As technology is now highly integrated into the everyday classroom environment, teachers should be able to utilise it to help keep the class under control so students have the best learning environment possible. There are a number of high quality apps that can help educators achieve this goal.
The more students you have in your classroom, the more time you will be required to invest in classroom management. Thankfully, new technology and the broad variety and availability of apps can help you to effectively manage your classroom and keep students engaged at the same time. Here are ten of the top apps which help to make classroom management easier:
TeacherKit is specifically designed to help teachers easily manage classroom tasks. This app, which is available on iOS devices as well as windows, has many useful features. TeacherKit provides you with a series of intuitive tools, such as the capability to record student grades using the included gradebook. This tool allows you to customise each gradable assignment by setting a weight and maximum grade for each item. Then you can use the auto distribution feature which saves time by automatically distributing the weight you set for each gradable item. TeacherKit organises the information put into it into 4 helpful reports: Class Summary, Student Summary, Seating Chart and Gradebook.
The app also provides you with the tools you need to easily import and export data including importing attendance records for each class, individual student information with photos, grades and assignments, and behaviour records for every class. All data can then be exported in CSV format for use with a spreadsheet program such as Excel to help maintain organisation of the data.
2. Socrative Teacher
Socrative Teacher is an app that allows teachers to create formative assessments such as question polls, quizzes, games, and much more. Using the Socrative app, grading each assessment is fast and easy. Plus, you can collect and organise the results to come up with further ideas for instruction, especially in areas where students demonstrate a weakness.
All you have to do is sign up for an account with Socrative Teacher and your account automatically connects with student Socrative apps. This allows students to connect to your teacher room simply by launching the app and requesting to join the room within your teacher account. Teachers can sign in using the email address form your Google domain and can have reports forwarded to Google Drive.
Socrative Teacher allows you to create your own quizzes which are immediately graded for you, create true or false or multiple choice questions, ask students open-ended questions and then poll them on the results, view student results in real-time, and visualise student understanding of concepts to be learned. Additionally, Socrative Teacher allows you to collaborate with other teachers to share and discuss assessment results as well.
3. Class Act
Class Act is an intuitive app that helps teachers to assess student progress throughout various stages of a lesson. A simple tap on a student on the screen immediately tells you how they are progressing. Each level of progress represents a different colour to help you provide support to students in need.
Class Act allows you to customise the screen and organise students according to your seating plan. This provides you with a quick overview of your classroom set-up. The colours for each student are automatically saved in the app to help you plan for the next lesson. You can also reorganise the colours into a new seating arrangement that is better suited to the next lesson.
Other features in the Class Act app include a note taking tool that allows you to easily jot down notes as the lesson moves forward and save them for future reference. There are two different colour mode features to track how well students are progressing. The first uses a traffic light system and with the second, which I find much more helpful, teachers can make use of the Bloom’s Taxonomy colour mode for a more in-depth look and to keep student progress moving along.
Class Act also provides a way for you to keep track of student history over a period of time to compare their current progress with how they have done in the past. You can keep students engaged using the random student generator which directs questions at random. You can also take a screen shot of your seating plan to keep track of anyone who has been absent for a lesson.
There is a number of time saving tools as well, such as the duplicate classes feature. You can use this feature to duplicate classes using two different colour modes. This means there is no need to enter students’ names into a file more than once and ensures you never omit any essential classroom information.
4. Too Noisy Pro
I’m certain most teachers will agree that one of the hardest parts of managing a classroom is keeping the noise levels down to maintain an environment that is conducive to learning. Too Noisy Pro is an app that helps teachers control the noise levels in a fun and engaging way. The app helps keep students attention by displaying graphically the noise level taking place in the background. You can choose to display the app on a large screen or even just on an iPad propped up at the front of the class to remind students to keep the noise level at an appropriate level.
Too Noisy Pro contains features that allow you to adjust the noise level for different classroom activities that are louder in addition to those that require a lower noise level. When students exceed the noise level you set for more than three seconds, an alarm automatically activates before the display screen appears to shatter.
