Back to School Apps

AppStore and GooglePlay Logos

It wasn’t that long ago that Apple launched their “there’s an app for that” marketing campaign to promote the iPhone.  Well, with Apple (iOS) and Android devices becoming a part of our everyday lives, why not download apps to make life easier?

With a new school year approaching, everyone wants to start off on the right foot.  Thus, I scoured the Apple App Store, Google Play (Android), and the Amazon App Market for what looked like the best apps to let you know about.  Okay, I will come clean…I actually stumbled upon some already-written articles with all of this information.  That said, here are the ones that looked the most interesting*:

  1. Pocket: (iOS and Android) This is my personal favorite.  Pocket allows you to keep track of articles, videos, and websites that you want to read later.  That may sound like any old bookmarking service like Google Bookmarks (which is also awesome), but Pocket displays these items in tiled photos that you can access on your phone, tablet, or computer.  The best part is that you can also include tags for your pocketed items.
  2. Wolfram|Alpha:  (iOS and Android) What would you like to know?  What is LeBron James’ favorite color?  What is former President Bill Clinton working on?  Type any question, equation, or other query into its search bar and watch the world unfold.  The app can be used across platforms to help you in your lifelong-learning quest.
  3. Trello: (iOS and Android) Are you a visual person?  Trello presents your information, your to do lists, class project information, etc. in a visual format that you can access from anywhere.
  4. myHomework Student Planner:  Keep track of your assignments in one spot with this app.  Need any more be said?
  5. Class Schedule Apps:  Keep track of what classes you need to go to and when.
  6. eBook Reading Software:  There are a myriad of free ebooks out there, including classic novels.  Once you have found a reader app that works for you, feel free to peruse the free texts out there.
    • Aldiko: (Android Only) This is a highly-sophisticated app that rivals the Kindle app.  That said, not all ebook formats will work with this reader (as is the same with the Kindle app).
    • eBook Reader: (iOS, Android, and Kindle Tablet) You can highlight passages with this app too!  Furthermore, you can access a variety of books from as well.
    • Kindle:  (iOs and Android) One of the benefits of ebooks is that you can keep a variety of books in a small amount of space.  My favorite aspect about this particular app is that you can highlight specific passages you find interesting and you can search within the book as well.  The thing I find most helpful for students is the built-in dictionary.  If you come upon an unfamiliar word, get its definition instantly.
  7. Math Help:  Math was always an itchy wool sweater for me.  It was uncomfortable, even though I continued to soldier on each year.  Man, do I wish I had apps like the ones below to help me study math and remember all of those crazy formulas and graph all of those equations.
  8. Science Help:  Yes, there are apps for science too!  There are apps simulating frog dissections (so you don’t have to get your hands dirty), formulas, and even the periodic table.

Good luck in preparing for yet another year!

-Ms. W.

*Disclaimer: Of course, I am in no way aiming to endorse specific apps.  I am merely sharing what I have found.  That said, for any of the apps above, there are many more that will do the same thing.  Find whichever one(s) do best for you.

Web Resources to Know (Voicethread)


Welcome back for this next installment of Web Resources to Know!

The concept of this next resource,
in and of itself, is a little mind-blowing in its simplicity.

Voicethread:  This is a very fascinating site in which you can upload a variety of media (PDFs, PowerPoints, videos, text, documents, etc) and can either leave text or voice comments on these items or invite others to do so.  This resource is one that can be used for teachers, in business, and for student presentations as well.  The best way to understand Voicethread is by using it, but until you make that leap, a video explanation should help.

  • How Voicethread works:
    • <iframe src=”″ width=”400″ height=”300″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen>
  • An example of a Voicethread (look at how others can comment on specific parts):

Yep, crazy isn’t it?  Parents, feel free to wow your colleagues with this presentation tool.  Students, yes, you will impress your teacher by going beyond PowerPoint with this as part of your next presentation.  Oh, did I mention that there is an app for it too?

Feel free to give this a try.  By doing so, you can take your next presentation and make it not only a conversation, but a conversation in the cloud.

-Ms. W.

VT Voicethread Logo

  • Voicethread (
    • This article provides a review from another teacher’s perspective.
  • Voicethread (
    • This article links to a full voicethread complete with student comments.  It is the same link presented above.

Web Resources to Know (GoodReads)

I hope you all are enjoying your break (even you, parents) and are getting some much-needed rest!

In between a conference and a couple of workshops, I have been working to test out new web-based resources that will make ELA/Reading more interactive within my classroom next year.  Over the next few weeks, I will be publishing posts highlighting some of the resources I have come to know that will be of benefit to you as students, parents, and other educators.  Today’s focus is GoodReads.

GoodReads:  This is a social networking site centered around books.  Connect with your classmates, teachers, and other friends by ranking books you have read and leaving reviews for these books.  You can comment on the reviews of others, but what I love the most is that after you input 20 book rankings (by highlighting stars ranging from 1-5 stars to show how much you liked the books), GoodReads will start suggesting books you may like.

Once you sign up on GoodReads, you can even link your account with your Twitter account so you can let others know what you read and liked, what you didn’t like, what you are in the process of reading, and what you want to read next.  Of course, I welcome you to connect with me.  As I am sure you have guessed, my username is MsWillipedia.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Web Resources to Know!

-Ms. W.