Evernote (Android, iOS)
Evernote is a free cloud storage app that lets you integrate your notes across several different devices, allowing users to access and edit files on any Internet-connected device, from smartphones to desktop computers. Students can use this app for notes, to-do lists and to record voice reminders. Evernote also has other useful features. For instance, there is a feature that can be used to search for text within an image. Instead of trying to write down an entire whiteboard’s worth of material, a user can just snap a photo and search for the pertinent text later.
StudyBlue Flashcards (Android, iOS)
This app gives you the ability to create flashcards, using text and images, on your mobile device. StudyBlue Flashcards also allows you to quiz yourself, providing statistics for study-session performance. That way, students can identify their weaknesses and focus on the topics giving them the most difficulty. The flashcards can also be used offline, making it possible to study without the need for Internet access.
Mint.com Personal Finance (Android, iOS)
Mint.com is a budgeting app that gives you a holistic view of your personal finances. It allows you to integrate your bank accounts and credit cards to provide a better view of where your money is coming from and where it is going. The app can create a budget for you, and will even send alerts when bills are due, allowing students to stay on top of their finances.
Alarm Clock Xtreme (Android)
Having trouble waking up for those 8 a.m. classes? Alarm Clock Xtreme can assist with that. Those guilty of habitual snoozing can customize their alarms so that they have to correctly answer math equations to get those few extra minutes of sleep. Users can also set the amount of times they are allowed to hit the snooze button or make it so the duration between alarms is shorter each time they snooze. There are also features for morning people. For those who prefer a gentler wake-up call, an alarm can be set to gradually increase in volume, instead of a loud, boisterous siren.
Real Simple No Time to Cook? (Android, iOS)
The stereotypical college diet consists largely of fast food, pizza and ramen. For the adventurous types who want to cook food that requires a little more preparation than adding a packet of pasta to boiling water, there’s Real Simple Recipes’ No Time to Cook? This app provides simple, fast recipes for the novice chef. It starts by asking users what the foundation of their dish will be (i.e. chicken, vegetarian, pasta) and then gives them an option for desired preparation time: 20, 30 or 40 minutes. Aside from providing simple, fast recipes, the app also has how-to videos, a kitchen timer and it can send grocery lists via text or email to ensure you leave the grocery store with the necessary ingredients.
How do you help your children use their smartphone or tablet responsibly?
Some media experts throw their hands up in frustration, lamenting how smartphones can lead to irresponsible behavior and addictive tendencies. At the same time, smartphones offer great advantages for study and will be a part of your child’s future. There are some great resources to help parents training their children how to use wireless technology responsibly.
CTIA-The Wireless Association® has developed helping parents and educators teaching children about responsible wireless use: The Be Smart. Be Fair. Be Safe site. The site offers a range of links to resources, facts and surveys, and a simple overview for training your children. Here are the highlights:
- Unwanted contact – Parents should talk to their children about cyberbullying, harassing messages, and other forms of unwanted online contact. It is essential for the child to feel safe and free to talk with parents about any unwanted online contact they’ve received.
- Inappropriate content – Parents must train children to avoid posting inappropriate images, videos or words online. Children should understand the risks and potential consequences sending inappropriate content in public and private posts. Poor conduct today could result in job loss tomorrow. CTIA offers three simple rules: avoid saying things you wouldn’t say in person (online, email or in texts); don’t take or send inappropriate text messages, photos or videos; never give your personal information (including phone number, home address, e-mail address or credit card number).
- Privacy – Parents should play an active role in protecting their child’s privacy. Use privacy settings on the wireless devices and make use of the privacy control tools your wireless service provides. (Talk to your Cellular Sales rep about adding Parental Controls to your Verizon account.)
- Applications – Talk with children about applications and help them learn how to make good decision about downloading apps.
- Family Wireless Policy – Establish family wireless rules. Here’s a sample Family Wireless Rules template to get started.
Another helpful site is Common Sense Media. This site helps parents and educators learn about ways to protect and train children with smartphones and other forms of media.
Yesterday, I highlighted the ways mobile devices are entering into the education system. More and more students are going to BYOT schools (bring your own technology). At the same time, some teachers and school systems are seeking to raise money to provide the students with mobile devices. One teacher at Vine Middle School in Knoxville, TN is raising money for iPod touches, one student at a time.
Today, I want to highlight some of the applications that are helping students learn. The number of educational applications have exploded over the last few years. Here are 5 types of apps that are helping students become better learners.
1. Game-Based Learning – Playing games is a natural way to learn. Children regularly create games that mimic adult patterns like playing house, toy mowers, etc. More and more research anticipate game-based learning to play a dominant role in the classroom of the future. One popular game-based app is Math Motion. Designed for children ages 7-12, offers a series of games that give children visual and physical understanding of what 1/3 means and what multiplication entails, giving children a solid foundation for future learning in science, technology, engineering, and in all abstract thinking.
