5 Useful Education Apps

For K-12 Students

Fun, Functional, and Free

With the implementation of mobile technology in the classroom and incorporation of mobile devices in everyday lives, applications (or apps) have emerged. They range in purposes (games, education, productivity, photography, utilities, video, music), in usefulness for that purpose, and in price. As teachers, we need to be able to find apps that fulfill our goals of teaching students with a broader range of possibilities, while being fun for the students and free for everyone. This flyer is a compilation of my favorite apps that meet these three criteria.

1. Khan Academy

Just keeps growing...

I was first introduced to Khan Academy four years ago when it was just a small website with short YouTube videos. I needed extra calculus help that my high school teacher could not provide since I was ahead of the class. He directed me to this site and it has forever changed my life. I have watched it grow into an interactive website, and an extremely successful app.

Students in any grade can now use this app, as they have acquired more instructors to make videos for all subjects in all age groups. They began an interactive approach of providing extra practice with immediate results and feedback. It also provides an opportunity to jump ahead of the class or catch up with the class, and learn any time, any where, any way.

It is fun. It is definitely useful. And it's free.

How to Use Khan Academy with My Child

2. PBS

Videos outside the classroom...

Instead of watching a movie in the classroom (which is the day all students get excited because they can snooze in the dark, and thus, an instructional waste), the homework can be to watch outside of the classroom. The teacher can then discuss in the classroom at a specific date, instead of providing that nap or chat time.

Likewise, students may have a certain interest in a subject that teachers do not have the time to explore. They can direct students to the videos they find informative and interesting.

3. Frugoton

Numbers, Shapes, and Colors

These apps provide early elementary students with identifying numbers, shapes, and colors. The app provides interactivity by letting the user trace the numbers, thus helping them learn how to write as well.

Some parents dedicate all their time to teaching their child, or buy television programs that they can sit their kids in front of, but most parents have to work or can't afford these expensive educational tools, so their kids start school with very minimal knowledge. Since all kids develop and learn at different paces, it will always be the case that some students need extra help or would like extra practice, and with these apps, they can do just that.

4. Vocabulary for GRE, SAT, ACT, GMAT....

And many more...

Vocabulary is something everyone can improve on. There are hundreds of thousands words out there that students have never been exposed to. Aimed at high school students (not to say that younger students cannot take advantage) about to take one of the most important tests of their lives, this app can also just be a daily game. Students can practice while they're on the bus or train, during downtime, etc. Sometimes a huge textbook is intimidating. Presenting these words in small chunks also allows for better understanding and retention.

In the end, they may just memorize these words for a test, but I'm willing to bet that with this format, they'll remember these words for the rest of their lives and actually apply them in normal conversations.

5. Read Me Stories - Children's books

In the car, at bedtime, anytime...

The ideal is to provide extra practice at any time in any place. This app is a perfect way to provide this while disguising it as a story. Kids can read a book along with the voice, allowing for optimal learning. I remember when kids used to hate reading for class so much that they even hated it outside of class. This stems from the lack of confidence that comes with lack of support. The main goal of this app is to provide that support in a way that the kids don't realize that they're learning. New stories come up daily, so kids are never encountered with boredom and repetition. There is no way that they'll memorize a story and just repeat it back without actually reading the words.