Mobile Devices in the Secondary Classroom

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Contact Information: Doreen Pietrantoni
Doreen's Blog -

Outcomes of Workshop:

  • Discussion of iPad Classroom
  • Apps, Apps, and More Apps
  • Discuss and download time
  • Project Ideas
  • Resources, Resources, Resources

Video Highlight! iPads in the Middle School Math Classroom - A middle school Math class using iPads during an iPad Pilot.

Using Mobile Devices to Address Common Core Learning Standards

Common Core Learning Standards:
(from Exactly What Common Core Standards Say About Technology)

W= Writing RI= Reading: Informational SL= Speaking and Listening
Reading and Listening Standards
Reading and Writing Standards

W.4.6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.

RI.8.7. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.

SL.11-12.2. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.

SL.11-12.5. Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

Thinking Verbs

  • Publishing requires deep consideration of audience, purpose, structure, text features, and format. Whether text blogging via WordPress, photo blogging via tumblr or Instagram, or video blogging through vimeo or YouTube, the demand for students to actually publish their writing is a significant leap.
  • Collaboration forces students to plan, adopt, adapt, rethink, and revise, all higher-level practices. Whether through apps, social media platforms, or in person, collaboration is not new for most K-12 learners in modern settings. But collaborating in pursuit of publishing and sharing thinking online is.
  • Evaluation is near the top of Bloom’s taxonomy for a reason, necessitating that students make critical judgment calls about how information is presented and shared. In many ways, this standard represents the most important—and perhaps least-understood—of the new Common Core ELA standards, asking learners not just to prefer facebook to twitter, but to deeply evaluate the pros and cons of each for different purposes. Powerful!
  • Integration is a matter of design, and produces considerable cognitive load on a learner. And in light of APIs, social media, and an array of smart mobile devices, is a kind of digital strategy. When the standard says “digital media,” it might as well say social media as it continues “to add interest,” a side-effect of making something non-social, social.

Nets for Students (click here for a detailed PDF)

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

There are essential conditions to regard when using technology in the classroom. Click here to learn more.
Ideas such as Student-Centered learning, empowered leaders, and Curriculum Framework are essential to effectively leverage technology for learning.


I recommend the following link for App Evaluation - iPad App Evaluation for the Classroom There are graphical evaluations for different aspects of app usage. Here are 2 rubrics to use for app evaluation: App evaluation rubric #1 or App evaluation rubric #2



Classroom Management Apps

Class Dojo (Free) - ClassDojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators

Too Noisy Lite (Free) - Anyone who has attempted to keep the noise levels under control of a group of youngsters will appreciate this simple, fun and engaging app.

Teacher Tools ($2.99) - Do the same one or two hands always pop up when you ask a question in your classroom? The Teacher Tools - Who's Next? app will shake things up for your class by allowing you to call on students randomly and even create randomized work groups!

Apps for Presentation

There are numerous apps to use for presentation by a student or teacher.

Doceri (Free) - Combining screencasting, desktop control, and an interactive whiteboard in one app, you’ll never have to turn your back to the class or audience again. Create a lesson or presentation, insert images, save and edit your project and record a screencast video you can easily save or share. Doceri does it all!

Educreations App (Free) - A whiteboard app that allows students to take images of text or math problems and create a video that illustrates how problem is solved, or other CCLS such as annotation of text. Great for teachers and students to solve problems and use video as an instructional tool.

iMovie App - ($4.99) - Allows for capturing video and editing. There are stock templates or students can create their own.

Tellagami (Free) - A Gami can be an exciting tweet or status update. It can be a fun way to tell a story. It can be a thank you message or a vacation postcard. It can be a birthday greeting, party invite or cool way to share photos. The possibilities are endless!

Voice Thread App (Free) - Requires account. Students can use the camera feature on the iPad, gather images from the internet, add diagrams, videos in which they narrate the project. Allows for diagramming as well. Share via email.

Prezi (Free) - Create and present beautiful presentations with Prezi for iPad. Get started by choosing one of our stunning templates then add your text and images. Pinch to zoom on topics, retouch your prezis and adjust your presentations on the move.

Glogster (Free) - Multimedia fun with browsing the GLOGSTER VISUAL NETWORK in your hand! Play, listen, zoom and read Glogs in high-res Retina display quality on the GO! Glog = "graphic blog + creativity" - a visual poster creation worth a thousand words.