Too Noisy Pro contains a counter that keeps track of how many incidents occurred when students were too noisy. The counter can be reset at any time and the audible alarm can be activated or turned off as well. This provides teachers with a virtual assistant that allows you to let students know in a fun way when the classroom noise levels are excessive.
The app offers another way to motivate students by giving them potential to earn stars. When the noise remains at an acceptable level for the entire interval selected by the teacher e.g. 15 minutes during a test, then the class will be awarded with a star, giving the teacher more opportunities to tie this into a bigger reward or privileges for good behaviour.
5. Stick Pick
Stick Pick is an app that helps teachers to create questions for students at different learning levels and keeps track of student responses to questions during a classroom discussion. The app allows you to randomly or intentionally select a student simply by tapping or shaking your device. Student’s names (sticks) are presented in a virtual can and each stick is tied to a mode and level of difficulty. When a student’s name is chosen by shaking the can, the app shows a selection of Bloom’s Taxonomy related questions, chosen specifically for that student based on their ability and previous performance. This method of questioning ensures that students are all being challenged toward a higher level of learning.
Stick Pick provides a way to easily differentiate instruction for easier classroom management. For example, teachers can set-up multiple cans which represent a classroom lesson and then fill it with sticks to represent each student. You can then select a category of questions geared toward each student with the option to choose a level of difficulty for each learner.
Stick Pick also allows you to track data for formative assessments by tapping a response of correct or incorrect according to the student’s response. Then you can rate students responses on a scale of 0 to 5 using an ESL rubric or Bloom’s rubric for critical thinking. This helps teachers to easily manage differentiated instruction and lead a classroom discussion in a more effective way.
Another feature that makes the teacher’s life that bit easier is that student progress records can easily be sent to parent directly from the app. This saves time and means that parents can have frequent and accurate information on their child’s performance.
6. Class Dojo
Class Dojo is designed to help teachers keep track of students’ progress and behaviour in the classroom and share the data with administrators and parents. Teachers can also create goals for students to work towards. The app is based on positive reinforcement and enables you to reward students in real-time for good classroom behaviour.
Students can also use Class Dojo by creating their own account and customising it with the included avatars. This provides them with a way to track their own progress and behaviour by syncing with the teacher in real-time.
The app is customisable according to specific behaviours e.g. kindness or critical thinking, in which you wish to reward points to students during a classroom lesson. Teachers can track behaviours that they choose themselves or can track behaviours based on school wide expectations. Points can be given and taken away throughout the day. Then you can use the reporting tool to inform parents of their child’s behaviour via instant messaging (IM). This allows parents to monitor their child’s progress in real-time and securely hold a conversation with the teacher. Teachers that share classes or groups of students can set up shared behaviours, ensuring that feedback is kept consistent every day and throughout the day.
Personally I think Class Dojo excels as a communication tool and the IM and instant reporting is a fantastic feature as parents will surely appreciated the added communication and will be aware of exactly were their child may need extra help or more revision.
The app is designed to let students and their parents see which areas they are performing well in and which need more work. It also helps make class behaviour expectations more clear. However, one thing that must be mentioned about Class Dojo is that much of the instant feedback can happen publicly or can be displayed to the whole class. This could have a detrimental effect on student’s confidence, especially those that are sensitive or embarrassed about their ability in a particular area. Teachers do have the option to keep this information private. I feel that the app’s public features should only be used in a way that respects student’s privacy and care should be taken to ensure that no student is singled out in a negative way.
ScreenChomp allows teachers to create a recording of their screen to create personalised tutorials for students to follow, as well as video explanations of specific concepts to be learned. The app is a valuable tool for educators that use a flipped classroom approach to learning. Students can use it to help each other out with homework assignments, or use it to collaborate on group projects when they can’t meet in person.
