Using digital technology in the classroom is not an end in itself. It is critical to establish the rationale behind using any new method, just in the same way that you should think before buying the new textbook or the new piece of fieldwork equipment. Click or tap on the image to go straight to the geography app blog posts.
My general principle is that you need an extremely good reason to use a subject-specific app for anything.
Most subject specific information can be found using a web browser. My (much) preferred use of apps is for content curation and for content creation, not for information gathering. There are a few exceptions such as handy earthquake finder apps in the main I am most interest by how students (or I) can manipulate information, especially to process it, record it for curation or communicate it. So, being very bold, my top apps are:
- Pages: especially with video embed on a template
- Keynote: same as for Pages but it is also great for creating the core presentation to import into Explain Everything and then to talk over slide by slide.
- Explain Everything: multimedia presentations – fantastic for quick lesson summaries, reviewing test papers, producing revision videos and also for the students to use themselves, of course
- GoogleDrive and all associated (GoogleDocs etc): clearly the best cloud solution for storage and for collaboration and best integrated with apps.
- Google Classroom: the place I am going to for assignment setting and marking.
- iTunes U: a lot of our course content is on this, either as privately shared or publicly available courses. It’s a no-brainer
- Notability: the core notepad for everything – great export options and brilliant for annotating photos (including photos of the white board in class of course)
- Photo Sphere: the most ‘geography’ of all my top apps but I have come across fans in art and English departments – anywhere where recording location is important so the historians would love it at when they visit battlefields etc.
- Camera: often underused (amazingly) by some teachers and students – it’s the key to unlock multimedia content.
- QR code reader: lots of people hate QR codes (they are really ugly) but it can be handy for an information flow in class.
- Socrative: real-time feedback, especially liking the instant export of results to GoogleDrive.
- YouTube: content storage, but also great to compiling useful playlists and sharing.
- Flipboard: content curation – magazines on a wide range of topics, some shared with students and some created by student (If this was my iPhone, I would also have Pocket for storing handy URLs for later reading)
Click here for a variety of posts (some with help videos) designed to support this thought process and to help in the early stages in adoption.
All of these apps and ideas are in use at the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge, which is where I am based.