contributed by Liz Zaczek, senior staff writer
Living and parenting in the twenty-first century has its advantages. One of the biggest ones is access to technology to help our children with homework and school assignments. When faced with attempting to remember Algebra basics, 25 ish years after learning them, to help my son I quickly hit the internet to see what instant help was available. Fast forward to Back to School 2020 and for many of us things definitely look and feel different for the moment. Regardless of what school looks like for your family at the moment, as they say, “There’s an app for that.”
The following is just a sampling of the apps and other web based resources available to students and their families across the age and grade ranges with their educational needs.
Khan Academy: is trying to help students everywhere get the resources they need to succeed in mastering the skills they learn during the school day. Khan Academy is a non-profit dedicated to providing a world-class education to whomever might need it, including military families. Their wide array of educational resources to help students with any and all of the extra attention they might need in a variety of subjects. Khan Academy has options for students, parents, teachers and course resources through 12tth grade in most subject areas.
Kahoot!: provides free (and fun) learning games or trivia quizzes. The questions appear on a shared screen and then students can answer them on their devices. Teachers also download the results to see how your students perform on these quizzes and games.The app is available for both Android and Apple iOS.
Quizlet: Students can use Quizlet to study and practice whatever subject they are learning with this flashcard app. They can either create their own flashcards or choose from ones created by other students. The app is available for both Android and Apple iOS.
PBS Kids: PBS KIDS provides a variety of apps available for download. Look through their options and find the best one for your student’s grade level.
codeSpark: Coding puzzles, scrolling (code-created) video games, and mini challenges are all available with codeSpark. Plus there is a free teacher dashboard included to see how your class is doing with their coding activities. Apps are available on iOS, Android and Amazon Kindle.
gFlash: Create custom flashcard sets using text, audio, and pictures. Just choose whatever works best for your assignment and get to memorizing. gFlash also has tons of existing flashcard sets that could satisfy your studying needs, so you might not have to do any work making them after all! Plus, gFlash doesn’t just have flashcards. There are also studying and memorization games to help make the material more interactive, as well as quizzes for any extra bit of test prep you need.
Photomath: Photomath is a free app that makes learning math easier. To use, the student points their device’s camera at the handwritten problem. Photomath will give you the answer and a step-by-step process for how to reach the solution. With its ability to read handwriting, Photomath can create a myriad of solutions for anything from simple arithmetic to integrals and trigonometry.
Periodic Table: The big poster of the periodic table from science class has been brought to the digital age. This free, interactive map includes podcasts and videos, as well as a slider showing the effect of changing temperature on the elements. Each element contains a detailed writeup about the scientific structure, as well its history. Other interactive tools make this a great tool for science class.
Duolingo: A free language app featuring 22 different languages. The app includes mini-lessons that track progress and a function for teachers to track their students’ progress.
Grammaropolis: Grammaropolis is an interactive grammar app that works on developing knowledge of parts of speech. Each part of speech plays an animated character indicative of their function in the sentence. As students move through the app, they can watch story-based videos that depict the role of types of words within sentences. Also, the app contains over 100 quizzes to test skills as students progress.
There are hundreds of apps and websites to choose from for your students’ unique needs. Many public school systems incorporate some of these applications into their curriculum already and will be familiar to students in all grade levels. Here’s wishing everyone a safe and successful 2020-2021 school year.