10 Apps to Transform Your Teaching and Tuition.
Technology has changed the way we teach and tutor forever. Studies have shown use of technology can significantly improve children’s engagement and learning. Teachers2Tutor look at 10 Apps that will transform your teaching and tutoring.
Aurasma is a fantastic way of making learning more engaging, in the classroom or during home tuition. By using Aurasma, you could have Winston Churchill perform a speech to your students once they hover their tablet over his picture!
Essentially it works by allowing you to create video content or link to existing video content that will be triggered when a tablet is hovered over a specific picture or image. There are so many applications that Aurasma can be used for but here are a few of my favourites:
- Making research come to life. By scanning a picture, students could be linked to videos from museums or to videos explaining different times in history or political views. The applications are endless!
- Book review videos which are triggered when the students hover over the cover a book. This can be a powerful way to motivate the students to read more for pleasure. My home tuition student’s love listening to recommendations from other students and can’t wait to share theirs.
- Making displays more engaging and interactive. By using Aurasma, you can have video of students explaining their learning when someone hovers the tablet over different parts of the display.
- Allowing students to experience the sound and feel of instruments in music. Take a picture of each instrument and use this as your trigger image. Once the children hover their tablet over the image of the instrument, they will be able to listen to the beautiful sound of each instrument.
This app allows you to create animated characters (human) and create short videos where they speak (using your voice which you record) in front of a variety of backgrounds. The children love this app and it is a great way to get them to really listen to an important short piece of information. It works equally well in the classroom and during private tuition.
You can use this app in many ways but some of my favourite are:
- Create a mini me (teacher) and have him/her set the children a challenge, task or give instructions to follow. Using your teacher mini me is also a brilliant way of sharing the LI and SC with students while ensuring they are engaged with the process. This works brilliantly for home tuition and helps bring an element of fun in to it.
- Use Tellagami characters for emotional literacy or as a way of supporting troubled students. Allowing the children to speak through their Tellagami can have a remarkable effect on the child’s confidence and often things are shared that the student may not be willing to share directly.
- Use Tellagami to focus in on a person (fictional and factual) and have them answer questions posed by other students. You can go as deep as you want with this! Again this is a great activity for home tutoring and makes it really fun!
Tap To Talk is a fantastic app for any students who may have speech and language difficulties or particular ASN which effect their ability to communicate with others.
I use this app as a way to help autistic children communicate more confidently and effectively. With a broad range of clear categories such as Go, Play, Hungry, Drink, Emotion and Bathroom; the user interface is easy to use and self-explanatory. Each category is broken down further in to a sub- menu, for example the category Go is broken down in to the sub menu items Home, School, Playground, Shopping, Restaurant etc
With a little bit of practise, it really is very easy to use this app as an effective way of enhancing communication and can be very empowering for some children.
Another beneficial use for the app is to use it with EAL students in the early stages of their education while they still have very little English. It can really help students pick up key phrases quickly and more independently.
This is a little gem but may not be for everyone!
Remind essential works as a communication system between teachers or tutors and parents/students via text message.
The beautiful part is that it is totally secure as Remind protects your personal details which are never shared between parties. All messages are powered through the Remind system so once parents/students are registered (a very quick process), teachers and tutors can text their children without ever actually knowing their number.
The applications for this are quite obvious.
- Better communication between school and home leading to better teacher/parent partnerships. How easy it is to send a quick group text message to parents explaining what you covered in the past week in class!
- It provides a very convenient and safe way to encourage your students and remind them of important tasks (think little Jack who never brings his P.E kit or Amy who never remembers her homework). I know quite a few secondary teachers who have used this app to help encourage their students to revise for exams! I also use it to remind my private tuition students to work on their learning goals for the week.
I am sure there are a million things this could be used for that I haven’t thought of. Teachers are some of the most creative people in the world. If you think of a good one, I’d love to hear from you!
This is superb app for presenting content in an engaging way. Its strength is how simple and easy to use it is.
You create a ‘deck’ of slides by searching and selecting from a huge database of royalty free images, backgrounds, charts and graphs (the search facility is built in to the app) and then write over the top of the slides to create an engaging and amazingly simple presentation.
It is a really effective way of getting students to present their learning/ research in an engaging and professional manner. It is so quick to produce really strong presentations and due to this I often use Haiku Deck during tuition as a way of the students presenting their learning.
As a teacher, I can honestly say that using this app has saved me endless hours compared to using more cumbersome and time consuming PowerPoint or Keynote.
I love this app! I literally use it every day in my classroom.
Explain Everything works like an interactive whiteboard but has the advantage of recording the screen as you write and talk through your explanation. The result is a video clip that can be played back, showing the interactive screen as you write on it and talk through what you are doing!
