Top 5 apps for classroom management09-Aug-2012
We all know what a difference it makes to be as prepared as possible when teaching, and with so many different classes and students, there’s a lot of preparation to be done!
To kick off our Top 5 series, I’m suggesting the top 5 apps for classroom management! These five apps aren’t listed in any order, because they all deal with different classroom issues so aren’t really comparable with each other. But they are all simple, affordable and easy to use, and could make a world of difference, shaving time off your busy schedule and reducing your workload.
This app does what it says on the tin: it randomizes your picking of students to answer questions in class! But while it may seem a bit steep to pay £1.99 for something you can do yourself for free, I’ve recommended this app because it offers a whole host of extra features to help the struggling teacher out. You can mark a student as absent so their name doesn’t get selected; you can monitor the number of times each student has been picked; and you can generate random student groups of up to six students so no more pressure to put certain people with certain other people! You can also use the app to keep track of right and wrong answers, so it also functions as a handy little marker as well! Last but by no means least, you can shake the phone to make your selection – who doesn’t like a bit of a fad!?
Cost – £1.99 Rating – 4.5/5
A+ Timetable is a free and simple scheduling app that allows you to import your schedule and set things such as times and rooms. Nice extra little features that go above and beyond the calendar built into your phone include being able to send your schedule to friends via bluetooth or email, and setting your phone to automatically mute during a scheduled class and then unmute once the class has finished! It also includes a widget so you can set it on your homepage to see your classes for the day. Not bad for a free app (though unfortunately this does mean that you get ads).
Cost – free Rating – 4.5/5
This is a great little app that allows you to monitor your students’ behaviour and keep a record of it whenever you need. You can add students (and with the Pro version you can divide them into classes for better administration), then record their behaviour as appropriate with the tap of a button. You can see a daily log of these recorded behaviours and save these for week; you can also email them to yourself to then export the data (some users recommend exporting and creating graphs to see a more visual record of certain students). This would be a great app for teachers with very large classes, especially those with troublesome students, and some users have even suggested using it home with their own children…
Cost – £0.61 Rating – 4.5/5
This is a great all-round app created by a teacher in the States – as a result, it’s kind of set up in line with the American school system but can be easily used by all teachers. It allows you to create groups of students and classes (maximum class size in the app: 90 students) that you can then track the progress of. You can add personal information to each student profile, and perhaps one of the most unique features is to store their parents’ information to then automatically notify them if a student has been sent home sick, is absent from class or has failed to hand in an assignment. You can also message all students and/or parents with one click, to send important announcements such as a class cancellation or a reminder for homework. You can also add in marks for class participation, homework, tests and quizzes, allowing you to see overall aggregate and individual scores, so that you can identify personal strengths and weaknesses. It’s quite an investment at £4.99 but the great features such as automatic notifications and huge class sizes (by English language class standards) make it really worthwhile, especially when you consider that it has been developed by a teacher himself, just trying to make your life that little bit easier! There is a Lite version available for free so you can try before you buy, and he’ll soon be adding a graph feature to the Pro version so that you can visualise your students’ progress.
Cost – £4.99 Rating – 4.5/5
This app is only available for Apple products at the moment, but if you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad it would make your life a whole lot easier, especially at the start of term when you’ve got new classes. Smart Seat basically allows you to create a grid with the layout of your classroom, then load in your students and place them wherever you’d like them to be seated. One fantastic feature is being able to add each student’s photo and give them a nickname, which is great at the start of term when you’re just getting used to their names and what they like to be called. There’s a ‘scramble’ feature that randomly generates a seating plan for if you’d rather save time, and you can add new students to a plan at any time. Finally, you can add notes and attendance comments to each student, so Smart Seat can also double up as little record book for your classes. Well worth the one-off cost for the work it will save each time term rolls around.
Cost – $3.99 Rating – 4/5
Next week: the top 5 word game apps to kick-start your lessons!