Let’s face it, our current social norm has placed electronic devices in a majority of our students’ fingertips. In fact according to Growingwireless.com, 56% of children ages 8-12 have a cell phone and 91% of teens access the internet via their mobile device. Interestingly enough 74% “OF TEACHERS SAY TECHNOLOGY ENABLES THEM TO REINFORCE AND EXPAND ON CONTENT, not to mention, teachers say technology motivates students to learn.” So how can I use Apps to support specific kinds of learning and work in my content area and grade level? I personally feel that technology and the accessibility to Apps allow students at different levels to learn but not in a traditional setting. Apps provide for fun, interactive, engaged learning that feeds a hunger of wanting more. I also agree that Apps reinforce lessons, and expand on the content that may not have been covered in a textbook style teaching environment.
I came across this fantastic App called FANschool that gives the feel of a fantasy football league. The idea behind the app is to have students read world news according to countries. As news articles highlight involvement between countries, student teams accumulate points and compete against one another. According to Forbes, 33 million people play fantasy football, so why would I not want to bring this type of accessibility to my classroom. It’s fun and engaging, not to mention it allows students to feel more in control of their learning environment. FANschool can be accessed on any electronic device that has the ability to downloaded the app and it is centered around Social Studies, which is my content area. The educator has control over the content and acts as the facilitator or can play along. This app states it turns “students into fans of learning. Picture students drafting countries or states, rather than football players, and March Madness prediction-like contests for big events like Elections and Olympics.” Lessons can also be centered around countries and world events that allow students to be connected to world news. Students will be able to play anywhere and anytime which keeps them engaged in the lesson even when not in the classroom. This also allows my students to expand their social circle among their peers. Students will have access to not only learning current world news and trends but it also allows my students to gain a greater understanding on Geography but in a virtual exciting new way!
Another fantastic app that I am encouraging my students to partake in is Kahoot. Kahoot is an interactive trivia app/game that students can play not only in our classroom environment but also at home to help them practice and expand their lesson content. Kahoot is a fun way to engage my students while still reiterating content knowledge that allows them to compete against one another or simply to play for fun. The app/game is designed to offer trivia questions pertaining to any of educational content but specifically for our class we will utilize it for specific content lessons we cover in class such as learning about the three branches of our government, the Civil War or even fun facts about historical figures in history like US Presidents. Parents this app also allows you to play and interact with your child’s learning, and who knows it can even challenge us to a good old parent vs. child trivial pursuit competition based on classroom content, your child is studying. Students are racing to see who answers the question correctly and also who answers it the quickest. I encourage you to engage your minds, encourage your student and let your hair down and see who wins!
Parents, below is a great tutorial on how to set up a Kahoot for your student in the event you would like to help them with great study habits, and you may even learn something new.
We are in a Social Studies Friendzy, which is also the title of another fun and interactive app. Social Studies Friendzy has several games that compliment our learning standards and classroom content. It is similar to Kahoot however, it offers videos, articles and tutors to assist in the learning process of the states and capitals, US government and history, citizenship, and much more. This is a great app for K-8.
The last app that I find to be very useful in and out of class is provided by National Geographic Education called MapMaker Interactive. We will be conducting a lesson where students will learn about another country which will consist of facts, the country’s flag, and knowing the latitude and longitude coordinates. They will also be conducting some research on staple cuisine, traditions, clothing and important details about its landscape and environment. This interactive map allows students to highlight their country, include texts, videos and pictures not to mention they can add hyperlinks that are relevant information pertaining to their country of choice.