I use this amazing app in 2 main ways:
- I use it to provide differentiated support to students who may need extra help or encouragement. How useful is it for the students to have access to video with a few worked examples from their teacher. They can play it to themselves any time when they need to check their understanding or need a little confidence boost. The impact this has on student’s ability to work independently is profound. This helps to free up your time in class to focus on particular groups or targeted learning.
- I get the children to create an Explain Everything video as a way of assessing their understanding at the end of a particular topic or when finished teaching a particular concept. It is so useful to be able to see and hear the children explain an example while actually doing it. This tells me more about the processes they use and the thinking involved; way more than marking any final product could ever tell me! This is one of the main ways I assess and record my student’s learning during private tutoring. It works great and I often combine it with creating a learning log. (See Book Creator)
Most of us will be quite familiar with this app however how many of us are using it regularly or to its full potential? Take a little bit of time training your children in how to use this app and you will find it useful in any subject with so many applications, you will wonder how you taught without it!
I movies allows the user to link pictures, video and audio in order to create a polished video presentation. Using the pre-existing themes provides a short cut for creating some amazing finished products with minimal effort or hassle. The applications are so numerous I can’t possibly mention them all.
My favourite 2 uses are:
- Using I movies as a way of recording learning throughout a whole topic. Imagine you have been doing a maths topic on fractions. I movies allows you to combine your pictures, videos and applications such as Explain Everything videos, in to one beautiful video presentation. It is really useful as an assessment tool and is also great for sharing with parents or other classes as a presentation of the children’s learning.
- Using I movies as a fun and engaging way for students to present their research on a particular topic. It really adds some excitement to ways of presenting collaborative learning activities. The students love it and feel very proud of what they have produced. Recently I used I movies in this way to allow my children to present news reports after researching the effects of oil spills. They loved it!
This is an absolute star of an app! It is a free app for the IPad and helps to promote and enhance collaborative reading. I particularly love this app for working with students during home tuition. The impact it has had on some my students reading ability has been quite profound!
Subtext enhances your students reading experience by:
- Allowing them to reflect more deeply. (They can write notes, highlight content or write summaries as they read, directly on to the book!)
- Annotate their thinking and questions directly on to the book and have their questions/comments responded to by others in the group or by the class teacher/ tutor in real time!
- Answer comprehension questions or close reading questions during reading. (set by the teacher/ tutor ahead of time.)
- Allowing access to definitions of all words found in the book. (There is audio of the word and of the definition)
- Allowing students to answer polls such as true or false questions or multiple choice questions which are triggered when a certain part of the book is reached.
This has an amazing impact on children’s motivation towards reading and gives you as the teacher/ tutor a lot more options in terms of how to engage the children with the book. The collaborative nature of real time comments/ questions and how students respond to each other make it an absolutely brilliant learning tool. A must for every classroom or private tutor.
This is a fantastic app for empowering your children to research particular aspects of learning independently.
Learnist works by allowing you to create different ‘Learn Boards’ for different topics/subjects. As a teacher or tutor you can attach different useful learning materials to each specific Learn Board such as links to relevant videos, articles, games and interactive sites. You can then make these Learn Boards accessible to your students.
Students can then use these Learn Boards to access highly relevant content on your specific topic while still maintaining complete independence in their research. As a teacher and a tutor I love it because it allows me to facilitate the student’s independent research without having to worry about them stumbling across inappropriate content in search engines or getting lost amongst a sea of highly irrelevant websites!
I particularly love this app for my home tuition as it allows me to create Learn Boards for each of my private tutoring students. This means I have a whole range of resources and interactive learning experiences at my fingertips, specifically tailored for the individual needs of each of my home tuition students.
I am sure most of us know about Book Creator but making and publishing e books is just the beginning with this app!
It is so easy to use and has such an amazing effect on children’s motivation when they see their books actually being published!
This being said, let’s have a look at two of my favourite alternative ways to use this app:
- Create and manage learning logs with Book Creator.
At the start of the year create a book for each child in your class entitled ‘My Learning’ or something to that effect. In each book, create sections for different subjects and then over the course of the year have student’s add to their books to record their learning journey. It takes the hassle out of learning logs and saves a lot of trees as well! This works really well as a way of recording home tuition student’s learning as well and provides a great way of assessing the progress made during private tutoring.
- Create your own books for the children to study.
If you are anything like me, you have spent many hours of your life in libraries, searching for a collection of books on a specific subject which will allow the children to carry out their own research. Why not do yourself a favour and make a book for them instead? This way you can guarantee that the content will be 100% relevant and catered to your student’s needs.
So there you have it. Teachers2Tutor top 10 apps to transform your teaching and tutoring. We would love to hear your experiences of using these apps. Did you find them useful? Do you have any undiscovered gems which we have not mentioned? Please share your comments and thoughts with us. Now let’s go and get downloading some apps!