Zondle gives teachers the ability to create question-based games. Teachers create topics specifically for learners, then they can play those topics in any of the many zondle games.
2. Curriculum Apps – Teachers can keep students up-to-date with course information, homework assignments and school events. Blackboard Mobile™ gives schools and colleges tool for administrating courses and content. Students and teachers can access documents in multiple formats, post announcements (teachers), create discussion threads and posts, and comment on blogs and journals, all on the mobile devices they love (features vary by LMS).
3. Graphing Apps – Instead of buying expensive calculators for advanced math and science classes, students can download apps that meet extensive graphing requirements. The Algeo Calculator App for Android is perfect for calculus and algebra. Students can draw functions, find intersections and show a table of values of the functions with an easy to use interface. In the iPhone, most student can get by with the popular Free Graphing Calculator. It includes a wide range of functions and reference information. The same developer also offers an Scientific Graphing Calculator for advanced functionality.
4. Studying Apps – Whether you’re trying to remember vocabulary words, important dates in history or the latest baseball scores, gFlash makes it easy to create flash cards using Google Docs. gFlash also partners with several partners StudyStack, Quizlet, WinFlash Educator and FlashcardExchange to offer users a wider variety of pre-made flash cards.
5. Researching Apps – From taking notes to preparing for tests to collecting information for a paper, smartphones give students tools for researching and organizing research information. My favorite app in both iOS and Android formats is Evernote. While there are a variety of apps that can help students in collaboration, homework, footnotes, and organizing data, Evernote can do all that and more. Students can organize information in notebooks by subject, class, and project or they can create their own system of organizing information. Evernote can save web pages, photos, audio clips and text entry. It works on computers and all mobile devices. Plus, an Evernote Pro account offers security and an easy way to share notebooks for collaboration.
 Marla Crossley. “iPod Touch will engage fifth-graders in math, reading.” Knoxville News Sentinel, January 23, 2012 <http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/jan/23/ipod-touch-will-engage-fifth-graders-in-math/>
The use of mobile phones among children 8 to 18 continues to rise. Over the last five years, the number of youth who own their own cell phone has jumped from 33 percent to 66 percent. The dramatic rise of young people using mobile devices brings both challenges and possibilities. Today I want to highlight the positive possibilities of empowering youth with mobile devices. Other posts will consider education apps as well as how parents can help protect their children who are using smartphones, iPads, iPods and the like.
In the past, many schools banned mobile devices, and considered them a distraction from the learning experience. Now more and more schools are revisiting their mobile devices policies and considering ways that devices can be incorporated into the learning process. The reality is that over 75 percent of children from 12 to 17 now carry a cell phone (and many carry smartphones). We live in a wired world. When young people graduate from high school, using technology will most likely play a key role in their college as well as their careers. Recognizing the lifelong influence of technology, some schools have decided to welcome smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices into the classroom.
The classroom setting provides an opportunity for students to learn about social media and mobile devices “in a supervised environment that emphasizes the development of attitudes and skills that will help keep them safe outside of school.” Many schools like Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati are asking how can mobile phones play an active role in learning. “I think it’s a discussion that is taking place in almost every school district,” says Todd Yohey, the superintendent of Ohio’s 8,100-student Oak Hills school district, which includes Oak Hills High.
Some schools have implemented a policy known as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology). At New Canaan Public Schools, high schools students bring their smartphones and tablets for use in research, homework assignments and class projects. The library also provides 7 iPads to be shared among the students. By embracing technology, schools are teaching students how to learn using mobile devices as well as how to be responsible and safe online.
At a recent Riverside Chamber of Commerce students demonstrated how technology is a part of learning. Third-grader Kendall Lally talked about how she uses a comic book writing app on her iPod in learning to write. Ninth-grader Adnrew Savage demonstrated learning algebra on an iPad. Riverside Unified School District Superintendent Rick Miller said that “Fun apps, such as the one to teach writing through comic books, not only engage students’ interest, they extend academic learning beyond any homework assigned”.
 Victoria J. Rideout, M.A., Ulla G. Foehr, Ph.D., and Donald F. Roberts, Ph.D.. “GENERATION M2 – Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds.” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, January 2010 <http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf>
 Amanda Lenhart, Rich Ling, Scott Campbell, and Kristen Purcell. “Teens and Mobile Phones.” Pew Research Center, April 20, 2010 <http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones.aspx>
 “Making Progress: Rethinking State and School District Policies Concerning Mobile Technologies and Social Media.” Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) <http://www.cosn.org/Default.aspx?TabId=12543>
 Ian Quillen. “Schools Open Doors to Students’ Mobile Devices.” Education Week, October 2010
 Dayna Straehley. “Students show how technology boosts learning.” The Press Enterprise, May 10, 2012 <http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20120510-riverside-students-show-how-technology-boosts-learning.ece>