling read­ers or ESL stu­dents. Pocket (Free) Pocket is a web-clip­ping app that al­lows stu­dents off­line ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion saved from the In­ter­net. It’s per­fect for stor­ing ar­ti­cles to cite later when writ­ing a re­port or es­say. Some­times, when stu­dents have a dif­fi­cult time de­ter­min­ing what makes a source re­li­able, I have them save the source ma­te­rial to their Pocket ac­count and share it with me for ap­proval. The process is quick and easy, and doesn’t re­quire print­ing—mean­ing stu­dents can’t use the ex­cuse, “Uh…I for­got it at home.”

Like iBooks, Pocket lets stu­dents ma­nip­u­late text size ac­cord­ing to their eye­sight. The app can also be used in con­junc­tion with Ever­note. Zite (Free) One of the chal­lenges of writ­ing a good re­search pa­per is back­ing up your the­sis with in­for­ma­tion from re­li­able sources. Zite, a mag­a­zine-like app, as­sem­bles web post­ings from cred­i­ble sources in one con­ve­nient place. It works well with both Pocket and Ever­note to make re­search­ing easy. Stu­dents can build com­pre­hen­sive lists on var­i­ous top­ics, then scroll through the ar­ti­cles to com­pare and con­trast po­ten­tial ev­i­dence be­fore in­clud­ing their find­ings in their es­says. Nota­bil­ity ($4.99) Some­times you just need to be able to write. Not type, not tap, but write. That’s where Nota­bil­ity comes into play. The app al­lows stu­dents to take hand­writ­ten notes with their fin­gers or a sty­lus, as well as type notes, im­port pho­tos, and record au­dio. This is a great app for an­no­tat­ing dig­i­tal texts for class­room dis­cus­sions or for fill­ing in work­sheets. Stu­dents can im­port PDFs, write on them, and then send them back to their teacher, ei­ther in per­son or re­motely. CamS­can­ner Free (Free) Through CamS­can­ner, stu­dents can scan hand­outs, text­books, and ar­ti­cles us­ing their smart­phone cam­eras. This comes in handy when a stu­dent doesn’t want to lug sev­eral heavy text­books home, or when a sub­sti­tute teacher col­lects work and stu­dents fear that it won’t get back to their teacher. Once you’ve scanned a doc­u­ment, you can edit and email it. Stu­dents with spe­cial needs can zoom in and high­light text for eas­ier read­ing.

Carolyn Grayson has been an ed­u­ca­tor in the public school sys­tem for 12 years where she pi­o­neered bring­ing tech­nol­ogy into the class­room. In ad­di­tion to teach­ing high school, she is work­ing on a grad­u­ate de­gree in ed­u­ca­tional tech­nol­ogy and teaches spin c

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