Classroom Mobile Apps

Five great apps to use in your classroom!

Facebook

This app is quick and easy to use for anyone aged 13 and up. You can use it to chat, send messages or create events and pages, as well as post pictures and statuses to keep people in your life updated. As a classroom tool, it can be used as a class update page; for example, if I was teaching grade 9 English, I would make a page called, "Ms. Abbass's Grade 9 ELA" where I could post homework updates and answer students' questions about assignments. It is kept completely separate from my personal Facebook account and can still provide me more instant communication than something like email.

Instagram

Instagram is a photo and video sharing app for people all around the world to post creative media with captions and hashtags used to filter and search more relevant posts to one's interests. As a photography or arts teacher, Instagram could be used in an assignment where students are asked to capture images - a lighting assignment, for example, could be done via Instagram, where the students post their projects and use a classroom hashtag to help the teacher locate and assess it (#msabbassphotoproject).

Twitter

Twitter is an app for short attention spans - the short character limit on all "tweets" (postings by users) keeps thoughts condensed and precise. Users can follow each other and tweet at or retweet their favourite posts. In an English classroom, a fun activity would be to challenge students to create a "story" in 140 characters or less - the Twitter tweet maximum. This can encourage precision in diction, eliminate superfluous description and all sorts of other problems that can arise from a lengthy word limit.

Pinterest

Another great app for creating different interest boards, finding recipes, photos, inspiration, info graphs, ideas and tutorials, Pinterest is about sharing and organizing interests. Users can create different boards that speak to different hobbies or interests, and then share them with other users or even search other users' boards to find their own inspiration. In a classroom, this can be used to share things like TedTalks or other videos that students could use to supplement a lesson taught in-class. In a home economics class, it could be used for tutorials on nail painting, braiding, or knitting and sewing.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This app is a handheld dictionary. With the ability to search any word in the English language, as well as synonyms, antonyms and pronunciation, it can be a big help to anyone in the classroom in a variety of settings. It can be used to help with essay-writing, or even as a class start-up as it features a word of the day each day - the teacher could create journal writing entries that focus or incorporate the word of the day, expanding students' vocabulary one day at a time.