Making use of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) in the classroom can enhance your teaching if you are comfortable with students using various apps to complete their tasks. Many teachers, though, find that it may be more stressful when students use a different OS than what the teacher is familiar with. For educators who encourage the students to use the app of their choice, we recommend that teachers create a Padlet (shelf layout) as a place for students to easily share. If you don’t want to start from scratch, you can always use our template and make a copy of it for your own use to adapt with your students.
If you find that you prefer all your students to have the same app on their device regardless of the operating system, here are some great ones I recommend for iOS and Android.
If you like listening to audiobooks, you’ll enjoy using OverDrive. If your district doesn’t subscribe to it, check and see if your local public library does. If so, you can check out audiobooks from them, as well as through their network of other contributing libraries!
While grandparents love this app for making collages of their grandkids, students of all ages will find this app easy to use when they have an assignment where they can create collages, annotate over photos, etc.
Though many of us remember copying down notes in class to study for tests, current students seem to prefer to take photos of the board to capture their notes. This app is so handy for that. Point and aim it at the board, projector, paper, etc.. Once it detects the area, you just snap the photo; it will crop it so only the board is in the photo and deskew the image so it looks like you had prime seating in front of the board when you took the picture. Save as an image on your device or as a PDF or Office format if you have an Office 365 account.
Adobe Spark Video
Sometimes you want your students to record a video to capture their learning. But many devices have a default video recording app that is bare bones. You’ll find the Spark Video app an easy go-to tool that will help students make great videos without getting bogged down in the technical aspects of videography. Though it is only for iOS currently, it is worth the wait for other operating systems.
Pushbullet is great if your students find that they need to “push” files or photos from their phone or tablet to their laptop/computer (and vice versa). Pushbullet makes it easy without having to move your file/photo to Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or DropBox first. And, since it is in the cloud, you can access your account from any device to retrieve previously pushed files. This is great if you have students taking photos or videos on their phones, but then need to add them to documents that they are editing on a computer.
If you want an easy app that allows all of your students to share, then this has to be the best app for that. It’s perfect for having students summarize their content or reflect on their learning. If they are using a phone or tablet, they’ll need to download the app; otherwise, they can use the webcam on their laptop to participate. Though I don’t recommend the paid version of many apps (I remember what it was like when my teacher budget was whatever I had in my pocket), this is definitely one app that is worth the price; consider getting others to join with you and you all can enjoy a discounted price. Even without the additional features in the paid version, this is a super app!
This only scratched the surface of great tools that can enhance your BYOD classroom, school, and district. If you would like more assistance, contact me at [email protected] to discuss scheduling TCEA to come to your site to provide either a half-day, full-day, or two days of training. You’ll find our training is very customized, research-based, definitely hands-on, and reasonably priced.