You already know that as your young learner heads back to school this fall, technology will go with him or her, and as we discussed in “Using Social Media Safely and Responsibly” and “Catholic Schools: Technology in the Classroom,” this opens up a world of opportunities for learning and enrichment. Of course, a huge part of this technology is the app. Whether you are using a mobile device or a computer, it is almost certain that, no matter which device you’re using, most online learning resources will direct you to download and engage with their app. And this is for good reason: They are extremely helpful tools (that can usually be accessed both online and offline) for a variety of different means, and pretty much no matter what you’re looking for, there’s an app for that.
So with that in mind, this blog is going to take a look at some specific apps that will be helpful for your child when he or she returns to school. After all, according to a 2015 study posted by Pearson in which students in grades four to twelve across the nation were polled:
- In 2015, 53% of elementary school students, 66% of middle school students, and 82% of high school students use smartphones regularly. (increase from 2014)
- Eight in ten students (83%) report using a laptop to do school work during the school year.
- Three in five (58%) use a smartphone and/or tablet.
- Nine in ten (89%) agree that tablets make learning more fun.
- Eight in ten students (81%) agree that tablets help students do better in class.
epic!: For just $4.99 a month, you can have unlimited, instant access to over 15,000 books for kids 12 and under. This app has personalized suggestions, progress tracking, a reward system for motivation, and audio books.
Vocabulary Spelling City: This app has a free version as well as a yearly-subscription one and features all things spelling for all ages: “From sight words and phonics for your beginning reader to ACT and SAT words for your high-schooler’s college prep.”
King of Math: Available both for Android and IOS, at $2.99, this app is all you’ll need to embark on a responsive mathematical adventure. Aimed at the middle and high school levels, this fun app will make the player royally forget that the game is educational.
Stack the States: Your little explorer can practice using his or her knowledge of the facts and trivia for all 50 states to literally “stack the states.” This ticket around the nation is $2.99 and has been voted “Best Educational Game App.”
The Foos: This free app uses adorable characters to help students learn coding and computer science. According to the American Association of School Librarians, “Even though it’s designed for ages 5 to 10, older students love it too!” Maybe this app will be the first step in seeing your child’s app on a list like this.
For more comprehensive lists of the best educational apps, visit the following sites:
- American Association of School Librarians (AASL): “Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2016”
- Kids Discover: “Apps by Kids Discover”
- FamilyEducation: “21 Free Educational Apps for Kids”
- Educational App Store: You can do a trial period to see if you are interested in a subscription. It is based out of the UK, but it has great information and the apps can be purchased on iTunes and Google Play.