The Last List of Apps You’ll Ever Need

appsLet’s face it there are so many apps out there that can be used for education. It really is quite over whelming. If you are paying any amount of attention, literally every where you go you will be inundated with suggestions for apps to use in the classroom. Spend five minutes on Twitter and you will come across at least ten different tweets offering some insight into the best apps for whatever it may be. Spend five minutes on Google searching and you’ll come up with at least ten million suggested sites. Spend five minutes in a room of educators talking about technology and there will be at least 10 questions about the best apps to use in the classroom.

While people have made a solid attempt to provide some suggestion or organization to apps, the sheer volume of the lists that are out there really is just as overwhelming as the amount of apps that are available. And it concerns me that anyone would rely on an arbitrary list of apps without other considerations in mind. What if we only allowed learners to read books of the Newbery Award list. Granted there are some amazing books on that list, but what about all the other amazing titles that are not on that list.

So we are effectively back to square one.
What apps should I use with my learners in the classroom? 

My list really is simple:

1. Take the pressure and responsibility off of you as the educator and let the learner decide what tools, apps, and resources they want to use to demonstrate their profound learning of the skills or concepts.

I know that this may seem like a radical notion, but if we want learners to take ownership of their learning we have to also include them in the design process by allowing them to have voice and choice in the ways the go about doing their work. In order to allow learners to have a say in their learning, we as educators need to be willing to take a step back and allow the learners to take some of the lead.

Still not sure if learners can be empowered to take charge of their own learning experiences? Check out this pretty amazing Ted Talk.



5 thoughts on “The Last List of Apps You’ll Ever Need

  1. Amy November 11, 2013 at 11:51 pm Reply

    Agree. “How to” is always more powerful than “Do this.” Nice post.


  2. hcato November 11, 2013 at 11:28 pm Reply

    Amy of course I knew you were going to say that! And of course we have to help guide students to a starting place, but just like with any other support structures we put in place for students, at some point students need to be able to stand on their own without those structures (or possibly with the structures that they have developed). Maybe it is more about teaching them how to find quality resources and to develop a standard by which to evaluate those resources, than it is about a particular resource (or in this case an app).


  3. hcato November 11, 2013 at 11:24 pm Reply

    Jane, the video should be there now.


  4. Amy November 11, 2013 at 8:49 pm Reply

    You know I love this post. I also think that while yes, students need choice as to how best they learn, depending on the students, we must give them choices to choose from. Don Graves, writing workshop hero of mine, said: “Choice without parameters is no choice at all.” That applies to a lot of students, especially mine, when it comes to apps–or any use of technology really. Some need a starting place. (You knew I was going to say that.)


  5. Jane November 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm Reply

    Good points all! Where is the TED talk link?

    Dr. Jane Spielman Center for Educational Options Instructional Specialists 917-496-1235


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