Working as a teacher is tantamount to performing a balancing act. From planning for the next day’s lessons to meeting with students and contacting parents, the list of duties a teacher must complete is sizable indeed. Modern teachers have an advantage over their predecessors; today, there are digital tools teachers can use to keep their heads above water. A number of mobile apps offer help to frazzled educators, making the task of teaching one they can manage with greater ease.
1. Teacher Pal
Teacher Pal is the perfect app for the trying-to-balance-everything instructor. This free app allows teachers to do everything from taking attendance to keeping a digital gradebook. Teachers can even upload students’ pictures and create profiles that contain notes about students’ classroom performance, such as reminders about who to recommend for a scholarship or department award.
Available for $9.99, the Keynote app allows teachers to project a PowerPoint presentation via mobile device, rather than toting a laptop to and from class (especially nice for that long haul across campus). Professors can also create new slideshows directly in Keynote, making it possible to whip up last-minute lessons on the go that will enhance the classroom experience.
3. Stick Pick
Picking students at random by drawing labeled Popsicle sticks from a jar is an en vogue practice for today’s teachers. It ensures that all students participate in the lesson – something university professors might want to keep in mind for the student who thinks he is safe ‘hiding’ among his peers in a lecture hall. Modern teachers can digitize this process with the use of the Stick Pick app ($2.99) for their iPhones. This app features a digital tin can and digitized sticks on which teachers can type students’ names. When time comes to randomly pick a pupil, teachers need only to pull up the app and touch one of the sticks protruding from the can.
For many teachers, keeping track files saved on multiple devices can be quite confusing. Educators who find themselves constantly leaving a digital file on their school computer or saving their lesson plans on their home desktops will benefit from the use of the Dropbox app, which is available for free (although teachers can upgrade their accounts to gain more storage space). With Dropbox, teachers can store files on a cloud free of charge, ensuring they can access their files from any device, regardless of it origination.
With the help of the Edmodo app (available at no cost), learning doesn’t have to stop when students leave the classroom. This app allows teachers to create profiles on edmodo.com, a social networking site intended for exchange of thoughts and ideas. Students can respond to teacher-posted prompts as homework, and with the aid of the app, comment on the students’ posts in real time. Learning will become more meaningful for tech-savvy learners and encourage students to think about lessons outside of the classroom.
With one or more of these mobile apps at teachers’ fingertips, those who are pushed to the limits with grading, keeping track of their students, and assigning homework can take a breather yet still remain focused and ready for the next class meeting.