There’s no denying that the state of the economy has made life even harder for the majority of teachers. While many schools have been facing budgetary concerns for years, the recession and cuts in state and federal funding have led to a lot of layoffs, meaning larger class sizes and fewer resources for the teaching staff that remains. This, of course, means that most teachers are either making do with less, or they’re using their personal resources to enhance the lessons they teach, whether that entails footing the bill for art supplies and books or spending a lot of unpaid time seeking creative solutions. So if you’re one of many teachers at your wits end when it comes to improving the lessons you offer while making your life easier, here are just a few clever apps for your iPad that could help you in the classroom setting.
- TeacherTool One. This free app is like a godsend for overworked teachers. It lets you easily input and track grades and attendance by date, as well as file personal notes about particular students so that you can set reminders for yourself for upcoming lessons (i.e. “Joey needs to practice his multiplication tables” or “Susan needs help with sentence structure and spelling”). It’s a great way to instantly track students and each time you sync with your home or work computer it makes a backup copy.
- GradePad. The nice thing about this app to help you make the grades is that it offers you a lot of handy options. While it will cost you $2.99 to download, there are some useful features, such as the ability to create groups (so you can make grades for joint projects), instantly track performance with rubrics that offer criteria and scaling options, and make assessments over time. And with an included web account it’s easy to upload class lists and other important information.
- Dropbox. As freebies go, this one is a keeper. And considering how basic it is, you may wonder how you ever got by without it. It’s basically like a virtual backpack or briefcase. You simply drop in your files (docs, pics, even videos) from any device and you can view them on any other device. So you can take assignments from home to work (and back again) without having to keep track of physical copies, and if you find something that you want to share with your class (like snapshots from your weekend visit to the natural history museum) you can easily deposit them into Dropbox at home and then display them on your iPad in class.
- Keynote. If your course is lecture-heavy, this app can provide you with a lot of time-saving tools that will help to spice up your speeches. At $9.99 it’s not the cheapest tool in iVerse, but once you get started you’ll use it all the time. You can utilize the templates provided to quickly insert text or graphics and you can even use it to create slide shows or animations to punch up your presentation.
- Evernote. When you learn what this app can do, you may be surprised to see that it’s free. The functionality is pretty amazing; you can actually capture information anywhere to access and search later. On a basic level you can use the app to take snapshots for later reference or leave yourself voice memos, so if you see ads for home tuition services that would benefit your students, for example, you can just snap a pic of the info on the go. But you can also capture screen shots of web pages and then search the text later for further information. And you can download the app on several devices and use the sync function to access shared data from any of them.
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this quest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.