effective education apps

The cheat sheet to choosing effective education apps

Getting students active in the classroom is a tough task for any teacher. But there’s a silver bullet that is, quite literally, silver. It’s the Apple iPad and this expensive, silver, and engaging device is making its way into classrooms around the world.

Since there’s such a push to bring apps into the classroom, it’s time to figure out which ones are right for you. I threw together this cheat sheet to choosing education apps that will hopefully help you quickly choose what works (and what doesn’t).

So what are some of the best education apps for active learning? What are the top ways to get students actively engaged and interacting with one another? There are some seriously amazing iPad apps that are terrific for project-based learning, active engagement, and even flipped classrooms.

This cheat sheet will help – but first let’s run through the questions you see in the visual.

Questions To Ask When Testing Apps For The Classroom

In an attempt to uncover what works, I combed through a few hundred apps and analyzed them by asking the following questions:

  • How easy is this app to use for less tech-savvy students and teachers?
  • Is the app free? This is crucial for multi-device or BYOD classrooms.
  • What are other educators saying about this app?
  • How are an array of classrooms using this app?
  • How often should the app be used?
  • Can the app be used out of the classroom? Is it designed to be easy enough to use when teachers or classroom leaders aren’t there to help?

There are, of course, many other questions to consider when trying out an iPad app (or any other smart device app) for classroom usage. However, I’d recommend taking your deliberate time and spending as much time testing, researching, and trying out as many apps as possible.

So, What’s Next?

Taking the above questions into account, closely examine the plethora of apps that are being recommended by blogs (like Daily Genius!) and also what apps are being used by students right now. Are they appropriate for the classroom? Are they appropriate for integrating into your curriculum? How do they potentially mesh with pedagogy?

If you can answer these many questions while examining the popular apps below, you’re on the right track to identifying effective new ways to jump-start some truly engaged learning. Best of luck!

The cheat sheet to choosing effective education apps

Did we miss a key question that you think deserves to be included? Add it in down in the comments or share it with @DailyGenius on Twitter or share your favorites on the Daily Genius Facebook page!

Want a printable / lighter version?

You’re in luck! Thanks to feedback (thanks Judy!), I whipped up a colored ink-friendly version. It’s embedded below but you can download the lighter 8.5″ x 11″ PDF version here. Your printer will thank you!

Written by Jeff Dunn

Jeff is an education and technology lover who has worked in far too many industries to count. Okay, like maybe 5 or 6. Jeff can indeed count that high but it’s not recommended. Jeff also likes to write bios in the third-person.


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  1. Love the cheat sheet for choosing apps, but printables for education should not have black background due to conserving printer ink in schools.

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    • Ask and ye shall get a lighter version. Great point Judy – thanks! The newer lighter version is now below the original (there’s a downloadable PDF as well)

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  2. That’s smart ? .. I’m also curious to know what sort of app development tool was used to develop this. I have been involved in a similar endeavor using a cross-platform prototyping studio called Kony Flex (bit. ly/ 1zOxa3C) for dynamic layouts .. rendered pretty well across iOS, droid and blackberry ..

    Maybe another question to extend the ‘privacy concerns’ would be – is there ‘monitored usage and access control’ ?

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