The 50 Best Smartphone Apps for Back to School: The Teacher Edition

Mobile phones managed to mostly kick their classroom stigma once the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and other PDA-cellular hybrids (also known as “smartphones,” but you knew that already) popped onto the scene. Thanks to the veritable Library of Alexandria of apps available on the respective markets, life can run that much smoother for professionals of all types. And that, of course, includes teachers.

We’ve discovered a seemingly endless collection of smartphone apps that teachers can put to work in the classroom and beyond, creating a powerhouse of back-to-school mobile tools. Read on to discover 50 of the best smartphone apps for teachers, and share any personal favorites we’ve missed in the comments.

If you’re a student, check out our student edition of this list!

For the Classroom

  1. Smart Dot:

    It’s an iDevice-based laser pointer that doubles as a remote control for PowerPoint and Keynote presentations — well worth it for slide-loving educators!

  2. Educreations Interactive Whiteboard:

    OK, so you actually download this app to an iPad, but Educreations Interactive Whiteboard still remains an essential edtech tool. As the title states, it turns the gadget into an easy-to-use method of drawing and diagramming in the classroom.

  3. Attendance:

    iPhone-enabled teachers adore this application allowing them to keep track of their students’ classroom habits and even learn their names via flashcard.

  4. Grade Book for Professors:

    Take advantage of Google Spreadsheets as a useful strategy for organizing and tracking student grades, either through the paid or free version.

  5. Percent Calculator:

    Get grades done harder, better, faster, and stronger using this quick and easy calculator just for figuring out percentages.

  6. eClicker Polling System:

    Available on the iPhone, the eClicker Suite lets teachers poll their students about anything and everything during class.

  7. Voice Recorder:

    Perfect for Android users wanting to make permanent records of lectures for students who can’t make it to class for whatever reason.

  8. iTalk Recorder:

    Don’t worry, Apple fans! There’s still a way to keep an audio record of classroom discussions using the iPhone!

  9. Blackboard Mobile Learn:

    Rather than an app for a classroom, Blackboard practically provides a classroom for an app, available on almost all smartphone and tablet platforms.

  10. CourseSmart:

    Subscribers to this digital textbook services enjoy unlimited access to thousands of digital reads on their phones and tablet devices.

Organization, Time Saving, and Productivity

  1. Teacher Aide Pro Lite:

    Turn an Android phone into a personal assistant with an app providing pretty much every specific organizational requirement educators need to succeed.

  2. TeacherKit:

    iPhone-toting teachers can also enjoy all the perks of a PDA app with TeacherKit, which provides a way to stay on top of grades, attendance, and any other factors they need to know.

  3. Evernote:

    Oftentimes touted as the ultimate productivity app, Evernote allows for the production of multimedia notes to be shared across devices.

  4. Dropbox:

    This simple, popular tool focuses mostly on transferring documents back and forth between different computers and smartphones alike.

  5. RE.minder:

    Educators with time management issues might want to consider downloading RE.minder, with a to-do list feature and handy alerts when tasks are almost due.

  6. iAnnotate:

    iAnnotate helps iPad-owning teachers edit, organizes, read, and annotate (of course) PDF files, making it an ideal tool for grading student projects.

  7. Free Wi-Fi Finder:

    When getting work done outside the home or office — because teachers need a change of atmosphere, too! — it helps to know what nearby locales host free wireless service.

  8. Instapaper:

    Save pages from useful websites and blogs you encounter for offline viewing and reading with this much-ballyhooed timesaver.

  9. Documents To Go:

    View and create PDFs and Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, and Word documents from almost anywhere.

  10. Bento:

    Keep a database on contacts, projects, upcoming events, due dates, and more with one of the most-acclaimed organization applications available.

Professional Development and Training

  1. Edmodo:

    Connect with other teachers as well as students using Edmodo, which acts as a social media resource limited exclusively to the schooling sector.

  2. LinkedIn:

    Access the ridiculously popular professional social media site and network with others in the education industry for ideas, inspirations, and information about how to improve your career.

  3. iBlueSky (mindmapping):

    Get great ideas out there and in the open with this productivity app that means to push every user’s inherent potential forward.

