The Best Educational Apps You Should Be Using Now!

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Susan Brown  –

     If you teach digital immigrants — those who didn’t grow up with technology — you know that ease of use is THE most important feature of an app or program (when working on a desktop computer). Digital immigrants may have some familiarity with using apps on a phone, but sitting at a desktop computer is an entirely different experience. There’s additional layers: an actual keyboard, monitor, and mouse. Trust me, it’s an issue.

     I teach digital literacy. My approach to teaching is to effectively balance instructional design, technology and data collection. Data drives the instructional design; technology enhances it. I had the opportunity to attend a conference recently where educators learned about technology in the classroom. Here’s a few of the apps and programs that caught my attention:


WOOP – The easy-to-remember acronym stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. My students have been using SMART Goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, but I feel SMART Goals are too cumbersome for students. As most of my students are math-phobic, the measurable would most scare them off.

WOOP is yet another app that requires no user-name and password. Goal setting is extremely important, and it helps students start with a vision. The app can truly be used for anything. There are three settings: Academic Achievement, Health, and Interpersonal Relations. There are also options for the time frame, with as little as 24 hours. When you string 365, 24-hour-goals together, you can really achieve something. My students are working toward their High School Equivalency which makes writing their goal even easier.

The website boasts 20 years of research supporting this method.


Flickr – Photographers can search this site for a picture and find its ISO, shutter speed, and F stop. If you find an amazing photograph of a waterfall, or New York City at night, it provides all the settings for you to replicate it. As an educator, you can find photos to enhance your presentations. In the classroom, you can teach students how to take photos and upload them to be used in their own project-based learning presentations, for social media and their life outside the classroom. True digital literacy is a way of life, inside and outside the classroom.


Socrative – I love this app. It’s a student response system. Student Response Systems (SRS) are a popular piece of classroom technology that allows learners to respond to questions asked by an instructor. The best feature is that students do NOT have to create a user-name and password. (Digital immigrants have an exceptionally hard time keeping track of their user-names and passwords — and password reset has become increasingly difficult.) You can easily create formative assessments and exit tickets. You launch the quiz in your online “room,” and the students go to the student and enter you “room” to respond. Formative assessments are a range of formal and informal assessments that are used to modify learning to reach the students, needs. An exit ticket is simply a question asked of the students to gauge learning.

Students can get automatic feedback, and the teacher can easily view the results. It’s a great way to track exactly how much your students just learned in your lesson. Some educators launch the assessment at the beginning (to benchmark student knowledge) as well at the end (to assess what they’ve learned).


EdPuzzle – The ease of use of this video clipper is amazing. You can easily edit videos from YouTube, and adjust the length of the video for your students. Perhaps you have a ten-minute video, but you only need a five-minute version: you just clip it. Even better, you can have the video stop at crucial points and have the students answer the question. If the get the question wrong, the students re-watch the selected portion and answer again. On the back-end, as a teacher, you can view how many times the students had to watch the clip to get the answer right.

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