Instacollage (Free) - Tell the world your story via amazing looking photo frames and unique collages with caption in seconds! InstaCollage helps you quickly combine multiple sized photos into one beautifully framed picture & unique collage with caption in seconds

Pic-Collage (Free) - PicCollage allows you to create amazing collages using your photos, fun stickers, text with cool fonts and frames. Once you're done, share it to PicCollage, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Path. You can also email it or send a physical postcard anywhere in the world!

Apps for Assessment

Socrative - (Free) - Be engaged for the entire class with educational exercises and games. See all your classmates’ ideas in real time and interact with the responses. Provide your instructor feedback on the lessons and how well you understand the material. Ask your own poll questions for the entire class or build a premade activity for your whole class.

Nearpod - (Free) - The Nearpod platform enables teachers to use their iPads to manage content on students' iPads, iPhones or iPods. It combines presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools into one integrated solution.

Note Taking and Mind Mapping Apps

Doodle Buddy (Free) - Students can express their ideas in images. Images can be shared via email.

Idea Sketch (Free) - Students can make list in either outline form or visually with thought bubbles in various sizes and colors to organize thoughts, research, and ideas. Images can be shared via email, dropbox, or photos.

SimpleMind+ (Free) - Mind mapping tool that turns your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch into a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device.

Notability (2.99) - Notability is so powerful that it will transform how you work: sketch ideas, annotate documents, sign contracts, complete worksheets, keep a journal, jot travel notes, teach a class, make a presentation and much more. With iCloud support, your notes stay up to date on all your devices!

Social Learning/Networking Apps

Edmodo (Free) - Edmodo makes a teacher’s daily life easier by providing a safe and easy way for teachers and students to engage and collaborate for free, anytime, anywhere.

Subtext App - (Free) - Teachers can embed instruction right in the pages of nearly any digital text. Because notes are linked to a specific passage, there’s a natural emphasis on close reading, citing text evidence, and supporting claims. Works with ePub, PDF, free eBooks, web articles and nonfiction as well as Overdrive.

GoodReads - (Free) - ind new and interesting books by browsing personalized recommendations based on books you've read and your favorite genres. See what your friends are reading, write book reviews, and keep track of what you want to read.

Classroom Ideas:

Notability and Dropbox - You can sync Notability to a Dropbox account so that you have access to student work in Notability. Here is a link for directions:

Need ELA Resources?

Below are resources for ELA - Common Core Learning Standards.

Reading Apps

Want to encourage reluctant readers? Want to have a resource in which students have access to fiction and non-fiction ebooks and audio books? Get students reading!

Overdrive App (Free) - allow for students and teachers to access the Monroe #1 BOCES eBook and Audiobook library as well as the Monroe Public Library eBook and Audiobook library. Downside? You need to have an Adobe Digital Editions ID which manages licensing rights and authorize the device to the account IF you wish to download the book and not read in browser. Has a Read In Browser option with wireless access. Once books are downloaded, you will not need to access wireless.

Kindle App (Free) - Allows for Kindle format ebooks, magazines, textbooks and PDFs to be downloaded from Amazon and Overdrive. Downside? You need to have an Amazon account and authorize the device to the account. Once books are downloaded, you will not need to access wireless.

Nook App (Free) - Allows for Nook format ebooks, magazines, textbooks and PDFs to be downloaded from Barnes & Noble. Downside? You will need to have a Barnes and Noble account to log into the app. Once books are downloaded, you will not need to access wireless.

iBooks App (Free) - Allows for ebooks, magazines, PDFs and classic ebooks from sources such as Guttenberg

Book Creation Apps

Do you wish your students could create a book as an authentic assessment? Students will be able to create a book from the Apps listed below.

Story Kit App (Free) - K - 12. Allows students to import images from camera roll, take pictures, draw pictures, add text, and narrate.

Scribble My Story App (Free) - Elementary level, allows students to use templates in order to type or narrate their story. There are also blank templates in which students can customize background, add stamps, draw, write and/or narrate. There are educator management areas using the website to create group accounts.

Math Apps

There are thousands of apps for Math instruction and learning. Look for text book compatible app. Determine if you need skill building or reinforcement. Each student can differentiate their device with the math apps.

Learn Zillion (Free) - STUDENT APP (there is a separate app for educators. LearnZillion for students allows students to complete assignments on their iPhone or iPad. Students can also manage their classes, search through the entire video library, and review their scores on past assignments.

