I started using my personal technology in the classroom full-time in 2013 when I started attending a high school that had wifi access available for students. I gave a presentation my senior year about some of these apps to my school district because so many people were impressed how I integrated technology so seamlessly into doing my schoolwork. Here are five of my favorite apps from over the years.
This app allows for the user to annotate PDFs and Word documents with drawings or text. The user can also type or draw on their own documents or photos. Afterwards, the user can upload the file to a cloud storage website such as Dropbox or email it to someone. My teachers in high school all shared access to a Dropbox folder and then created sub folders that they uploaded work into for me to retrieve. I have used this app in all of my science classes since I discovered it in 2013 and it has made the process of doing labs very easy. Teachers would email me the document for class or upload it to a shared folder, and I would open it with Notability. It is $2 and only available on iOS at this time.
I was actually recommended this app by the technology coordinator at my school two days before a state standardized test when we found out that the calculator app that I used at the time wasn’t actually approved by the state testing group. This app allows the user to write out the problem they want solved, and the app will convert the handwriting to text and display the answer. One thing I really like is that the typed font will enlarge to the size of the handwritten font, so if I write 2+2 so it takes up half the screen, the app will display the text as taking up half the screen. The app can recognize even the worst of handwriting and while it doesn’t support graphing, it is a great calculator that cannot access the Internet. It is free and can be downloaded for iOS or Android.
While it has many capabilities, I use this app in a learning environment to apply colored filters to text so that way I can read what I am doing easier, crop images, or enlarge them as needed. It is like a free version of PhotoShop that satisfies many of my creative needs. It is free and available on iOS and Android.
This app allows users to create short, 30 second tutorials and draw on images as well as record audio. It is great for explaining simple concepts or for explaining things more in-depth. It does not require an account, and each Clarisketch can be accessed using an unique link. It is free and available on Android only.
I get all of my textbooks digitally and have found that Amazon not only has all my textbooks, but also has one of the best eReading apps I have ever used. There are many study sources such as creating flash cards, but my favorite functions include the ability to enlarge text and adjust the brightness of the app. It is available on iOS and Android.