Sheree Schulson, a second and third grade teacher at Parkside Elementary School in Coral Springs, Fla., shares five interactive apps for K-5 students


Educational apps have huge potential for today’s students.

As the world is ever changing, so are the students we teach. We, as teachers, can’t just open up a textbook and teach a lesson like we did 10 years ago. Modern day students have grown up in a world of iPads and smart phones—a world of constant stimulation.

Now, they need teachers who can provide lessons that are just as stimulating. We must evolve with the learner and update our teaching strategies so that they are engaging, motivating, and hold our students’ interests.

Here are a handful of web tools I’ve used in my elementary classroom that will create a stimulating educational environment.

Voice Thread

This is an interactive collaboration tool that lets students add audio or text commentary to videos and images. Their peers can then log onto the website and add their own comments or draw right on the original document. The kids really love to read and listen to everyone’s feedback.

It’s very easy to figure out how to use this tool. For example, you can post a math problem, and each student could respond showing how to solve it using the Voice Thread tools. In my classroom, I posted a world map on to the Voice Thread application and asked students: Where did your family originate from? Each student circled the area and explained it either by video, audio, or text. They loved it.

You can use a Voice Thread for storytelling, deep thinking, or even as a research tool. For example, I had students research parts of the human body, and then they posted their facts onto human body diagrams that I posted. The end result becomes a showcase of what the students have learned. Teachers are always looking for ways to see if their students are mastering concepts. Often, they have students take a test or write a report. Using Voice Thread as an alternative form of assessment allows teachers to evaluate students’ knowledge creatively—plus, it’s free!

(Next page: More engaging apps)