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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Guest Post: 5 Best Mobile Apps for Elementary Students

Today's guest post is from Joy Miller, who writes for  She talks about her top 5 apps for kids grades K-5.  Note that these are not all free, so they might not be a fit for schools, but rather on a case-by-case basis. 

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

5 Best Mobile Apps for Elementary Students
As a teacher, connecting with kids these days is harder than ever. With seemingly every 10 to 12 year old student having access to smartphones and tablets, the old notion of “hands-on” learning has fallen by the wayside. However, just because the mobile revolution is in full swing, that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck when it comes to incorporating these tools into your daily lessons. By recommending the five best mobile apps to your students detailed below, you’ll have everything you need to keep the learning experience fresh and exciting.
#1 Mobile App - Explain Everything
Available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, and via the Microsoft Store, Explain Everything is the quintessential app for screencasting and interactive whiteboard experiences. This tool allows you – or any student with a willingness to explore their creative side – to annotate, animate, and even narrate selections as you create educational movies and tutorials.
Additionally, teachers and students who utilize Explain Everything also have access to unique slide creation, freeform drawing capabilities, and even a laser pointer that helps highlight prime points during a lesson or presentation. For all of this functionality, Explain Everything will only set you back $3.99 in the various app and platform-oriented stores.
#2 Mobile App - Book Creator
One of the most enjoyable experiences for an elementary aged student is sitting down for story time and ending up immersed in a fantastical tale or adventure. Now, imagine if you could recreate this experience on your iPad or Android device with unique and original content?
If this sounds like something that deserves a spot in your classroom, then Book Creator is the app for you. With the ability to create multimedia eBooks that combine narration, audio, visual, and text offerings, this tool is ideal for children’s picture books, school projects, and more. Perhaps the most impressive function found within this app – which costs $4.99 on both Apple and Android devices – is the ability to send these unique creations home with students so that parents and other family members can join in on the fun.
#3 Mobile App - ThingLink
In an attempt to do away with the passive nature of viewing multimedia on mobile devices, ThingLink stands as the premiere interactive imagery app. The images generated on this tool – which is offered free of cost on both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store – offer access to integrated notes, links, other embedded images, and even YouTube videos. Simply put, ThingLink turns even the most generic of visuals into an interactive platform for learning.
#4 Mobile App - Motion Math: Zoom
This popular math game teaches students of varying educational levels mathematic properties, principles, and sequences via a system that incorporates fun visuals and eye-catching imagery. Although this app is currently only available on the iTunes store (at a cost of $2.99), Motion Math: Zoom serves as an invaluable tool for teachers dealing with young students who struggle with core mathematic concepts. As you probably already know, any time you’re able to take abstract concepts – like decimals and fractions – and turn these ideas into a game, you’ve scored a major victory with the young minds in your class.
#5 Mobile App - Sock Puppets
The final addition to this list, Sock Puppets, is definitely one of the more enjoyable and exciting inclusions. As a way to direct original sock puppet plays from your iPad, Sock Puppets turns otherwise dull lessons into engaging – and sometimes silly – narratives.
All you have to do once you download the free app is select a few sock puppets for the leading roles, pick out a prop or two, and start recording your voice for the speaking parts. The app even has the power to add a “squeaky” effect to your voice via configurable audio elements, thereby ensuring that your characters come to life in a way that’s sure to have your elementary students glued to the action.
Closing Thoughts
Naturally, the list covering apps that stand out as great tools for elementary aged children could go on and on. However, these five selections rise above the rest as leaders in this field. From offering up new forms of visual interaction and engagement, to providing a helping hand as your students tackle math and other tough subjects, you’ll be hard pressed to find better mobile options to add to your next lesson plan.
About the author
As owner of the higher education site, Joy Miller researches and reviews colleges offering accelerated classes and degrees, connecting students with programs that match their educational goals and career interests.

1 comment:

Mrs. Widget said...

I tried the sock puppets and showed my colleagues. I hope to us it Later in the upcoming year.