5 questions teachers should ask before investing their time and money in edtech

As someone who has dedicated her career to making the world a better place through the education of our children, I was excited to learn that tablets and computers are nearly commonplace in elementary school classrooms across the nation. In fact, 88 percent of K-2nd-grade teachers use a tablet in the classroom and nearly 70 percent use educational apps and software, which means that our youngest students—who have never known a world without technology—can use the tablets they love for learning!

While it’s an exciting development for students, teachers are faced with a growing challenge—finding best-in-class content that supports learning and skills development and is also engaging. Throughout the school year, teachers spend hours upon hours searching the app stores for digital activities their students can use to master a math concept, advance a reading level, or reinforce a new science lesson. This is no small feat when you consider that there are thousands of apps to choose from and no set criteria defining the specific features of an educational app.

Teachers are largely left on their own to identify the content they need and then vet it with their internal IT person and school administrators. A recent study by Tyton Partners found that about 60 percent of teachers are responsible for making the digital purchasing decisions for their classroom and 27 percent purchase the content out of their own pockets. When you’re talking about a commitment of time and money, the stakes are high, so let’s take some of the guesswork out of the equation.…Read More

4 apps for social studies, dinosaurs, and organization

This round-up ensures you won’t miss any of our weekly highlighted apps

app-roundupEach week, we feature a new App of the Week on our website and in our newsletters. These apps are for students or educators and offer a range of uses.

But one thing is certain: educators and students are using apps now more than ever.

Here’s a round-up of the apps we’ve featured over the past month. Check back each Monday for a new App of the Week. And don’t worry–if you miss one, you can find a summary of recent apps at the end of each month.…Read More

New: 11 of the best iOS and Android apps

Educational apps, aimed at students and teachers, can help boost productivity and achievement

apps-2014Apps are some of the most popular tools in education, and with good reason–they’re easily accessible on mobile devices and can provide quick and targeted help.

Understanding how, when, and why to use apps gives teachers and students deeper understanding of how these relatively new tools can support student learning, teacher instruction, and day-to-day organization and management.

Here, we’ve gathered 11 apps that are useful, educational, help with organization, or are just plain fun. Do you have a favorite educational app that you use with students, colleagues, or for yourself? Be sure to mention it in the comments section below.…Read More

8 great apps for Android users

These Android apps will augment teaching and learning for students and teachers

android-appsiPhones and iPads may have once been educators’ and students’ go-to devices, but Android-based tools are increasingly present in classrooms across the nation.

These eight apps, which cover language learning, communication, word games, and more, are only a sampling of available educational Android apps. What Android apps do you use for professional development, administrative purposes, or in your classroom? Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

[Editor’s note: Prices are current as of press time. Please note that app prices may fluctuate.]…Read More

Creating systemic change? There is no app for that

The rise of educational apps has impacted classrooms across the nation, but there’s one major change that apps can’t implement

apps-K12Today, most schools realize the critical nature of technology in preparing our students for college, careers, and citizenship; however, only 10 years ago, when I served as technology director for an Intermediate Unit in upstate Pennsylvania, the conversation on educational technologies centered largely on the question of “Should we?” Now, I find that in my conversations with school leaders across the country, our conversations focus on “How?”

This shift, driven in part by a host of social, political, economic, and technical forces, has made it easier than ever to introduce technology into the classroom environment. The ease with which we can apply technology to academic challenges has created an unprecedented time in education that I call the “There is an App for That Era.”

In this era, there seems to be an endless supply of apps. Want to improve your spelling? There is an app for that. Want to practice multiplication tables. There is an app for that. Want to create online flash cards? There is an app for that.…Read More

Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013, No. 5: Apps in the classroom

eSchool News counts down the ten most significant developments in educational technology during the past year. No. 5 reveals how apps have spread in classrooms across the country.

apps-top10In school systems from coast to coast, tech-savvy educators experimented with augmented reality, educational gaming, and other techniques designed to enhance teaching and learning.

These are only some of the key ed-tech developments affecting K-12 schools in the past year—and we’ve got a full recap for you.

Here, the editors of eSchool News highlight what we think are the 10 most significant ed-tech stories of 2013.…Read More

New: 10 of the best Apple and Android apps for education in 2013

Last year we presented “New: 10 of the best Apple apps for education in 2012,” which highlighted some of the best apps for iPhones and iPods. However, with new upgrades in touch technology, and the emphasis on Common Core State Standards and school reform in general, we’ve come up with a new list of the best Apple- and Android-based education apps for 2013.

This year’s list includes some of the most highly rated apps, both by educators and by parents, and features a range that spans from interactive iBooks to current images of the universe, and from free video software to award-winning STEM curricula.

For every app we’ve listed, we’ve included a brief description, device compatibility, suggested use, features, price, and a link to a more in-depth summary with an option to purchase on iTunes or Google Play.…Read More

Seven new iPad apps to know about

Here are our first seven ‘apps of the week.’

Last month, we launched a brand-new feature called “App of the Week,” in which our editors highlight a new educational app every week. Here are the first seven apps we’ve featured.

All of these apps are for Apple’s iPad, but in the future we’ll mix in coverage of Android apps as well.

Do you have any suggestions for educational apps of your own that you’d like to share with readers? Tell us about them in the comments section below.…Read More

Changes in law aim to protect kids’ internet privacy

Data known as “persistent identifiers,” which allow a child to be tracked over time and across websites, no longer can be collected without a parent’s permission, under the new rules.

Aiming to prevent companies from exploiting online information about children under 13, the Obama administration on Dec. 19 imposed sweeping changes in regulations designed to protect a young generation with easy access to the web.

But some critics of the changes worry they could stifle innovation in the market for educational apps.

Two years in the making, the amended rules to the decade-old Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act go into effect in July. Internet privacy advocates said the changes were long overdue in an era of cell phones, tablets, social networking services, and online stores with cell-phone apps aimed at kids for as little as 99 cents.…Read More