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5 Apps You Need to Know About if You’re Teaching Online

How do you become an online teacher without the online expertise? Luckily, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to navigating the online landscape. Veteran elementary teacher, Tina, shares her top 5 favorite apps to use when teaching online, all of which put the learning and ownership into your students’ hands and hopefully out of yours!

It’s no secret that the landscape of education has changed dramatically over the past few months.  Administrators, teachers, and students have all had to make adjustments to their routines, and in record time!  The “new normal” looks vastly different from country to country, state to state, and even from school to school.  However, no matter what your “new normal” is, I’ll bet it includes teaching online, at least to some degree.

Just like any other type of tech, some people seem to naturally get it and can take what they are given and run with it. There are others, however, who need a bit of help. If you find yourself suddenly teaching online, even just minimally, it can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are dozens of companies that provide resources for online teaching, and the current educational climate has provided an opportunity for these companies to develop and grow–to teachers’ and parents’ benefit! Since it would take hours to wade through the numerous resources now available to online teachers, I have compiled a list of my favorite 6 apps below.  Each one is unique, but fills a specific need that online teaching creates. These resources can be accessed both online and by downloading their corresponding apps.

1.  Instructables

This is perhaps my favorite resource on the list! Instructables provides mini-lessons on a variety of topics by using beautiful quality photos and step-by-step instructions, all available in downloadable form as well. These DIY lessons can be included directly in your lessons for your students, or they might provide some needed inspiration to use in your own digital classroom. This is a great resource to provide to online students, as they can extend their learning by taking things “into their own hands”, so to speak. The best part is that Instructables has projects for Kindergarten through college-level students in each of the following areas: ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Engineering, Coding, Electronics, Robotics, Arduino, CNC, Laser Cutting, 3D Printing, 3D Design, Art, Music, Theater, Wood Shop, and Metal Shop. They even boast a Resources section, which covers everything from making a document camera from an old box and a mirror, to creating a 3D Braille communicator. Students can experience so many different avenues for learning, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of projects just waiting to be discovered, all completely free!

App Information: This resource was available in both the Apple iTunes Store and the Google Play Store until October of 2016, when Instructables retired both apps to focus on their core product. However, there is an Android app called Lite for Instructables. Unfortunately, no similar app exists for iOS.

2.  Educreations

Educreations is used by teachers and students around the world.  This resource allows users to create videos that can then be used as part of a lesson, part of a student presentation, or even part of an assessment. Educreations provides a visual outlet for teaching and learning, as well as access to a free interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool that is a big hit with math teachers. This simple-to-use tool allows users to annotate and animate almost any content type, providing teachers a great avenue to explain difficult to understand concepts. Created lessons can be shared in a variety of ways, including email, YouTube, Twitter, embedding in a personal website, or saving them to an iPad, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Lessons will replay on the website; a PC, Mac, or Chromebook; iOS or Android devices; or the app. Educreations offers both paid and free versions of this resource. The free version, however, offers all of the following features: the ability to record and share lessons; use basic whiteboard tools; create and join classes; save one draft at a time; access 50MB of storage space; and get email support.

App Information: At this time, the Educreations app is only available on the App Store for iPad.

3.  Seesaw

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about this particular app. Seesaw is a digital portfolio that gives students the opportunity to showcase their work–either for themselves or for their parents. Students have access to multiple options, such as submitting videos, taking pictures, recording audio, or uploading files. They can create a unique story to display their learning experience. This app is great for online teachers, as it allows you to be able to provide feedback, comment on student submissions, individualize instruction, and communicate with families, all in one place! Seesaw is free to teachers, students and families, but there is a paid version with extended features, as well as a paid school option as well. The free version includes the following features: creative tools; family messaging; 2 teachers per class; 10 active classes per teacher; and the ability to create, save, and share up to 100 activities.

App Information: The Seesaw app is available in the Apple iTunes Store for iPad and iPhone; in the Google Play Store for Android devices; in the Chrome Web Store for Chromebooks; and on Amazon for Fire Tablet.

4.  Socrative

Socrative is a communication tool used by teachers to keep in touch with students, monitor their progress, and interact directly with them. This app allows teachers to provide immediate and critical feedback to help students learn in the moment. Quizzes and questions, delivered in a fun and entertaining way, are answered in real time to provide the most up-to-date information about a student’s learning and understanding of a lesson. Teachers can then use the many tools available to evaluate learning and decide how to interact with students in response to their abilities or learning needs. This app also provides both paid and free versions. The free membership includes all of the following features: up to 50 students per room; 1 public room for your class; launching 1 activity at a time; on-the-fly questioning, and the Space Race assessment.

App Information: The Socrative app is available in the Apple iTunes Store; in the Google Play Store; and in the Chrome Web Store, with separate versions to download for teachers and students.

5.  TeacherKit

As a teacher, it is important to keep your records organized. As an online teacher, you may or may not have access to the same type of record-keeping tools as you did in your traditional classroom. This is where TeacherKit comes in. Teacherkit provides the organizational tool that the online teacher might be lacking by helping teachers organize their classes and their students. Teachers can track attendance, create customized reports about grades, note and save behavioral records, access parent information, create customized lists, and the list goes on!  As with many other apps, TeacherKit provides both a paid and free version. The free version includes all of the following features: class management; student management; attendance; behavior; gradebook; and the ability to import and export documents. It also provides a data backup function that automatically backs up all your data to Dropbox, enabling you to restore the backup any time you might need it.

App Information: The TeacherKit app is available in the Apple iTunes Store and in the Google Play Store.

Being suddenly thrust into the role of online teacher may not have been anywhere on your radar, but it’s likely something you have experienced recently. Hopefully, with a little help from one, two, or even all six of the apps listed above, you might strike the balance you need to app-reciate your new role as online teacher!

Source: Teacher Vision