Apps can be a valuable resource for educators who have access to mobile devices and who want to engage students with digital resources.

While they’re a fun resource, teachers don’t always have time to search through apps and ensure they’re appropriate for students–this means everyone misses out on what could be a memorable learning activity.

The editors of Common Sense Education review and rate apps for students of all ages. Common Sense Education helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly.

Check out this list of apps, ranging from kindergarten through high school and touching on topics such as STEM, history, and vocabulary.

1. howtosmile: Useful science resource aggregator promotes diverse lessons
Before planning your STEM-based lessons, search the free resources on howtosmile. Try a few different keywords based on what you need to cover with your students, and narrow the results down by grade level and class time. When the resources include information about standards alignment, those standards are included. If you’ve registered on the site, organize your findings into thematic lists, integrating outside links as well. Read other users’ comments and join the community of educators by contributing your own feedback. The activities linked to on the site will engage students with hands-on projects, videos, games, and other meaningful material.

2. Photo Stuff with Ruff: Materials science photo app gets kids examining their surroundings
Teachers can use Photo Stuff with Ruff in their early elementary classrooms for materials science lessons. Combine this app with foundational lessons covering substance properties. Then have students search throughout the classroom, out on the playground, on a field trip, or even on a class hike for materials, textures, and patterns requested within the app. Students can also use the front-facing camera to add selfies to the scenes. Then have students compare their creations with their classmates, showing off what they chose to use for each texture. Since Ruff tells kids what to do, audibly and in print if captions are turned on, this app works well for prereaders.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura


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