apps common sense

4 apps for students’ personal growth and mental health

Guided by a tech-savvy educator, students can explore mental health and other personal issues via a handful of apps

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 touching on depression and mental health, navigating relationships, and more.

1. Please Knock on My Door: Effective and affecting game about dealing with depression
The content of Please Knock on My Door is perfect for those wishing to include social and emotional learning through games. The simulation of what it’s like to suffer from depression for an office worker gives another angle to mental health that other games like Depression Quest do well, adding nuance to help players understand that it manifests in different ways for different people.

2. Florence: Incredibly relatable story about navigating adult love and life
Teachers and school-based mental health practitioners may wish to use Florence as a whole-group weekly discussion in navigating adult relationships. Think about adding the app in as part of an activity for health, social studies, civics, home economics, or career readiness classes. Consider using the game for upper-level students to start discussions on how to prepare for college experiences. Health teachers may wish to use this as part of a comprehensive education in safe relationships.

3. Critical Media Project: Relevant media clips get students examining identity, culture
For teachers who want to tackle media and cultural studies, the Critical Media Project offers a wide selection of ready-to-use and school-appropriate media clips and discussion questions, filtered by topic (age, race and ethnicity, religion, gender, LGBTQ, ability). With a bit of digging, teachers will find ready-to-go quick-writes as well as discussion openers or closers.

4. Next Gen Personal Finance: Straightforward finance site is brimming with resources for teachers
There are enough materials on Next Gen Personal Finance to fill an entire semester of personal finance lessons, but teachers can also pick and choose, developing smaller units or inserting a financial lesson here and there during the school year. You can assign activities or group projects to dig deep into important financial topics, or you can lead class discussions or give lectures on info vital to financial success and stability.

Laura Ascione

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