Common Sense


Great BYOD Apps and Websites

Bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives are a low-cost way to tech up a classroom. But which tools will students find useful? 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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Portfolio tool keeps report cards from being a surprise

Bottom line: A great way for teachers, students, and parents to keep tabs on student progress and to better assess students holistically.


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

Bottom line: With a little adult help, this is a great platform for getting kids into programming.

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.


Full-featured parent-teacher communication platform

Bottom line: Provided all parents have access, Bloomz can be a great way to get them involved.


Interactive slide show tool engages students and promotes collaboration

Bottom line: This effective tool leverages the capabilities of 1-to-1 environments and brings slide shows into the 21st century.

Seesaw: The Learning Journal

Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents

Bottom line: Students can showcase their work in text, pictures, videos, and more.


Cool mind-mapping tool good for organization, collaboration

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


Teachers' text reminders give students -- and parents -- a reason to check their phones

Bottom line: Well-designed, widespread messaging tool can keep students and families connected with their schools -- provided they have access.

Recap: Video Response and Reflection for Education

Multimedia reflection app puts a new spin on class discussion

Bottom line: By promoting regular self-reflection and inquiry through Recap, teachers can support more authentic learning and self-assessment among their students.

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.


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

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.


Vast word reference features tons of content and word games

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


Snapshot quizzes and questions measure student learning

Bottom line: Powerful and easy-to-use student-response system has the potential to support responsive teaching.

Canva - Graphic Design & Photo Editing

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.


Manage classes, content, and communication with social LMS platform

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

Explain Everything Classic

Classic version of dynamic presentation tool still excites

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


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.

AndroVid - Video Editor

Versatile must-have creation tool for classrooms using Android devices

Bottom line: Easy-to-use tool enables Android users to create movies or slideshows.


Useful rapid-response tool for tech-limited classrooms

Bottom line: This can be a useful tool for low-tech classes looking to do basic student responses.


Impressive organizational tool has limitless uses

Bottom line: This free information-management tool can help kids become tech-savvy and learn to better organize their digital lives.


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.

Office Sway

Cool scroll effects, flexible features boost visual storytelling tool

Bottom line: A great tool for design and presentation, if great visuals and easy sharing trump having some active viewing features present in other tools.

Science Journal

Turn your Android 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 Android phones.


Add a hint of fun to note-taking or annotating images

Bottom line: It's easy to annotate images and screenshots, take handwritten notes, and organize it all with Evernote.

Animoto Video Slideshow Maker

Slick video slide-show tool lets kids tell stories and share them

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

Autodesk Sketchbook

Impressive creation tool for teens serious about art

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


Easy online conversations supplement and extend the classroom

Bottom line: TodaysMeet is super simple, highly functional, and can be a flipped-classroom stepping stone with the help of careful monitoring.

Google Drive

Nifty tool for collaboratively editing docs and syncing files across devices or online

Bottom line: Google Drive is a smart choice for budget-conscious schools, with its free productivity tools and file syncing.

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.


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.

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