App of the Week: Sworkit Kids

What’s It Like? 

Both physical education (PE) and classroom teachers can use Sworkit Kids to get kids exercising. It’s a perfect short activity to get students moving after a long lesson or first thing in the morning, or as a longer activity during gym class. Sworkit Kids can be used anywhere that the app can be shown to students: in PE class, in a regular classroom, at home, outside, inside, while watching television, while doing homework, or with friends or family.

No sign-up is needed to use Sworkit Kids, and there are no ads. Because the exercises are demonstrated visually, it’s useful for English language learners (ELLs) as well as students with hearing impairments. Very little space is needed for each student, but the exercises will still get them moving enough to get a good workout. Students can share their favorite workouts with friends and family, and students can also do these workouts at home.…Read More

App of the Week: Google Applied Digital Skills

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which 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. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Google Applied Digital Skills can be used as a semester curriculum to teach a digital literacy course or as stand-alone lessons integrated into a core class on an as-needed basis. For example, the If-Then Adventure Story unit fits easily into a creative writing class, but would also be a good project for a history class where students use real events to envision alternative histories. There are several spreadsheet budgeting activities for personal finance class, and librarians can get on board with multiple units focusing on research and technology ethics.…Read More

App of the Week: Go virtual for NGSS

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which 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. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Inq-ITS is a collection of virtual labs for middle schoolers, including topics such as Plate Tectonics, Natural Selection, Forces & Motion, and Phase Changes. Students learn this content through virtual simulations that allow them to design and conduct their own investigations. The virtual labs are broken into four sections described as the Phases of Inquiry: Hypothesis, Collect Data, Analyze Data, and Explain Findings.…Read More

App of the Week: Program a robot buddy

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which 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. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

SPRK Lightning Lab is an app that lets kids program their Sphero robots from a tablet or phone. Beginning coders use block-based programming to direct and control their robot. A text-based code viewer is also available so kids can see how their block code translates into actual code. This gives experienced programmers more flexibility and is a scaffold to help students scale up their coding skills.…Read More

App of the Week: Math gets adaptive

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which 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. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

After taking an initial assessment to gauge their competency level, students are presented with a pie chart of competency, a timeline of content to master, and a number of ways to dive into that content. Once they select a subject, they’re given a fairly typical textbook-style lesson, with written explanations and vocabulary, worked example problems, and then a series of practice questions. ALEKS gives feedback on what students are doing well and struggling with along the way, and it either speeds or slows progression as it measures successful work. As kids get through lessons, sectors of their competency pie grow to reflect their emerging skill.…Read More

App of the Week: drag-and-drop virtual bulletin boards

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which 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. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Padlet is a website and app that allows kids to collect information from the internet and pin it onto virtual bulletin boards using a simple drag-and-drop system. Videos, text, links, images — basically anything — can be added to a board and organized there, like a page full of Post-it notes. There’s also the option to include rich text (Padlet provides a simple HTML guide in their Help sidebar). You can add as many notes to a wall as you like; it scrolls in all directions.…Read More

App of the Week: From sketches to professional charts

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which 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. Click here to read the full app review.

Grafio 3 – Diagrams and Ideas

What’s It Like? 

Grafio is a diagramming (and presentation ) iOS app for creating graphs, vector charts, storyboards, infographics, flowcharts, diagrams, and anything that uses text, shapes, or visual representations. Begin by drawing shapes with your finger or stylus. Shapes are automatically closed, straightened, and made into the best versions of themselves possible via the built-in shape-recognition algorithms. Most basic shapes are recognized, and doodles will also be made tidier.…Read More

App of the Week: Parent-teacher texting made easy

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which 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. Click here to read the full app review.

Remind Education

What’s It Like? 

There’s no shortage of ways to use PhET simulations in (or out of) the classroom. Effectively, any time you’d use a static PowerPoint slide or textbook image to demonstrate a concept, it’s worth checking PhET to see if there’s an interactive version. Chances are high there is already one on the site. There are also virtual versions of common lab experiences, and it might be worth using the simulation if you’re short on class time or resources. Even if you have really great videos of experiments, the interactivity of these simulations will contribute so much to your lessons that it’s hard not to use both.…Read More

App of the Week: One-stop shop for research and writing

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated with help from the editors of Graphite.org, a free service from Common Sense Education. Click here to read the full app review.

Citelighter Education

What’s It Like? Citelighter is an engaging online platform designed to support students and teachers as they tackle the intricacies of the writing process. Students simply sign up and download the Citelighter toolbar or work on the Citelighter website. Students can work on Citelighter’s platform to research topics and construct their own written work or use the Citelighter toolbar to search and cite from the open Web. On the platform, students follow a series of scaffolded steps predetermined by their teacher; they’ll explore leveled articles and various multimedia content (videos and images) before they begin writing a paper. As students find useful excerpts, capturing and organizing is as simple as highlighting, clicking, and dragging. Citations are automatically saved and referenced in a bibliography.

Price: Free/subscription

Grades: 3-12…Read More

App of the Week: A game that teaches game design

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated with help from the editors of Graphite.org, a free service from Common Sense Education. Click here to read the full app review.
Update: Microsoft is shuttering Project Spark. It is no longer available for download and online services for existing players will end Aug. 12.

Project Spark

What’s It Like? Project Spark is a digital game creator that lets students build their own games. Students can browse, play, and learn from other community-designed games and from plenty of genres: action/adventure, first-person shooter, arcade, puzzle, strategy, and platformer. Students will build 2-D or 3-D environments, write dialogue and scripts for their characters and stories, and execute complex lines of logic. This “kode,” as Project Spark calls it, dictates what the game world, objects, and characters will do and how they will behave. Once finished, students can upload their creations for others to play and/or remix.

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5…Read More