Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2014
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inClass

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All-in-one electronic organizer allows sharing, collaboration

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
9-12
Great for:
Common Sense says (See details)
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Pros: Students can record audio to accompany notes as well as share notes.

Cons: The task of setting up, organizing, and using the tool is totally in the student's hands.

Bottom Line: Tool is ideal for college students, although motivated, organized high schoolers may find it helpful as well.

This is a tool that can empower students, and it's just right for college students. High school students, especially those taking concurrent college courses or those with a heavy AP load, may find it helpful as well. No teacher dashboard is available to set up classes; students take full ownership of the app. Teachers in lecture- or discussion-based courses may want to tell students about it and encourage them to try it out for note-taking and sharing as well as for organizing their calendars.

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inClass looks like an old-school cloth-bound organizer, mimicking the pen-and-paper method of calendaring, note-taking, and organizing. This little black book is totally electronic, though, giving students a single place to organize their school lives. Students can create separate organizers for each term, adding instructors and their contact information, creating classes with assignments and due dates, and taking notes within each course's section. Within their notes, they can add audio, images, files, and drawings (with the in-app upgrade). They can share these class notes with friends as email attachments, notes within the app, or via iTunes file sharing. Assignment due dates can be viewed through the calendar, which shows a month-at-a-glance on the left side of the page and a list of the selected day's activities on the right. The coolest and most usable feature is the note-taking, with both audio and note-sharing capabilities. Even students without the app can receive and listen to, or review, emailed notes.

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Several other apps exist separately as calendaring, note-taking, or sharing tools, but inClass is unique as a complete organizational resource. Getting started can be a bit intimidating, especially for a Google generation used to at least some auto-populated information: Students have to enter class schedules, instructors, and assignments manually. inClass then gives students a hands-on lesson on the benefits of putting in a little work on the front-end so they can keep track of and share assignments and class notes, with everything easily accessible in the app.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The portfolio-style design might not be familiar to most students, although using it is pretty intuitive.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Students are empowered to organize their work, schedules, and assigments, keeping contact information, calendars, and notes in one place. Sharing notes with classmates is easy, too.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Tips and tricks for getting the most from the tool are offered on Twitter, Facebook, and a YouTube channel. Note-sharing is versatile and easy.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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