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Here’s how to use game-changing apps

Two ed-tech experts offer tips on how to incorporate apps in more effective ways

game-appsEducational apps have skyrocketed in popularity, leading more and more educators to realize that the way they use these apps is key to changing classroom culture and student engagement.

These classroom tools and apps help educators advance teaching and learning, said Brad Waid and Drew Minock, educators who head up 2 Guys and Some iPads.

“Learning is different, and teaching is different now,” Waid said. “The days of standing up and orating are over. Students can find information on devices—that’s not our job anymore, to give them information. Our job is to help them love learning, collaborate, and be deep thinkers.”

(Next page: Game-changing apps)


Remind101 is a safe way for teachers to text message students and parents without any participant ever having to share their own phone numbers. It works like a one-way broadcast system–teachers can’t send individual messages to students or parents and students and parents cannot reply.

All messages are saved in a history that can’t be edited or deleted.

The app, available on Android and iOS, can be used to remind students and parents about field trips, homework, and periodic “extras” such as motivational messages.


This tool offers “brain breaks” to help “channel classroom energy for good.” Brain break activities can be used to calm down students or to energize the classroom.

All teachers need is the ability to hook up a computer to an interactive whiteboard, projector, or TV.


This app can help educators address the “big coding movement in schools,” Waid said. Groups like and the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week have emphasized the importance of teaching students programming and coding skills.

Cargo-Bot is a drag-and-drop app that is made for younger students and introduces them to programming basics, Waid said. It’s gender-neutral and appeals to boys and girls equally, and promotes collaboration and problem-solving skills.

Three Ring

Three Ring is a “powerful education app” that helps educators capture learning moments throughout the day and store them in a digital portfolio, Minock said.

The app can capture videos, audio, pictures, and can take photos. Parents can keep up to date on school events and projects if they aren’t able to attend in person. Teachers send pictures, video, or audio of student work, and parents can reply with questions or comments.

The duo also summarized a collection of augmented reality apps. “Augmented reality is like a QR code on steroids,” Minock said. “You’re literally only limited by your imagination.”


Daqri offers “some of the best-looking and engaging augmented reality out there,” Waid said. Daqri recently launched a set of six physical blocks engraved with symbols of the periodic table. When viewed through the Daqri augmented reality app, the blocks come to life—and combining them creates chemical reactions under the viewer. The app is available on Android and iOS.


This app, available on iTunes and Google Play, uses augmented reality to make toys and games more interactive. Pointing an augmented reality viewer at various target images will activate interactive features, including an interactive musical instrument and a physics game.

AR Flashcards

When children use this augmented reality app, ordinary flashcards, printed with various visual cues and triggers, an interactive image of a word that begins with the letter on the card. The app turns ordinary and static flashcards into something more engaging, Waid and Minock said. Users can download the app for iOS or Android.

ColAR Mix

When students color pictures and use this app, they can literally bring their projects to life. For instance, students can color pages and use those pictures to write a creative story. Keeping the interactive portion a surprise can engage students even more.

“Students didn’t know it came to life,” Minock said. “When we brought it to life, they freaked. That’s some of the best writing we’ve had all year long.”


With the Aurasma app, available for iOS and Android, users can create their own augmented reality experiences tied to certain images or triggers. Additionally, users can create their own channels and follow other channels for augmented reality resources and experiences.


LayAR is another app in the augmented reality family, letting educators create interactive maps, images, and other materials to engage students.

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