Essential Apps for Teachers

A lot of my colleagues have been getting smartphones and have been asking me, “ what are some good apps to put on here? ” I figured I would go ahead and compile a list of the apps that I rely on the most as an instructor. This is not a list of classroom specific apps like vocab reviews and math drills. Instead, these apps will help a teacher in any content area stay organized and informed. These apps are all free, and 4 of the 5 are available in iTunes and Droid marketplace ( Splice is only for iOS devices ).

Dropbox1. Dropbox  – I couldn’t go without this one. Dropbox is your own thumb drive in the cloud. Upload files from your computer to your Dropbox account, then view your files on your phone. I rely on Dropbox to quickly view special schedules, meeting minutes, and even procedures for using certain programs or software. Any pictures you take with your mobile device can also be uploaded to Dropbox, and then accessed by your computer.

OneNote2. OneNote – This app allows you to take notes with your mobile device or computer and saves them online so that you can view them from either device. Many people prefer Evernote ( a similar app ) for this type of use, but I have started to appreciate OneNote more and more. Why ? The big reason is that OneNote is a product of Microsoft Office. If your school is like mine and has Microsoft Office just about everywhere, OneNote is convenient to use since most Office programs like Word, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer will have a Send to OneNote button . This makes it easy to quickly transfer items to your OneNote notebook to be viewed and/or edited later with your mobile device.

Google App3. Google – There is only one reason I use the Google App and that is for Google Reader. Being able to check my RSS feeds on a mobile device is perfect. Whenever I have five minutes to spare waiting for something I can scan over the latest postings from the blogs I have subscribed to and check them out to see if something catches my eye.

TweetDeck4. TweetDeck – I do not check Twitter much while on my computer but I do like accessing it on a mobile device.  I prefer the interface of TweetDeck on a mobile device over HootSuite, mainly because of setting up different columns to swipe across. It’s not a perfect app, there are times where it will kick me out at random times – but it is still the one I use.

Splice5. Splice – A free video editor for Apple devices. Not many frills, but you can quickly make a short movie with videos captured with your device. You can trim clips, add titles, credits, transitions – even add music from your iTunes library. I don’t use it every day, but I have used it to make video highlights of different workshops or classes.


About John Sengia

Instructional Technology Specialist for a school district in York County, PA. Former science teacher. Looking to help teachers use technology naturally with their teaching instead of trying to "add it in" .
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