22nd January 2018
Although there are many useful educational apps that can be accessed by pupils within the classroom, this post recommends apps that can be used by teachers to aid organisation and creativity. These are some of the applications I have found most useful.
1. Google Calendar
With the heavy workload that comes with this profession, it can be difficult to maintain a balance between your work life and social life (Yes, social life! It is possible!), especially with extra-curricular events such as parents’ evenings, twilight CPD sessions, summer fêtes, residentials, church visits (if you happen to work at a church school). This app is a fantastic way to keep track of both personal and work-related events. It can sync with your gmail account and you are able to invite people to events and set reminders. Every time I receive a new calendar of school events, the first thing I do is add them to my Google Calendar.
2. Dropbox or OneDrive
Have you ever left your USB memory stick at home? Or the files on your external hard-drive have become corrupted? I know how frustrating this is. Due to this, I began to save my files using Dropbox, an application that allows you to save files online rather than on a physical device. Microsoft OneDrive is another great alternative as you are able to save files to your online account and share them with colleagues. This is fantastic if, for whatever reason, you are not able to get into school, your colleagues can access the necessary files to teach your lessons.
You may already have a Spotify account for listening to your own music at home, at the gym or in the car, however Spotify is also great to use at school. You can create playlists for different occasions and play these for the children. I have a playlist full of festive favourites in the lead up to Christmas. I also have a playlist of chart hits suitable to be played at end-of-term class parties. My most frequently played playlist is one of calming classical music that I play while the children are completing long pieces of independent writing.
I love Pinterest! I’m sure it’s a favourite among many teachers. If you haven’t come across it yet, I suggest you check it out as soon as you have a spare minute. It is a wonderful website that allows users to ‘pin’ ideas to their own boards and share them with others. On Pinterest, there are thousands of ideas from outfits and hairstyles to gardens and recipes. Great! But why is this relevant to teachers? As you peruse the vast array of images, you will come across many fantastic ideas that you can use in your classroom such as display inspiration, children’s crafts, lesson ideas and even behaviour management tips. It’s a great starting point when coming up with ideas for new topics.
Where would I be without Wunderlist? This app helps me keep my life organised. It allows you to create various to-do lists and you can organise these lists into folders. I have folders for teaching, home and personal lists. My teaching folder contains: a list of resources to make, a list of things to buy for the classroom, a list of leadership tasks and even a list of blog ideas (this post itself began its life as an item on a list). You can then tick off each item on your list as your complete it. Not only does Wunderlist allow you to organise and prioritise your many lists, it enables you to add reminders to the different items on your lists. This will prevent you from missing deadlines. You can also share your lists with others and you can work through the to-do lists together.