Apps and Ideas to Engage Students Now for Success Later

student looking at smartphone
Online Learning
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In her webinar The FUNdamentals of Higher Education, Shawn Orr discusses what employers want, what students need and how educators can bridge the gap to deliver skilled, qualified graduates to our communities.

What Employers want (from Amer, Soft Skills at Work):

  • Work productively on a diverse team (76%)
  • Oral/written communication skills (73%)
  • Think critically and analytically (73%)
  • Resourcefullness in solving problems (70%)
  • Understand and communicate quantitatively (60%)
  • Integrity and ethics (56%)
  • Understand global cultures and values (53%)

Based on particular student needs, here are some resources that Shawn recommends to engage student in learning and help them become more marketable upon graduation.

They want immediate access to information

HP Reveal

A studio where you can create and use augmented reality to use in your course.


An augmented reality application that makes simple images into an interactive experience.

Anatomy 4-D

An augmented reality app that enables an interactive, 4-D experience of human anatomy.

Tiny Scanner

The little app that scans everything.  Scan documents, photos, receipts…or have students submit their work!

They want immediate access to personalized feedback

MyScript Smart Note & MyScript Calculator

Include equations, images and sound.

Brainscape Smart Flashcards

Students can use easy authoring tools to build flashcards on a website or through their mobile app.

Adaptive Test Prep

The number one MindTap feature students use is the Adaptive Test Prep. They can test themselves and learn where they need to focus their attention for the exam.


A free resource supported by a grant from the US Department of Education.

They want to be engaged in the learning process

Changing Charts

Each team will begin at a different chart and discuss the topic or question.  A “recorder” writes answers on the chart.  After a few minutes, I will direct the teams to move to the next  chart and discuss that topic, answering the questions listed. Please add comments and/or mark through answers you believe to be incorrect. You will have 5-6 minutes at each chart.

Photo Scavenger Hunt

A DIY activity that has students use their smartphones to get to know course content as well as your campus. (see example in attached file)

Interactive eBook

eBooks allow students to highlight, add notes, and more.  In the MindTap Reader, instructors can share notes and highlights with students to point out important pieces of content, and can also add video in line with the text.

Other tools mentioned in Shawn’s presentation

Poll Everywhere

Add some interaction to your class.  Use this polling app to collect student responses live in class.


Plickers lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.


See Shawn’s full presentation and find other Empowered Educator webinars on the Empowered Educator Virtual Event Website.