Bring Your Own App

Bring Your Own App

On Tuesday our teachers presented their choice of Apps. Throughout the year we had presented an app during the first week, teachers worked with it for the next two weeks, and on the fourth week they shared what they had created.  This was the fourth week of Bring Your Own App and they did just that – and more. Some apps had already been covered earlier in the year, but this gave some teachers who were feeling overwhelmed, a chance to revisit those apps and create something specifically for their class or for themselves. Instead of a 6 page list of apps, I have broken them into the following categories:
Click on the category to see a description of how they used these apps)

Professional Development

Classroom Management, Assessment, and Workflow

Creation Tools

Presentation Tools

Research Tools



Reading, Writing, and Grammar

World Languages

Fine Arts

Physical Education, &amp Coaching

Professional Development

iTunesU for resources on teaching Hamlet including audio recording of the play so students can listen to it while reading the play. This will help students understand characters’ emotions they might otherwise miss in the reading.  Another teacher is using iTunes U for her poetry unit, and has found the NEA includes audio excerpts. (Also for Classroom Management & Workflow)

Twitter – Obviously one of my favorite tools, Twitter was shared by one of our math teachers.  She is just starting with Twitter and said, “I’m only using this for educational purposes and learning how to follow education chats”.  Connecting to other educators is not only useful for you as a professional, it can create a very positive online community for our own school.  By supporting each others’ efforts through tweets and retweets, teachers can model the positive use of social media, thus demonstrating for our students how to create a positive digital footprint. There are handouts available to get you started on Twitter and join the hundreds of educational chats which occur every week. – This app searches government websites only (state, local, federal).

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Classroom Management, Assessment and Workflow

Showbie – I demonstrated Showbie at the end of 1st semester as part of our PLC on digital collection of assignments. Teachers like how the assignments are easily collected, organized, and how grades are immediately shared with students.  Teachers in this week’s PLC weren’t ready to digitally collect assignments at that point, but since they were given time to work on something of their choice, they spent time setting up their classes and collecting assignments. One Math teacher is also using Showbie to show student work that’s been turned in, and explain where and why mistakes were made in their calculations.

EdPuzzle uses existing online videos (YouTube, Vimeo, Kahn Academy, etc…) to create quizzes  students can take while watching the video. Band students can analyze music videos, and other classes can use it to make sure students are engaged in videos they are watching as an introduction to a lesson, or as a review.  Teachers even have the ability to see student data.

Socrative (specifically the SpaceRace) – At the first inservice of the school year, our teachers were introduced to Socrative and Keynote.  Many of our teachers used Socrative throughout the year, but had forgotten about the Space Race feature.  He had used Jeopardy reviews in class, but with Jeopardy only 1 student is accountable for the answer. Even with 30 students in a class, he can have them partner up, and conduct a space race where all teams must answer every question.

Flubaroo & Google Forms is being used by one of our math teachers for quizzes and assignments when he is out of the building.  One of the issues for math teachers is typing math equations in many of these apps and online sources.  He uses a test generator along with screen capture on his laptop to take a photo of a correctly written formula.  He then enters it on the quiz as an image, and the question below refers to the image.  He then uses the Flubaroo add-on to grade the quizzes.

Google Sites – Social Studies teachers using his own site for classroom materials.

Edmodo – We have used Edmodo in our building for about 3 years, but some of our teachers are starting to discover the online quizzes which are self-correcting and provide quality feedback to our students. Between Edmodo, Socrative, and Google Forms, many of our teachers are beginning to explore online quizzes as a way to check for understanding and a classroom time saver.  Quizzes are given outside of class with the intention of it being a simple review and not a summative assessment. This allows more class time to review the topics students struggle with on the quizzes.

StickAround app was presented by both Spanish and Biology teachers $2.99 This is a terrific app to use as a labeling tool for vocabulary in Spanish or for diagrams in Biology with body parts and cells. Students do not need the app, they can do the teacher created puzzles online.  There are also other puzzles already created and ready for teachers to use.

Schoology – We are beginning to research various Learning Management Systems (LMS), so one a math teacher on the committee started to explore Schoology.  Since we did not mandate how teachers should collect assignments digitally, some students have as many as 4 different places to turn in assignments. As we look into a possible LMS, we want to focus on streamlining student processes and teacher workflow. 

PostIt Plus – Created by 3M as a way to capture PostIt notes in a digital format, the app allows you to rearrange the notes after they are ‘captured’ and you can even write on the notes once they are in the app. A Math teacher used the this app as a way students can match formulas with answers and turn them in as a PDF through Showbie.  Click here for her blog post on the entire process.

