Carmel Health

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Using Apps To Make Me A Better Teacher

It was reported in the press recently that 71% of recent phone sales were smartphones and with smartphones now becoming the norm, if you don’t currently own one, you soon will. I use my phone so frequently that I would be lost without it, and increasingly I find myself using it for educational and professional development purposes.
My phone wakes me in the morning, and the calendar function keeps me organized. I check my emails before breakfast and listen to podcasts on my journey to work. The stopwatch is used in class to time activities and the movie recording capability is handy for recording my students to allow for performance analysis. But the best thing about this smart device is the ability to download applications, or apps. These apps are software that allow you to perform a specific function and I want to share with you some of the apps that have allowed me to improve my classroom teaching and professional development.
SCANLIFE The Scanlife app allows you to scan QR codes and access the information to which they link. I paste QR codes to the bottom of packets and homework assignments to encourage students to access relevant research articles.
TEEN BMI The Teen BMI app allows students to enter their sex, age, height and weight to calculate their BMI in a very user friendly manner. The app provides enough data to promote class discussion about body mass index and the validity of using this measurement in society.
EVERYDAY HEALTH Linked to their extensive website this app provides daily bite sized health information with a section specifically targeting teenagers. In addition to a ‘Pharmacist Q&A’ and a ‘Mom says’ area you can learn how many calories are burned when performing certain tasks. Want to burn 51 calories? Take a 15 minute walk.
STITCHER Podcasts are radio broadcasts that can be downloaded onto your device to be listened to at your own pleasure. When travelling in my car I listen to podcasts on a range of topics from sport (ESPN:PTI), to education (EdReach), to food (NPR Topics:Food Podcast). The BBC produce some awesome shows and another favorite of mine is Freakonomics Radio. These podcasts help with my professional development and make me a more informed teacher. Had enough of consuming podcasts then why not make your own? You can check out my class podcasts at this link:
RSS READER There is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming trying to find it. By using an RSS reader you can set up the parameters and the software will go out and find the things in which you are interested. I use SCOOP.IT, ZITE and FLIPBOARD and read the sources articles at my leisure. TWITTER I’ve written at length on the value of Twitter to all teachers for professional development. Twitter allows you to communicate with your own personal learning network of experts from around the globe. You can follow me on Twitter where I tweet as @carmelhealth. I found each of the following excellent links on Twitter.
1000 recommended app sorted by subject area
Android apps to try this summer. All subjects.
Apps to get more done
Top 10 Special Ed Apps 
Edreach podcast regarding apps.