  4. Bump:

    “Bumping” two enabled phones together automatically exchanges contact information — great for staying in touch with parents as well as other teachers and administrators from education events.

  5. Twitter:

    The ubiquitous microblog’s app covers pretty much every smartphone platform available, and offers a stellar way to share resources with other professionals as well as students and their parents.

  6. Flashcards*:

    Create, share, and download flashcards on every subject imaginable — awesome for classroom use or staying current on changes within education and areas of inquiry.

  7. Facebook:

    Because so many education professionals, schools, and organizations take advantage of the 300-pound gorilla of social media, it definitely warrants a download for plugged-in pros seeking some career development.

  8. The Leadership Challenge Mobile Tool:

    Wiley Publishers provide a $4.99 resource packed with information, inspiration, and a series of articles and activities meant to bolster general leadership acumen.

  9. Pulse News:

    Stay on top of the current news of the day by sticking with this Android app, which involves easy access to any online reads the user chooses. Pulse News makes for one of the best ways to remain relevant in the general education sector as well as any academic subjects taught.

  10. Goodreads:

    You don’t have to teach English to appreciate good reads, and this social network and personal library inventory system stands as solid proof! Sign up and use it to receive custom recommendations of books to nurture the classroom as well as personal and professional growth.

Reference

  1. Wolfram Alpha:

    Turn a smartphone into the world’s most powerful reference tool, with extensive information about literally every academic subject imaginable packed into one stunning application.

  2. Dictionary.com – Dictionary & Thesaurus – Free:

    Like the title states, this app from Dictionary.com combines dictionary and thesaurus tools for quick vocabulary look-ups.

  3. Wikipedia:

    Read through and share articles from the world’s largest encyclopedia on pretty much every smartphone platform out there.

  4. Wikipanion:

    Wikipanion streamlines the Wikipedia experience even more, allowing for bookmarking, archiving visit dates, multilingual searches, and other amazing additions completely gratis.

  5. How To Videos from Howcast.com:

    Learn how to do just about anything using crowdsourced videos, and even upload your own instructions to open up your classroom to the world.

  6. Free Graphing Calculator:

    It’s a free graphing calculator. For the iPhone. If you haven’t figured that out by now, then probably you have to worry about more than which apps to download and further your teaching.

  7. Algeo graphing calculator:

    Don’t fret, Android devotees! There’s a great graphing calculator application just for you ladies and gents as well!

  8. ASL Ultimate:

    Teachers with hearing-impaired students will greatly appreciate having this resource around for advice on what to say and how to say it in ASL.

  9. World Factbook:

    Every year, the CIA releases its World Factbook to smartphone audiences and grants them access to detailed information about every nation on the planet.

  10. Google Search:

    Google Search provides way more options than the web-based engine, and smartphone fans love taking advantage of how it sends returns based on photos and other multimedia input.

Welcome Distractions

  1. Kindle:

    Available on every smartphone platform, Amazon’s popular ebook reader make free and for-profit digital literature easy to access during free moments.

  2. TED:

    TED provides an edifying way to pass the time, with hundreds of videos featuring experts lecturing on every topic imaginable.

  3. Instagram:

    In between pictures of cats and food, try posting some from the classroom and share ideas about decor, or host a digital art show for students.

  4. NPR Podcasts:

    Sit back, relax, and get lost in “Planet Money,” “All Songs Considered,” “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” and dozens of other NPR shows both national and local.

  5. Showyou:

    Showyou curates the best of the best YouTube videos, and encourages others to share what they love most. The educational applications here ought to be readily apparent!

  6. Musee du Louvre:

    Digitally walk the famous halls of the world-class art museum at the end of a stressful day and get lost in its glorious collections.

  7. Foursquare:

    Play fun, deal-seeking check-in games with friends or even draw some up for student scavenger hunts.

  8. Cracked Reader Lite:

    Cracked is so ridiculously hilarious, people sometimes forget it actually features some insightful and educational content on the reg.

  9. Google Earth:

    Fun with or without playing with it on an educational level, Google Earth inspires awe and wonder at our planet’s true complexities.

  10. Mixology Drink Recipes:

    Because those essays won’t grade themselves.

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