5 Common Questions About Learning Apps

Smartphones are among the most used electronic devices in modern history. Adults use their
smartphones for work, shopping, and pleasure, and their children are learning by example. It seems fitting, then, that educators are finding ways to reach and teach students through various learning apps, which are designed with the specific goal of education through mobile, electronic devices, like smartphones and tables.

Is a Learning App an Effective Method to Enhance Learning?

With research, it is possible to find learning apps that will successfully support and enhance student education. Learning apps are usually designed to keep student attention, to be interactive, and to provide regular feedback to continuously refine their understanding and knowledge. Providing educators with immediate feedback about student progress toward a benchmark, without them having to develop, administer, and grade tests and quizzes can be invaluable in gaining back some direct instructional time.

When Should Learning Apps be Used?

Learning apps should be used to enhance and reinforce newly introduced skills or to review skills previously acquired. Mini-assessments with rewards and opportunities to move forward are all appealing to students, who tend to perform well with both scheduled and random reinforcements.Learning apps can also serve to bridge the divide for diverse learners. If a student does not grasp a concept that is delivered in a traditional classroom setting through traditional methods, technology can often close that gap by presenting information in a different way, leveraging methods that may not reflect traditional instructional delivery.

What Should I Avoid When Seeking out Learning Apps?

Learning apps are not a replacement for direct instruction or introducing new concepts. As app usage grows in educational settings, there are concerns over the fact that there is no system for holding apps (and their developers) accountable for the legitimacy of their educational claims. Therefore, some words of caution:

● Avoid apps that tell your child what they should know. Instead, look for apps that encourage
exploration and investigation to find answers.

● Avoid bells and whistles, rather, look for apps which provide opportunities for sustained
engagement in the task at hand.

● Remember that learning apps are unregulated. Just because an app is labeled as ‘educational’,
there is no way to support that assertion beyond exploring the app on your own.

What Are Potential Drawbacks to Using Learning Apps?

As we all know, mobile devices can be an overwhelming distraction. With the world quite literally at your fingertips, it is easy to waste an enormous amount of time simply surfing the internet, clicking from one site to the next. The use of learning apps should be closely monitored by a responsible adult, and time limits should be set (and followed).
It is also important to acknowledge that not all students have access to technology outside of a school setting. If teachers choose to mandate the use of learning apps to track growth and measure progress, they need to be prepared to connect their students to the resources they need to successfully meet that requirement.

What Are Some Highly Recommended Learning Apps?

We’ve polled a number of educators who work with students in elementary, middle, and high school.Below is information about the apps that were most popular among these educational professionals

Name

Subject

Grade Level(s)

Notes

Khan Academy

All subjects

K-12

Free resource with practice exercises, instructional videos, and personalized learning dashboards

Wonderopolis

Literacy and Science

K-8

Multi-disciplinary content that purposefully aligns to Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the STEM Educational Quality Framework, and Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

Arcademics

Reading, math, spelling, language, typing

K-8

Online competition games in which students can compete against each other, classmates, students around the globe, or robots

Brainpop

All subjects, including engineering

K-9

Videos and quizzes on a variety of topics across curriculum

Quizziz

All subjects

K-12

Built-in pre-assembled quizzes on any subject area ready to deliver

When used appropriately and with adequate supervision and guidance, learning apps can be a lever of change for students who are struggling with understanding concepts or those who are looking simply to master new concepts or review old ones. We encourage you to explore these websites and apps to find the ones that work best for your students.

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring

At Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, we are
committed to supporting students learn in the digital age. We leverage various learning apps to support and enhance our student’s educational experiences, and to challenge ourselves as educators. To learn more about the full range of services we offer, visit our blog, visit our newly revamped website and follow us on Facebook.You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com