Mobile apps for Social Studies

EDU 210: Module 9 - Mobile Learning

A note about choosing apps

It is important to note that as a Canadian (yay!) there are a lot of app options out there that cater to American students and classrooms. So, when I (and when you) are considering good apps for teaching, it is important to keep in mind that not all apps may be Canadian-friendly!

Google Earth

What it is:

Google Earth! This app is all about exploring the planet. We can see the world as a whole or zoom right in on someone's house. Simply put, this is an amazingly interactive and detailed atlas.

What it could do:

On our exploration of the history of Japan, we could observe some of the major capitals/trade hubs and compare them to the modern cities of today. For example, the renaming of Edo to Tokyo. Further, we could use Google Earth to compare the land mass of Japan to Canada. Japan has more 4 times as many people as Canada, and it is such a small geographical location!

Stack the Countries

What it is:

Another app only for the iOS here. "Stack the Countries" is different from the previous two apps because this one is a game! Everyone knows that children love to play games, and this app works to help students learn facts about the 196 countries, including their capitals, landmarks, major cities, continents, border countries, languages, flags and country shapes.

What it could do:

Simply put, we could use this app/game as a weekly quiz about the world. Students could, once a week, have a session where they play this game about a specific part of the world, for example, label 10/20 countries in Europe and match their shapes. This could also be used to illustrate how country boundaries and borders have shifted over history. In Europe alone, there were many border changes from 1900-2000.

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Back in Time

What it is:

This app is only for the iOS, but is amazing! It is an e-textbook with lots of interactivity and pictures. It was voted one of the top 10 E-Books and has won several awards. Basically, this app lets you explore the history of countries, societies, and peoples, all while being engaging and fun.

What it could do:

It could be used to explain and explore The French Revolution, which is normally a confusing and multifaceted topic. This E-Book would allow for learners who struggle with complex topics to achieve a greater level of learning because of the interactivity and user-friendly nature of Back in Time. A textbook with this level of student-centered content would be invaluable in an exploration of this historical issue.


What it is:

This app is designed for users to ask a question and provide answers and see real-time results to their question. Poutsch was created to allow for surveys and debates to happen instantly between friends or between individuals from across the world.

What it could do:

In my class, I could pose a question as a review from the previous class about something we learned. It could be a good "primer" for the students to get their brains attuned to what we are going to be talking about that day. Further, it could allow me to assess the level at which the material has been understood or not understood. For example, I could ask "What started World War I"? and the students could provide their choices, which we could see in real-time.

Poutsch iPhone app gives users instant feedback on questions


What it is: This app lets users view, create, and explore rap/hip-hop songs about educational themes. There are thousands of songs already created that students can view, or they can create their own. Simply speaking, this app allows for a level of engagement about a required topic that could not be as easily achieved from reading the textbook.

What it could do:

While I don't think it would be fair to assign students to create and film their own rap song (i'd hate any teacher that did that to me), I'd certainly give them the option to do so. Or conversely if they didn't want to create their own rap song, I could encourage them to find one about a given topic that they enjoy, and write a short one-page paper on it and what they liked about it, with an emphasis on the lyrics (and not on the beat).

Flocabulary - Test-Taking Vocabulary