Android Classroom Management Apps for Teachers
When smartphones first entered schools, they were either managers’ tools or schoolkids’ distraction from the learning process. But soon came the time to fix it. In fact, even a standalone smartphone can do a lot of work for improving the atmosphere in the classroom. It can be a sound player and a noise meter, a projector remote controller and a journaling tool, and so on. And when the school servers get involved, a smartphone becomes a replacement for school diary books and timetables, delivers homework to the students and back to the teacher, and so on.
Here is the collection of tools for teachers that help them make use of smartphones. Some of them, though, are client apps for school networks; but others are great as standalone tools as well. Most of them are also available for iPhone and iPad; but we took Android as the basic platform, as it’s the most popular one in the world.
Dojo is a Japanese word that means “place of the way”; usually, a dojo is home for martial arts training. Any school class is also a “place of the way”, so the name is quite relevant. As for the app, it’s meant to create a healthy virtual space for teachers, students, and parents to communicate. The app is free, and its potential is priceless. It lets creating private or group chats, digital portfolios, sharing media, sending students encouraging marks.
As for teacher’s tools, it has a full specter of them. It has a built-in timetable, a share pair tool, a noise meter, and lots of timers that can be set independently. Along with Android devices, it’s available for iOS, and – via its web interface – for any device that runs a browser. That’s why it’s popular enough to be present at 95% of schools in the US, and overall in 180 countries. Still, it doesn’t completely replace other apps and services.
It’s another tool that connects students and teachers wherever each of them is. Combining the powers of Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Calendar and Gmail for creating timetables, exchanging tasks and works, and chatting. All of these services have been adjusted for education, so it saves a lot of work. And they require nothing but a regular Google account to get started.
Due to the familiar interface, it’s one of the easiest digital tools for both teachers and students. When a teacher rates a student’s work, there is an explanation section. It’s all about constructive communication, while all the mechanics Google provides can serve the process, and humans can focus on content and communication. Google says it won’t use your data for any other purposes, including targeted ads, or sell it to third parties.
Not so ambitious and ubiquitous as the former two, Remind is a tool for sending reminders to students (and to colleague teachers as well), regardless of the devices they use. It can be a smartphone, a computer, even a feature phone with no Internet at all; Remind will send the notification in the form the receiver can accept, a text or an email.
Despite the latest scandals with Verizon, when its users could get deprived of free texting, the app remains popular in the US, as its notifying abilities remain unthreatened. It covers over 23 million people, including teachers, parents, and students in 90% of American public-school districts. As you see, many schools and communities use the three services simultaneously. Still, there is a place for more personal tools.
Teacher Gradebook (a.k.a. Cuaderno Profesor)
It’s quite a local tool for managing students’ grades, in fact, a digital replacement for a conventional paper notebook. With it, no grade will be lost, and the final grade gets easy to calculate. No need to involve Excel, Google Sheets, or other generic tools for this purpose because a specialized tool does it better.
It supports various types and systems of grading, so it can be used in various schools and even various countries. The developer is an informatics teacher from Spain who made the app for himself, so he knows what a teacher needs in the classroom and beyond. The app itself is free, but if you wish, you can toss a coin to your teacher by buying a premium version.
It’s another specialized tool for making student portfolios. With it, each student can create a personal portfolio and share it with teachers and parents. It can provide a teacher with a better view on the student’s personality. While usually the teacher can only see the class through the lens of the subject taught, Seesaw can show the complete picture. It also delivers hundreds of ideas to make your lessons more efficient.
With it, for example, you can see that a student who you thought was incompetent in math can be highly successful in other subjects, like chemistry or literature. It also lets you talk directly to the student’s parents to discuss their attitude or life circumstances. As for students, the app is home for portfolios they can proudly show.
The main advantage of this app is that it’s enough for the teacher to have its copy. Students don’t have to install and connect it. All they have to do is fill in the cards they’re given. The app then is used for scanning these “paper clickers”, so students’ exit tickets, check tests, and impromptu polls can be easily digitized. Due to cloud connection, the results are always stored at plickers.com where you can access them anytime.
The free version of the app has limited abilities. For example, it only lets you create polls of five options. These limitations aren’t critical, though. If you apply enough fantasy, you can make multiple tests or make these five cover all the possible variants. It may be easier to purchase the full version, though, if you want to focus on the content of your tests and surveys rather than the form.
A Word to You
Which of these apps have you tried as a student, teacher, or parent? Do you consider them useful? Which of them is the most relevant to you? Was it easy to deal with them? And (probably the most important): did they provide better understanding? Write a comment if you wish, and we’ll appreciate that.