Mobile Apps for Grade 10 English

5 Apps to Assist with mLearning

Why mLearning?

mLearning can occur at any place, anytime. These apps I will feature will be used for inside the physical classroom to help enhance, and hopefully revolutionize the learning we do in the classroom. As smartphones, and tablets, become more and more common teachers need to evaluate and choose apps that will benefit their students, and keep children engaged in their learning.

The Apps:

1) Shakespeare Pro

Shakespeare can be the toughest author to teach as an educator. For every student who enjoys Shakespeare there are ten that cannot stand him. Most of us know a lot of student frustration comes from the language, and this becomes doubly difficult when students are ELL students. Shakespeare Pro (designed for iPads, iPhones and android devices for $9.99), helps with this. It contains the complete works of Shakespeare, including his sonnets. Students can take notes, and highlight directly on the app and share with friends. My favourite feature is the integrated glossary. You just have to tap on a word to see the definition. In addition the app provides help for understanding poetry terms and scansion.

2) Socrative Student & Socrative Teacher

Socrative Student and Socrative Teacher apps (available for free, for all platforms, mobile or online) work together in the classroom setting. Using the teacher app, educators can ask questions, give and grade quizzes, and view information in easy to interpret graphs. As a teacher this is brat because you can view where your students are at with their understanding of a particular subject and can easily view areas that need extra attention. For students it's a fun and accessible way to interact in their classroom. This is great for students to give and get real time feedback about their classroom experience. Gone are the days of telling the teacher, embarrassingly, that you do not understand the subject matter. In addition, gone are the days when time is wasted going over something everyone is familiar with. All this can be gaged with a simple quiz or poll administered through the apps. This is helpful in any class, but especially in grade ten, when you must establish what they have, or haven't learnt in the previous year.

3) LitCharts

LitCharts, from the creators of SparkNotes (available for free on the iPhone, and also available online), gives students basically everything you need to know about over 150 works of literature. This app assists with the reading and understanding of books. The app provides many of the features you would expect: summaries, character descriptions, and important quotes. However, what I found the most helpful part of the app is that the information is colour-coded by theme. These themes are searchable in any other part of the app. So if a student is doing an analysis of a book, instead of flipping through trying to find quotes that support their thesis, they can go into the app and search for all quotes pertaining to a certain theme. This app is great to contextualize the work in class. Because it is so readily available, online as well as an app, I would ask students to go through the LitChart for the novel at home to get some general information and a rudimentary understanding of the work before they come into the classroom.

4) Book Writer

Book Writer (available through iTunes for $4.99), is a great way for students to create their own stories. For personal or creative writing assignments this app allows students to create a multimedia eBook, complete with text, songs, video and pictures. While the app needs to be used on an apple mobile product, such as an iPhone or iPad, the books themselves can be viewed on any computer device, making sharing a breeze. Utilizing templates, and drag and drop, editing is easy for students of all ages. This is a way to enhance writing assignments and allowing students to explore their creativity, not only through their writing, but how that writing is being presented.

5) Literary Analysis Guide

The Literary Analysis Guide (available on apple and android devices for $2.99) gives definitions, examples, and a short analysis of important literary terms. In addition to featuring the most common terms, you can also use the app to look up lesser-known terms. This app not only helps explain terms and ideas, but show how to successfully apply the term to a literary analysis. This app is aimed for AP students, however this can be very helpful for students having trouble grasping literary concepts in any class setting, and has a very user-friendly interface. The main terms addressed in the app are ones that all students, AP, -1, or -2, will need to know. This is also excellent review before the assignment of an in-class essay, or a final exam.