Quizlet – I can’t even begin to explain how AMAZING & AWESOME this app is.  The teachers using the paid version are taking full advantage of the feedback and student data which it provides.  There are only 3 tools on the iPad app, but it is definitely more robust on their website. The teacher subscription is only $25 per year, but is priceless when you realize the data you receive and how much it helps students focus on their weaknesses.

Gmail has provided ability to send group emails, and allows for easy communication with students when they are sick. The use of email opens a new line of communication between teachers and students, and when the teacher starts the semester with an email to the class, they model for students that it is ok to contact the teacher this way when they have a question outside of class time. Some teachers have explained to students that if questions are asked outside of “office hours” (Example: 7am – 6pm) they may not receive an immediate answer.

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Creation Tools

Explain Everything is being used with a Map of Boston and 15 key events from the Scarlet Letter.  The student will need to organize the events in sequential order in explain Everything.  Possible, and then explain why they are putting them in that order by using the record feature.

App Smashing was discussed by a Social Studies and PE teacher.  We are already seeing examples of this from our students and teachers.  He would like to see students bring in apps to share with the class. We need to let students share what’s available and what’s new. Students will find things we don’t, and we can all learn from each other.

Book Creator is being explored as a platform for personal journals. In theology class teachers don’t want students’ personal reflections to be public like a blog, because students would hold back on the content of their writing.  These personal reflections need to be kept in a private place between student and teacher. Most likely they will be stored in Google Docs and then moved into BookCreator.  An English teacher is also looking at BookCreator as an option to publish student poetry projects.

iMovie is being utilized to create a UbD Tutorial. This will incorporate the PowerPoint presentation from the administration as well as specific examples. The movie will give teachers the ability to review what is required when creating a UbD unit, and will allow new teachers an introduction to Understanding by Design.  Once the iMovie is complete we will explore other ways to make it more interactive.  Camera & iMovie App is also being used for AP Bio. The teacher is capturing real life examples of animal behavior on video, and then sharing with students through Google Drive or YouTube

iBooks Author – After our BookCreator PLC unit in February, a few teachers were interested in creating a more robust product through the use of iBooks Author.  A Science teacher is starting to take many of his online resources, and using them to create a Physics iBook.

Forge – A math teacher is using this to show overlaying images. He saw this as a good way to show how real world images tie in with things like Parabolas.  This app is promoted as a way to ‘build your ideas’ and a digital workspace for visual thinking

RWT Timeline App – Not just for History classes, this is a free app that allows for the sequencing of any events. If there is a process students are studying in a science class, they can put the process in order with images in the Timeline App.  Students can print their timelines and the printed copy shows more of the details.

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Presentation Tools

YouTube was utilized by teachers from English, Math, and Music.  The band director uses music theory classes from Yale on YouTube – especially with snow days.  He creates playlists that auto plays through the lessons, and shares the playlist through a document on Google Drive. 

An English teacher used it for writing videos. She was excited about the number of university writing lab videos and other examples. Instead of her spending 4 hours creating a lesson on writing skills, YouTube allows her to show a 10 minute video, which the students can replay when they need to review the concept for themselves. 

A Math teacher is also using YouTube videos as a hook for a lesson or unit, and then other videos to re-enforce concepts being taught in class.  He has even created his own channel where he can upload his own math videos from Explain Everything.

NearPod is great app that allows you to share your live presentation with students, and keeps them locked into your presentation. There is a free library as well as paid presentations. Students connect via pin # for each presentation, and the app doesn’t allow them to move forward or back while the presentation is going on.  The teacher can share the slides with the students after the live presentation is complete so they can review the material.

Adobe Voice is being used because it focuses less on the video and more on the content.  This app easily allows students to create short video presentations, and is a great tool for a teacher creating a hook into the lesson. 

Videolicious This app provides a very simple way to put 10 slides together, it adds underlying music and creates your video. This was used in a French class to record a fashion show where students were describing clothing in French. By the end of the period, the teacher had a completed video of the students’ fashion show.

Keynote was used to create a French newspaper template.  Once the students complete their 5 page newspaper, they will be submitted as PDF’s and used to create an ebook which can be shared with students and parents alike.

Tellagami – A great app for World Languages and any other class to create short presentations. The app creates an avatar that speaks with your voice or with a computer generated voice from typed text.  The Spanish classes used this with the Google Earth App in order to ‘visit’ Barcelona.  Students used street view to visit La Sagrada Familia and took a screenshot to use as their background in Tellagami.

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Research Tools

Pinterest was explored as a way to store student research material. Pinterest not only allows the teacher to see a snapshot of every students’ research, it also promotes networking.  Students can also share their research with others for peer review while creating a positive digital footprint.

