During the 19th  Annual Course Technology Conference, which was held March 12-14, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee, instructors gathered to discuss and discover ways to teach technology—as well as how to use technology as they teach.

Presenters and attendees covered a lot of ground over just a short time, but one of the hottest topics was the great number of engaging (and often free) apps that have great uses in education.

Below, we’re sharing just a few of the great technology apps mentioned in many of the sessions. Whether you’re new to tech tools, getting set to flip your classroom, or you’re already immersed in edtech, these apps give you new ways to interact with students and inspire their collaboration and creativity. Try them out for yourself… and share your experiences with us!

Great Apps for Use In (or Out) of the Classroom

In their session “Hot Technologies and Cool Applications,” Corinne Hoisington and Mark Frydenberg discussed and demonstrated a number of helpful, handy apps. Consider what application (no pun intended!) they might have in your course.

  • The Doceri app, available for free in the iTunes Store, provides you with whiteboard and screencasting tools that are idea for the flipped classroom. (Licenses are also available for desktop computer users.)
  • All the notes students take while using the VideoNotes app will automatically sync with the video they’re watching. The app also allows you to require students to make notes every fifteen seconds. (This lets you know they’ve watched your video!)
  • Use People Graph as an app in Microsoft Excel as a way to visualize data.
  • Zeemaps lets you customize maps with information relevant to a specific topic or project. You can also crowdsource the data.
  • Visual.ly lets you easily create visuals that illustrate the key concepts you’re covering in class.
  • With the ThingLink app, you and your students can create interactive images tagged with video, music, comments, links, and other web content.
  • Use String to create your own augmented reality .

In his presentation “It’s a Phone! It’s a Computer! No, It’s Mobile Learning,” Michael M. Grant presented on additional apps that can drive engagement and support your goal of creating a dynamic experience in your online or on-campus class.

  • Ask your students to use the PollEverywhere app during class. Pose questions that prompt their response. Now, their phones are engaging them, rather than distracting them!
  • iPadio allows you to “phlog”! (What’s a “phlog”? Why, it’s a phonecast!) Use your smartphone to create audio files with a transcript. Best of all, it’s free!
  • Using QR Voice,  you can create a QR code that links to an audio clip. (What kind of activities would this inspire for your courses?)
  • Google Voice can read your e-mails and deliver MP3 voicemails. Type up a brief message to your students, and upload it to your LMS or class website as an audio file.


Did you attend the Course Technology Conference? Share your experiences and top takeaways below! If you have a favorite interactive activity that makes use of mobile apps in the classroom, we invite you to share those as well.


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