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Language Arts teacher: These are “My Tech Essentials” for high schoolers

These app essentials will help keep high school students engaged while learning language arts.

Being well-versed in literature means to be able to use the power of imagination to support and describe the essence of the subject. This is where the task can get tricky. Oftentimes the learners fail to understand the vocabulary of the book that sets the obstacles for the reading comprehension, or fail to discuss the topic because they lack active vocabulary.

In order to make students discuss the learned material in the class, it is important to provide them with encouragement and help that gives a good stimulus to learn and discover more.

The classroom can be a perfect ground for discussions, imagination training, and language improving activities. These app essentials will help keep high school students engaged while learning language arts, and teach them how to form the arguments and enhance learning comprehension.

Forming the Arguments

The idea is the main component in argument forming, and actively learn teaches students how to communicate by asking and answering questions.

Actively Learn is an online interactive platform where students learn through “layers”–the discussion questions that structure readings. This is a collaborative space where students can ask a question that concerns them, discuss their own vision with others, and share ideas considering the reading material.

As the students ask, answer, edit, and share the annotations right inside the text, the teachers can monitor their activities and make learning suggestions. The unique aspect of the app is that it not only encourages active reading, but also the active thinking process as students consider questions after reading.

Engaging the Reading

Newsela is a daily updated news-as-literacy platform accumulating articles on History, Science, Health, Law, and Arts. Newsela is a good app to use if you want to boost cross-curricular reading, but it can also be good for the classroom.

Selecting the appropriate reading level, the teacher can assign individual readings to the student or the group. As the students progress through the reading assignments, they also go through quizzes and write a quick prompt to the passage they’ve just read.

The workflow in Newsela gives a basis for independent classroom reading, as it also has a built-in dictionary and translator for when students encounter unknown or unfamiliar words.

(Next page: Language arts apps to avoid plagiarism, develop critical thinking and extend vocab)

Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism is essential in assignment assessment and grading. For teachers and students both, issues with plagiarism may be more difficult to solve than they seem. Unicheck is a plagiarism detection software that helps teachers detect similarities in the text, and that enables students to pay attention to the authenticity of their work.

Unicheck is an online, cloud-based plagiarism detection software used by k-12 and higher ed educational institutions worldwide. The system finds similarities across the web index and open source repositories, as well as comparing submitted assignments to prevent peer-to-peer plagiarism.

The checker was specifically created for educators, and is able to recognize citations and references in the text. It presents the results in an easy-to-navigate report that can be downloaded as a PDF file. Recently, Unicheck made its main function free-of-charge for all educational institutions in many countries.

Developing Critical Thinking

StudySync uses multimedia content, instructions and text materials, and can be used as a basis for creating lesson plans to boost critical thinking. The subjects include, but are not limited to, History, Science, Art, and Technology.

The educator can navigate the units by theme (including fiction and nonfiction texts); use instructions for classrooms; and first-read assignments, videos and multiple-choice questions. The thematic units can help assign students writing prompts in the narrative, explanatory, or argumentative way.

Extending Knowledge and Vocabulary

Good news for all Shakespeare fans: now they can access Shakespeare’s Library‘s website, which features historical documents, pictures and a collection of artifacts.

The teachers can use the website for practice assignments as content is already divided into units and lessons. The learning modules, along with the archives of about 600 items that focus on the classic text analysis, can gradually extend the active vocabulary of students each time they practice, read and analyze.

Creative Commons-licensed texts can also be downloaded for classroom reading. Aside from lessons, teachers can use the podcasts and audio and visual materials and resources.

Learning How to Listen

Improving listening comprehension of material is the aim of the Listen Current educational website. Public radio stories of the past and present provide great support for all who are learning how to process information audibly.

Some of the podcasts feature questions and extension activities for students. The site can be used for supplemental activities providing audio material to the units. Teachers can also make good use of the listening guide and discussion guide. The teacher can single out the particular story to make it the basis for classroom discussion, or assign rendering of the material discussed in the podcast.


High school ELA demands a lot of independent work when it comes to literature, self-expression and writing. Activities that incorporate interactive tools and apps can incite motivation, develop critical thinking and encourage creativity in students.

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