Last week I was contacted by mobile and content writer, blogger, and former teacher Jake Lester. He asked me if he could write an article for my blog on tech tools that can help make us rockstar teachers in the classroom. Of course I had to say yes. Below, Jake gives a helpful description on 4 Applications that will set us apart from the rest. Enjoy. ~Serena

Applications that Will Make You a Rockstar Teacher

By Jake Lester

It’s been quite some time since smartphones and tablet PC have decisively and definitively entered all spheres of our lives, including education. Some of the more conservative teachers have been widely discussing how these devices distract their students from studying and are direct to blame on the lowering of the academic performance. Others have been successfully finding ways to employ these innovations in their teaching routine.

Today, it is evident that all those devices and apps are here to stay, and we have the realization that we actually live and work in the 21st century. So, in this article, we would like to take a look at some of the killer applications that have the potential to make your teaching process more exciting and enjoyable, as well as more effective. This is our rockstar list (in no particular order):

  1. Google Classroom

Considering the overall popularity of Google’s services, this would be the most obvious choice. The only reason why a teacher shouldn’t use this app for his / her job is that s/he has found a better alternative.

Its main advantage is that it is fully integrated with other popular Google services, such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, etc. Among other things, these services are often popular with parents, or, at least easily accessible to them.

How can you use it in class?

Well, as mentioned before, it can be of great help for keeping parents informed. For example, if a student for some reason has a problem with the timely submission of homework, and parents want to help in this regard, Google Classroom gives a perfect opportunity to keep the parents informed of home assignments in time. But it does not need to be about increasing the teacher and parental control over the children. It is more about parent involvement: the problems can be discussed not only with the children but also with the teacher, – because if a parent is not completely satisfied with their child’s academic performance, then surely they have some ideas to share and discuss in this regard.

Also, it helps to share the aiding materials and lesson summaries with the students and makes the interaction between the students and the teacher better accessible on the whole. A student will be able to learn anytime and anywhere.

  1. Padlet

This is basically a bulletin board where people (students, in this case) can post their thoughts and ideas on any subject. They can also add images and links. The boards can be designed for one person or for a group of students.

How can you use it in class?

For example, you create a bulletin board and hand out its access credentials to your students. The topic can be the gist of a book they were supposed to read recently. And they fill the bulletins with whatever thoughts they have. Or, you can ask them to describe their favorite books in a way that would convince you to read them.

Putting it briefly, there can be numerous ways to use it with your class, and the appliance of this app is only limited by your creativity and imagination.

  1. Edmodo

Edmodo is a platform that allows you as much as to create a social platform of your own. Much like you very own little Facebook, only with a safe environment that you can control. Otherwise, the functionality is pretty much the same as that of a social website: the participants share messages and content.

The one who creates this small social network (which can be as small as just a few people from the class) controls everything that is going on. This includes controlling the access and access credentials, giving access to third parties (for example, parents), moderating and / or deleting any posts, being able to read all the messaging (since private messaging is not enabled between the participants, only between the teacher and the students), making vote polls among students, and much more.

How can you use it in class?

The few opportunities that cross one’s mind first would be:

– share supplementary materials that may come handy when studying a certain subject;

– post home assignments;

– share the summaries of lessons for students who missed a certain class for whatever reason (tip: as opposed to doing it yourself, you can get other students to do it).

Naturally, the range of the opportunities is not limited to those above.

  1. Three Ring

This app allows you, and the students to upload content, such as photos of papers or video clips of classroom presentations, and share them among yourselves and / or with parents. You can also tag the uploaded content by assignment type or by any other classification that you may come up with.

How can you use it in class?

Once again, it is great for keeping the parents informed of everything that goes on in the classroom. A parent will literally feel like a fly on the wall.

As a matter of fact, it does not limit to the classroom, it can also be applied to all sorts of field trips.

This app has one huge advantage over similar ones: it does not require a wifi connection to work. If the connection is absent at the moment, the content that you wish to upload will be stored in a specially allocated folder on the device, and uploaded as soon as wifi connection is available.

The level of privacy here will be controlled by the teacher. It is up to the teacher to decide which materials will be made public, which will be made available only to one or some of the participants, and which should be unshared altogether.

These are only several examples of mobile apps that will enhance your teaching experience, you students’ learning experience, and even their parents’ parenting experience! Be encouraged to try any or all these apps in your classroom, as well as to pay an extra visit to AppStore and / or Google Play and see if you can find something special and exciting for your class specifically.

Jake Lester is a content writer, blogger, and entrepreneur. He has worked as a teacher, private educator, and web designer. Connect with Jake on Twitter @jakelesterhere or