Khan Academy (Free) - Khan Academy allows you to learn almost anything for free. The app is the best way to view Khan Academy’s complete library of over 4,200 videos and articles.We cover a massive number of topics, including K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even the humanities with playlists on art history, civics, and finance.

Desmos (Free) - Explore math with Desmos! Graph functions, create function tables, explore transformations, plot points, animate your graphs, and more – for free!

IXL (Free) - Make math tangible with IXL Math Practice! Over 2,000 standards-aligned skills provide comprehensive coverage of K-12 math content, while hundreds of colorful awards celebrate important milestones. From skip-counting with pictures to multi-step story problems, IXL's interactive practice formats bring the joy of learning right to students’ fingertips.

Foreign Language Apps

Learn Spanish (Free) - AccelaStudy is the award-winning language education software for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad that helps you understand and pronounce words in the shortest possible time. Learn new Spanish words quickly, easily, and permanently with AccelaStudy.

Translate Now (Free) - FREE translator - Translate words and sentences between more than 50 languages!

Fotopedia (Free) - Dreaming of Paris? Now you can discover and explore the City of Light, as it’s never been seen – and without leaving your home.

Study Apps

SAT Up (Free) - Preparation for your SAT, PSAT, ACT and AP exams with personalized tests and comprehensive questions. On average, our students improved their scores by 100 points after taking just 10 personalized tests.

ACT Student (Free) - ACTStudent helps users anticipate and manage the ACT Test experience. Using the "Practice" feature, students can attempt answers to practice items and gain feedback from their attempts. "Account" allows users to log in for limited, read-only access to their own registration and score information.

Misc. Apps

iTunes U (Free) - iTunes U Course Manager is a flexible, easy-to-use tool that allows you to share your teaching with the students in your classroom, and with students worldwide. For tips on how to use iTunes U in your classroom:

Educreations App (Free) - A whiteboard app that allows students to take images of text or math problems and create a video that illustrates how problem is solved, or other CCLS such as annotation of text. Great for teachers and students to solve problems and use video as an instructional tool.

Doodle Buddy (Free) - Students can express their ideas in images. Images can be shared via email.

Idea Sketch (Free) - Students can make list in either outline form or visually with thought bubbles in various sizes and colors to organize thoughts, research, and ideas. Images can be shared via email, dropbox, or photos.

EasyBib (Free) - Create accurate MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations in seconds by scanning a book bar code or by typing the name of a book. Build and manage your works cited. Once done, email your citations and then export your citations to's popular bibliography management service.

Symbaloo (Free) - With Symbaloo you have all of your favorite websites at your fingertips, anywhere and always. Choose your favorite websites and within a few clicks you can create your very own homepage.

Dropbox (Free) - Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily.


Particularly in the elementary classroom, setting up centers for students to enrich ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies learning. Alternatively, centers can be created to enrich other curriculum such as music and art. Using centers can also assist in differentiating learning. Students who need reinforcement in certain curricular areas can have focused, interactive time with the mobile device.

Interactive Uses:

  • Foreign Language Classes: students practice speaking by recording and playing back their voices.
  • Economics Classes: students pull real-time stock market data to create and track a stock portfolio or access America's Economy.
  • Math Classes: college-bound students research market costs to create a realistic housing budget. Download specific math subject apps such as Geogebra, Algebra 1, Khan Academy App, or Textbook App.
  • Research Made Easy: students have instant access to research websites and library resources.
  • Science: students can view labs V Cell App or Xperica, gather data, create videos of experimentation quickly and easily.


There are several projects that can utilize mobile devices and can use the "center" set up in order to start and complete a project. Think of a 3 to 4 station set up:

  • Station 1 - Information gathering - this can include instructions and exemplars for project.
  • Station 2 - Mind Mapping, Note taking, or social networking in Edmodo to gather information
  • Station 3 - Video, Book, Drawing Apps to create project.

Project Resource Websites:

Science Example:
This article discusses a recent project in which iPads were used for an Environment Project - 5th Grade Project The classroom used: Notability (Evernote is Free), Easy Bib, Internet, Voice Thread, iPad camera

Social Studies Example:
“The Alternate History Project” was showcased at a poster session at ISTE 2011 What If History Project. Integrating social studies apps such US History Tools or On This Day as well as a graphic organizer app like Popplet and a digital media app such as Discovery Ed Streaming ( can help ELLs meet the goals of this project successfully.

