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Great Apps for BYOD Programs in Schools

Bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives and programs are a low-cost way to tech up a classroom, and they offer students a platform to battle through digital distraction and practice media balance. So which tools will you and your students find useful for learning and organization? Start with this list, which features easy-to-use apps and websites useful for a variety of grades and subjects. We've made sure to curate cheap or free BYOD tools that'll work well on a variety of mobile devices (from tablets to phones). We've also selected tools that'll be highly useful throughout a school year, specifically for helping students create and show what they know. Take note that there are also a few teacher-focused tools that'll help you tackle two big BYOD challenges: assessment and classroom management.

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Flexible Content-Focused Tools

ScratchJr

Drag-and-drop programming is an effective intro for budding coders

Bottom line: With a little adult help, this is a rich platform for getting kids into programming and digital creation.

Epic! - Unlimited Books for Kids

Free, expansive digital library unlocks treasure trove of books

Bottom line: This large collection of books and videos on a wide variety of topics is an easy -- and free -- enhancement to any classroom library.

Dictionary.

Vast word reference features tons of content and word games

Bottom line: Powerful tool crammed full of games, classic reference information, and flexible controls.

Lab4Physics

Bring physics to life using lab sensors built right into your smartphone

Bottom line: Use your smartphone to gather data and study speed, gravity, waves, and other physics concepts.

Science Journal by Google

Turn your phone into a lab sensor to collect and analyze data

Bottom line: Science Journal does a good job recording real-time motion, sound, and light data using phones.

NPR News

Top-notch digital content takes students beyond the airwaves

Bottom line: Provides an easy, fun, and effective way to engage students with radio.

Useful Classroom Management, Assessment, and Productivity Tools

Remind

Teachers' text reminders keep students -- and parents -- up to speed

Bottom line: Well-designed, highly effective messaging tool has the potential to keep students and families connected with their schools.

Sesame

Portfolio and communication tool makes formative assessment a snap

Bottom line: A useful way for teachers, students, and parents to monitor progress and demonstrate holistic evidence of learning.

Bloomz

Full-featured parent-teacher communication platform

Bottom line: One-stop multi-tool for parents, teachers, and students.

Classkick

Easy-to-use, real-time monitoring, feedback, and assessment for 1-to-1

Bottom line: It's a great option for teachers who want to go paperless, provide specific feedback, and encourage collaboration among students in 1-to-1 classrooms.

Nearpod

Interactive slideshow tool engages students, promotes collaboration

Bottom line: This effective tool leverages the capabilities of 1-to-1 environments and offers both teacher- and student-paced learning.

Seesaw: The Learning Journal

Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents

Bottom line: A powerful multimedia learning and communication tool that demonstrates student progress over time.

Formative

Superb real-time assessment tool a fit for 1-to-1, BYOD classrooms

Bottom line: Cleverly designed for teachers, Formative offers a flexible and attractive solution for gathering a variety of student response types and offering individualized feedback.

Kahoot!

Game-like student-response tool can spark competitive fun

Bottom line: Effortlessly fun quizzing that can lead to productive formative assessment and student reflection if implemented effectively.

LessonUp

Flexible interactive presentation tool engages kids at school and home

Bottom line: LessonUp is for teachers who like designing unique lessons to reach every learner.

Screencastify

Easy screen-recording tool facilitates outside-the-box instruction

Bottom line: If you have access to Chrome, Screencastify is an easy instructional tool that lets teachers and students communicate in new and creative ways.

Slido

Increase student buy-in with interactive polls and Q&A sessions

Bottom line: Engaging classroom response platform offers teachers and students real-time feedback opportunities.

Edmodo

Manage classes, content, and communication with social LMS platform

Bottom line: This free platform allows for teacher-monitored classroom communication but lacks excitement.

Gimkit

Game-show group fun and independent study in one engaging tool

Bottom line: Put students in the driver's seat with collaborative setup and gameplay features.

Kami

Versatile annotation tool helps users critically connect with content

Bottom line: Kami is an effective way to promote student interaction with texts, authentic documents, and pictures.

Pear Deck

Interactive slideshows offer a variety of ways to engage and assess

Bottom line: While it has some limits, the useful presentation features provide terrific options for formative assessment from any device.

Evernote

Organize digital content with full-featured web clipper and notebook

Bottom line: Students and teachers can learn to better manage their digital lives via this comprehensive organizational tool.

Notebook - Take Notes, Sync

Curate and organize all kinds of content into customizable notebooks

Bottom line: From the novice to the super-organized student, Notebook's versatility is a rare free find.

Microsoft OneNote

Note-taking giant built for flexible, collaborative work

Bottom line: A powerful (and free) tool for thinking and organization that's making smart strides in the education space.

Todoist

Calendar meets to-do list in versatile multi-platform organization app

Bottom line: Mastering all of the features will take some time, but it's a dynamic app that promotes both individual and team productivity.

WordPress

Inviting, customizable mobile blog platform with easy-to-use interface

Bottom line: Wordpress's app makes it easy to create and edit blog posts, manage comments, and view friends' blogs, and could be an indispensable tool for communication and collaboration if well-implemented.

Inspiring Arts and Creativity Tools

Popplet

Cool mind-mapping tool good for organization, collaboration

Bottom line: Popplet is versatile and accessible and gives students an engaging tool for organizing ideas.

DIY App - Creative Community for Kids

From cardboarding to cooking, this app helps kids find the fun in DIY

Bottom line: Fabulous way for kids to get skills and share their projects digitally.

Explain Everything Whiteboard

Powerhouse tool for creating stellar multimedia presentations

Bottom line: Teachers and students can make dynamic presentations that involve different types of media in this innovative, fun app.

Canva - Photo Editor & Design

Create snazzy designs in seconds with flexible, cloud-based tool

Bottom line: A flexible, accessible way to get kids -- especially design novices -- creating digitally in your classroom if you have stable internet and time to get students set up to be successful.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Top-notch photo editor helps perfect pics for creative projects

Bottom line: This is a powerful, free creation tool from the industry leader in photo editing.

Adobe Premiere Clip

Decent on-the-go video editor shines when using other Adobe tools

Bottom line: It's a good tool that gets better when using other Creative Cloud apps, but the limited features make this a hard sell for anything other than introductory editing.

Sway

Create dynamic visual presentations on flexible storytelling platform

Bottom line: A seamless transition from design to presentation makes Sway a great fit for presenting carefully curated content.

Animoto: Slideshow Maker

Slick video slideshow tool lets kids tell stories and share them

Bottom line: Anything that happens during school can be turned into an engaging video slideshow.

Autodesk Sketchbook

Impressive creation tool for teens serious about art

Bottom line: Gives students easy access to professional tools for creating digital art.

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