ScreenChomp is capable of recording audio and touchscreen interactions to allow you to provide helpful tutorials to students when they are outside of the classroom. To use all you need to do is touch the record button on your iPad, and draw on the virtual whiteboard (the screen) whilst narrating what you are doing. Any photo from the iPads camera roll can be imported onto the screen and drawn upon. The tools allow you to explain complex concepts by providing a visual representation on a recordable whiteboard. The recording is then uploaded to ScreenChomp.com and a link is provided to the tutorial which you can then email to your students. You can also download your recordings to keep them on file on your own device.
When you want to erase the information and start fresh, simply press down on the whiteboard for three seconds to clear all data. Or, while you are creating a recording, you can swipe over any information you do not want to include to erase it.
The app is extremely easy to use, is very powerful, it doesn’t cost anything and ensures that pupils who had to be absent for a lesson will not fall behind.
To see ScreenChomp in action, take a look at the video below:
Remind is geared toward mobile users that constantly have their device in hand. The app is designed to remove any communication barriers between the teacher and student or the teacher and parent. The features include SMS messaging capability that allows teachers to broadcast messages or contact individual students to remind them of upcoming events, how students are progressing, due dates for assignments, or just a simple message of encouragement. Not only this, Remind allows you to send voice massages, photos, documents, PDF documents and even presentations.
Remind is a secure app and is designed in a way that does not reveal the phone numbers of students or parents. Additionally, all communications remain within the app interface that is user friendly and easy to understand. Regardless of your tech proficiency, Remind is easy to setup for teachers, students, and parents. It creates a completely connected classroom that saves time and is faster than sending emails or creating newsletters. It is a simple way for students and parents to stay informed when out of the classroom.
The app allows teachers to send one way messages or they can choose the chat option which allows for replies, for a personalised conversation with a parent or student. The messages are SMS so if parents aren’t too tech savvy and don’t have smartphones, they can still receive Remind messages on any mobile phone device.
Safety and appropriateness of use is important. Once you start using the app, the message history is recorded which can be downloaded at any time.
For teachers that like to be super organised this app allows you to schedule messages and reminders to be sent out in advance.
We know how much teachers love to use index cards! If you are one of those teachers then Trello is the project management app for you as it is based on the idea of index cards pinned on a board. Trello is an app that helps teachers to easily manage classroom projects. You can organise different projects or different classes into boards, then you have the option to invite other teachers, colleagues and students to a particular board. Each card on the board can be flipped over to add notes or comments for yourself or the others that can see the board. The tools allow you to see at a glance how each project is progressing and whether or not students require assistance. You can also keep track of the ideas students are coming up with, as well as how they are being assigned within a group and the manner in which they are completing tasks.
The interface is designed to be visual which is great for students that like to include news feeds from social networks in their project. The screen is designed to look like a daily organiser where you can easily see current and pending tasks in addition to the tasks which have been completed. You can even pick up a card and place it in the done pile, keeping the board clutter free as well as giving you a sense of satisfaction.
Each task you create is customisable and allows you to attach files, label items, set due dates, and much more. There is also a feature that allows you to cast a vote or attach a comment to specific tasks. This provides an easier way to deliver feedback or receive new ideas. The app provides a great platform for maintaining classroom organisation and keeping students on task. The app is great even to use for just simple check-lists.
10. Explain Everything
Do you use PowerPoint to create presentations for your class? Explain Everything is a massive step up from that. Explain Everything is a handy app for clearly explaining lesson concepts. Create visually interactive slides for lessons and tutorials that will keep students’ attention. What makes this app so useful is that it allows you to integrate content from many sources. Include PDFs, pictures and videos in your presentation and use the microphone in your device to narrate over concepts as well as animate and annotate items you wish to highlight.
Explain Everything is designed to integrate with other apps to allow you to easily import information from each program. The apps include iWork, Evernote, YouTube, Google Drive, and Dropbox. There is also an abundance of tools that increase the versatility of Explain Everything and can be used for student presentations to share and broadcast. Additionally, you can use Explain Everything as a high resolution interactive whiteboard using Apple Airplay streaming service on an Airplay enabled mobile device.
Watch a video tutorial below:
About the Author
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