Social Studies/History Example:
QR codes are used everywhere! Here is an example of creating a project using a city's QR code. Students can create their own QR codes to create a webquest or like this project QR Footprints In Time

ELA Example:
Ever thought of creating a book specific to what you are teaching in your classroom? iBooks Author App is free and great for educators and students to create a book about anything! Here is an example of a project with an instructional video on how to do this on your own! iBooks Author Project

I Wonder Project:
This project is a great way to have students use inquiry to create a multimedia project. Voice Thread would be a great way to create this project. This can be used for all curricular areas. I Wonder Project Details

Book Reviews/Trailers:
Students can use the iPad to read a book and create a review or trailer from images search on the iPad, notes written in EverNote, and a video created with the video camera in the iPad or using Voice Thread! Book Trailer/Review Project Details

Photography Project:
The built in camera on the iPad 2 and iPad 3 make it a great tool to use to capture original images. Here is a project to create original projects using the iPad Camera, DarkRoom App, and Edmodo App to share the images. [ Photography Project Details]

Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping Apps such as Corkulous, iBrainstorm App and Idea Sketch App

  • Station 1 start as the information station - students view non-fiction text, read a story, watch a video
  • Station 2 uses a Mind Mapping App in order to answer a question, annotate, list key ideas - post these above the station
  • Station 3 can be used as an assessment station Edmodo App, Socrative Teacher App, Socrative Student App or Near Pod For students to answer questions or ask questions.
  • Optional - Station 4 will be a culminating activity in which students can create a book, video, or image to illustrate their understanding of the concepts in the reading. Apps such as iMovie, Videolicious App, Voicethread App, StoryKit App, or Scribble My Story App.

The Video Experience

Centers can be used for all grade levels and curricular areas. Is your class exploring Communities? There are limitless possibilities when using video stations on the iPad. In addition, video stations coupled with non-fiction text and writing align curriculum to CCLS.

Science - help students understand science experiments with Experica App. For younger students, try bookmarking Safari Montage ( to the homepage so that students can log in and watch science videos such as Sid the Science Kid and other high quality science videos such as Bill Nye.

  • Station 1 - video delivery
  • Station 2 - Mind Mapping (see above) or Educreations App or Show Me App in order for students to draw and narrate a video to illustrate their understanding.

Social Studies/History - students can view videos from websites such as History Channel, PBS Kids, Discovery, or Safari Montage. The websites can be bookmarked to the home page for quick access.

  • Station 1 - video delivery
  • Station 2 - Create discussion, and/or a What if? discussion using Doodle or Idea Sketch

ELA - There are numerous reading activity apps. This wiki page illustrates reading apps as well as writing apps - Book It - Using Apps for Literacy
  • Station 1 - Use Overdrive, iBooks, Internet, Nook or Kindle App to deliver reading material. Also, PDF documents can be downloaded and accessed via the iBooks app.
  • Station 2 - Use a video creation app in order for students to share 3 key ideas, the authors point of view, or evidence to support the main idea of the written piece. The Video tool on the iPad device works great or use video apps such as iMovie, Voice Thread, or Videolicious.

Math - There are many math apps, but think outside the box when having students use stations for math.

  • Station 1 - have a learning objective - addition, subtraction, area, algebra. Download an app that will suit the learning objective. See Monroe #1 BOCES Apps page for suggestions.
  • Station 2 - Use Mind Mapping Apps or Drawing Apps to illustrate knowledge
  • Optional Station 3 - Create a story using a Book Creation App to show knowledge.

Humanities - iPads are a great tool for any Humanities studies. Pulling ELA, Social Studies, and History together allows for students to experience a cross-curricular experience.

  • Station 1 - determine book or piece of literature you wish students to read and download on device or use reading app to deliver.
  • Station 2 - Take a Google Lit Trip using the following bookmarked website: . You will also need Google Earth App on the device.
  • Station 3 - Students can illustrate their knowledge in various ways such as a video, creating a book, or blogging on Edmodo.

Resources! Resources! Resources!

Mobile 1 688.jpg
There are over 500,000 apps - this is both a good and bad. There are a great variety of resources, however searching for specific apps can be time consuming. There are numerous resources to help guide you to apps (free and costs). I recommend using a search engine to find apps. Use terms such as 1st grade Math apps. This is much easier than searching the iTunes App Store.

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