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Tech-Less to Techie – Part 3: Best Classroom Apps

Tech-Less to Techie – Part 3: Best Classroom Apps

best classroom apps

You can check out Part 2 HERE! Today we are looking at the BEST classroom apps to use. Thanks to my friend Katie Martin for such a great series on using technology in the classroom!




Student Voice and Choice – Look What We Can Do!

Chaos, Flexible, Fun, Engaging, Patience. Those are some words I would use to describe integrating technology in the classroom. Chaos because there are more kids than adults to assist with the technology.  Flexible because when the app or tablet or internet decides to crash, you’d better have a backup plan. Fun and engaging because, well, who doesn’t love putting aside the paper and pencil and exploring a new way to learn? Lastly, patience because it’s technology; it doesn’t always work, and what seems like an amazing idea in your brain doesn’t always turn out to be the most amazing idea in real life. BUT through all of this my students have learned, and I have learned as well.

Students Learn Differently!

One of the biggest aspects of teaching, and especially teaching special ed, is that not all students learn the same way and at the same rate. Not all students can answer a question, write a paper, solve a math problem, or express their ideas in the same way. Once I was able to build the technology in my classroom, I was able to give my students “voice and choice” when it came to learning and showing me their thinking and understanding. The best classroom apps for students to use to demonstrate their understanding of the content are ChatterPix, Pic Collage, and iMovie.

Chatterpix

best classroom apps

I use ChatterPix a lot for Social Studies. My students take a picture of a famous American they are studying, draw a mouth on their person, and then record themselves explaining what they know. The louder they talk the bigger the mouth gets on the person. My students are usually able to verbally express 3 things they had learned about that famous American without any stress and frustration versus having to write sentences explaining what they know about the person.

– Student Work –

Pic Collage

best classroom apps

Pic Collage is my go-to favorite app for integrating technology into reading. My students have used Pic Collage to complete graphic organizers for comparing and contrasting as well as explaining various elements of a literary text. They have also used Pic Collage to go on a nonfiction text feature hunt.  My students also used Pic Collage for a reading activity/science PBL where they created a collage of an animal they had researched. They were able to insert pictures and label the pictures to identify the animal’s habitat, food, and an interesting fact.

– Student Work –

best classroom apps

best classroom apps




iMovie

best classroom apps

iMovie has been a great way for my students to publish their writings. Writing is definitely a non-preferred activity in my classroom for a lot of my students. However, if there is the promise of getting to turn their writing into a movie they are more motivated and engaged in the learning and writing process. Recently my students were working on a PBL for opinion writing where they had to pick their favorite swamp animal, research it, and then write an opinion piece. Once they had their writing pieces finished, they found pictures of their swamp animals and turned their writings into a movie. I then they shared the movies with the class, and they thought it was the best thing ever.

– Student Work –

best classroom apps

Through these 3 apps I have now given my students a choice in how they can show what they know. We are working on independence with these apps, but they are definitely making the classroom and learning more fun and less frustrating for my students.

QR Codes

best classroom apps

I am also a BIG fan of QR codes. Basically QR codes are my jam. Once I started creating QR codes for my lessons and activities, I just couldn’t stop. One of my favorite perks of the QR codes is that the activities can be self-checking. When I make center activities, especially for math, I make sure the students have QR codes they can scan to check their work. This saves me time, and it cuts down on interruptions from the students constantly asking, “Did I do this right?” The QR codes are also an incentive for my students. They REALLY want to be able to get the tablet to scan the codes, so they are eager to work through their task.

– Student Work –

best classroom apps

There are so many apps and websites out there that have really helped engage my students in learning I wish I could talk about them all. The above apps are the ones I find to be the most kid friendly and easy to integrate into lessons with ease. A little practice before letting the students loose does go a long way.  Have fun adding technology to your teaching and using technology in the classroom.

AC



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