I love technology! I guess if I’m being completely honest, what I really love is the engagement, excitement, and interactivity that technology brings to my college classroom. I’m not talking about the bells and whistles (although that’s fun too), but the true engagement that happens when I utilize a technology that really resonates with my digitally native students, that connects them to each other, and (most importantly) helps them master course content. So, whether you are new to using technology in the classroom or an old technology-pro, here are five of my favorite apps and technologies to engage students and help them create meaningful connections.

1. Plickers

This free app allows you to print paper clickers in order to conduct polling, collect formative and summative assessment data, and keep students engaged and on-track in class. If you’ve ever had a student tell you they don’t have an electronic device so they can’t participate in polling questions, this is the app for you! Download the Plickers app on your device, and then go to www.plickers.com to create quizzes. I’m also able to link each piece of paper to individual students, so taking attendance and grading in-class quizzes is a breeze!

2. Kahoot

This is my favorite technology for gaming in the classroom. Instructors create quizzes (or discussion questions and surveys) at www.getkahoot.com.  Students go to Kahoot.it on their device browser and enter the quiz code, then play against each other.  Students earn points based on the speed and accuracy of their answers, plus a leader board enhances engagement and keeps the competitive spirit alive.  One of my favorite things about Kahoot is that a student sees only four colored squares on their device which correspond with the question on the screen.  This keeps the student from getting lost in the device and helps them focus on the content, and each other.

3. Aurasma

This augmented reality app has changed my syllabus.  The instructor goes to Aurasma Studio where they upload and links audio/video files with pictures.  They then put those pictures on their syllabus (or other document) next to the corresponding content.  Students download the free Aurasma APP on their mobile device and “follow” their instructor.  Whenever a student needs more help on a concept listed on the syllabus, they simply hold their phone over the picture and a video of their instructor talking them through the concept pops up.  Talk about providing real-time information…when and where the student needs it!

4. MindTap Mobile App

This great mobile app allows students to study anytime-anywhere for any class that is using MindTap.  Students download the free app, choose the class they want to work on, and can then review pre-built and custom created flashcards, create and take chapter quizzes (think gaming), set reminders for important project due dates (with alarms), and receive up-to-the-minute notes and messages that I post in our MindTap course. I love this app because it reaches students where they are… on their cell phones!

5. EyeJot

This video email app (it’s free on the computer, but there is a small fee to download the app on your mobile device) allows me to send video email messages to my students. When I contact a student via EyeJot, the connection is so much more personal and they don’t even need a webcam to reply back to me. Plus, I think it’s a lot harder to delete my face than just my email. 🙂

What apps do you use to create meaningful connections in the college classroom? Share your favorites in the comments!


This post was originally published at //www.nisod.org/?q=applause-apps-five-great-apps-create-meaningful-connections-inside-and-outside-classroom

This content comes from a collaboration between Cengage Learning and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD), a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. Recognizing the growing need for adjunct support, Cengage Learning and NISOD are partnering to co-host a series of webinars, podcasts, and blog posts covering professional development topics for adjunct faculty and administrators. To learn more about this partnership, visit //www.nisod.org/cengage.