Evernote is being explored as a resource for the Health class because there is currently no Health book, and through the use of Evernote and the Scannable App, this would allow our teacher to organize class material and add material when needed. We originally stayed away from Evernote because it does a lot of the same things Google Drive does for us and we didn’t want to give too many similar tools to our teachers.

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Stats Pad LE used by a math/stats teaches to create, upload, and share graphs.  The app has some nice feature, but is a little buggy when it comes to saving and accessing data sets.

TrigWizard – Math teacher showed how the app allows you to draw a circle, show a triangle’s adjacent and opposite sides, along with the correct answers for COS SIN TAN

Sketch2Graph – Demonstrated by a Math teacher, this app allows you to hand draw your own graphs, and the app will convert it to a digital graph and show the integers. 

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Science 360 is a free App with a lot of short videos organized in a visual format. When you zoom in, you can see the description of the video.

Whack-A-Bone & Dissection Apps – This is being used as a simple matching exercise in Biology class as students learn the names of the bones in the human skeleton.

CSI Connect. Meant for professionals, ask crime scene experts. crime scene reference guides. Expensive $4.99

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Reading, Writing, and Grammar

Subtext – Demonstrated by an English teacher, this happens to be one of my favorite apps for reading books and articles, because it allows teachers to have more input into reading assignments. Teachers can include highlights, comments and quizzes directly into the reading. Subtext was purchased by Renaissance Learning so it could be used as part of their accelerated reader program.  There is a premium upgrade at a cost of $3 per student / per year.  This upgrade includes the ability to add audio recordings to your class readings.

Blogger – The question was asked, “How can I use something like Blogger without adding more to anyone’s workload?”.  In this case, we are still looking for the easiest way for the teachers to read through all their students’ blogs.  The other desire here is to allow students to respond to each others’ blog posts in order to utilize peer review.

Axis 360 Reader – Our library is now using Axis 360 Reader for ebooks and audio books. To access these, you need to download the Axis 360 App. See Sue Silander in the library for assistance.

LucidChart was demonstrated by a Theology teachers and an English teacher. It is listed as a  BrainMapping App that allows you to create a multitude of charts.  Students can even do live collaboration on charts for a brainstorming session or group work. There is also a Chrome add-on so it can be used on a computer or an iOS device.

NoRedInk – Website which can help your students improve their grammar and writing skills.Create assignments and quizzes without doing any grading. Target Common Core skills using your students’ interests. Provide students with unlimited help whenever they need it. Track growth using our color-coded heat maps

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World Languages

DuoLingo – A World Language app, where each lesson includes a variety of speaking, listening, translation, and multiple choice challenges.  This is very student centered.

Conjugation Nation – A World Language app, that made all of us wish we had it when we took Spanish. This focuses solely on verbs, so there is no need for students to worry about other vocabulary that might otherwise be a stumbling block. Students can choose the tense they are working on, which is extremely helpful in Spanish 3 where students learn 12 different verb tenses. The app keeps track of what students are working on, and as they complete a review, they can screenshot their results and turn them into their teacher through an app like Showbie.

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Fine Arts

MorPholio is being used for Art portfolios. This app allows for posting of artwork and professional printing (at a cost). It is very easy for students to take photos of their artwork and post it to their online portfolio. There is some concern about keeping the work private.

Smart Music. The focus is on Sight Reading for Choir. You can purchase a subscription for more tools and resources.  You can use it as an assessment tool since it records and makes a comparison of you vs. the correct notes.  It also gives you the ability to add your own music.

Paper 53 – When this app was re-released as a free app, I shared it with our art teachers, and today one of them demonstrated what her students can create. We also discussed sharing the finished pictures by screen shot, and upload to Google Drive or turn through Showbie. This also allows them to use these pictures in their digital portfolios.  With teachers from many other disciplines in this PLC, this presentation also opened a discussion of sketchnotes instead of traditional notes in classes and for teachers at conferences.

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Physical Education and Coaching

Hudl, which is a football video exchange program, has been used for a number of years at Marian. Our coaches had been using the basic interface of uploading and downloading game films, but our head coach attended a Huddle training session where they revealed many other tools which are a real game changer when it comes to creating a database of plays.

Coach’s Eye and V1 Pro which are Video Analysis apps, help not only our athletic department, but even our Physics teacher.  Students can capture live demonstrations and replay them in slow motion too take a closer look at how objects react to each other in experiments. Coach’s Eye is being used by coaches and PE teachers to analyze skills and technique. You can even draw on video within these apps to demonstrate understanding of a concept or to theorize what will happen if…

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About Sean Scanlon

Director of Instructional Technology Marian Catholic High School Google Certified Trainer
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