Featured Apps:  Tools for Teachers

By Cathy Buyrn, M.Ed.
September/October 2012


There is something exciting about the start of a new school year.  Many teachers jump into the year with new ideas and plans for increasing student engagement, as well as ways to organize and simplify their work. Today’s tech-savvy educators can use innovative applications designed to simplify and streamline their efforts with the added benefit of powerful student engagement supports and data collection features. Check out some of the applications below to maximize student engagement and save yourself valuable time.


Stick Pick


Pick a student at random just by giving your device a shake or tapping the screen. Stick Pick suggests question starters for learners at different levels and records how well students respond during classroom discussions. If a student is consistently scoring near the top or the bottom, simply change the level so students do not get bored or frustrated. Depending on students' levels of English proficiency, they might be asked simple yes- or no-questions or to elaborate in longer sentences.  For ease of use, question stems are built around Bloom’s Taxonomy to support higher level questioning and differentiation.


Teacher Notes


This app is designed to help teachers gather anecdotal records throughout the school day, such as notes, pictures, audio recordings, or videos.  The notes can be used to organize formative assessment tasks or collect data and evidence for student portfolios.


Score Quick


Score Quick was created to do away with the paper copy grade book or other ad hoc methods used to record daily assignments and scores. It was also designed to make recording daily assignments quick and efficient. As an extra bonus, users get an application that makes creating a seating chart a breeze.  The app allows users to keep notes on individual students and to export reports.


Pick Me!


The Pick Me! app is a tool for teachers searching for a way to track formative assessment. It randomly pulls the name of a student to be called on and allows the user to record whether the answer was correct or incorrect using a thumbs-up or thumbs-down icon. The data are saved and ready to export to an email account at the end of class. With different settings, users can set Pick Me! to remove students who answer questions correctly or leave them in for additional chances after merely loading the roster. Pick Me! was developed by teachers for teachers.


Time Timer


Preferred by teachers, professional organizers, and experts in attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and autism for nearly 20 years, the Time Timer® is an effective and intuitive visual timer.  The Time Timer displays time as a red disk that quietly gets smaller as time elapses. Children as young as two years of age understand that when the red is gone, time is up.  This app helps educators manage time-outs, homework, and morning routines without a lot of fuss.


Remind 101


Remind 101 provides a safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents. It is 100% free and is used by over 200,000 teachers, students, and parents to send millions of messages every month.  Message an entire class of students or parents in seconds. Teachers never see students' phone numbers. Students never see the teachers’. Students and parents join by sending a text message. No computer needed.