ClassDojo is one of the best virtual classroom applications. Parents want to know about what’s happening in the classes, how their children’s performance goes, and also want to make sure if the teacher is doing her job right. ClassDojo creates a platform for cooperation between the triangle of parents, students and the teacher. Teachers can upload photos, videos, or written texts about the happenings of the day and students can do the same as well in their personal digital portfolios. They can upload the math test they are proud of or a nice drawing. This way parents always keep informed but even if this is not enough, the app also enables messaging between the parent and the teacher. ClassDojo has an another function as well: motivating children by setting up a list of several things to do – like work hard, or help others – and encouraging them to achieve this goals by giving so-called Dojo points. It turns the strive to perform well into a game, which is always an efficient method in education. As part of motivating, the app provides a customizable surface for the students, for example they can choose their own funny avatar. This way they enjoy using the app and can create a bigger engagement towards the class, the teacher and other school related things as well.
Edmondo with its more than 30 million users aims to provide a space for outside the classroom activities. Just like ClassDojo, this app also makes possible for parents, students and teachers to communicate and to upload visual materials from classes. But Edmondo is a bit different in a sense that it also works like the traditional, paper-based class registers. Teachers can upload the grades thus parents can track the performance and the improvement of their children. 45 minutes of a class is sometimes not enough to talk over an interesting topic, or the class might get into a discussion that is worth to continue – Edmondo offers a platform for that, too. Group projects and collaboration can be also carried out via the application. Edmondo has a less engaging design than ClassDojo but on the other hand, it concentrates more on the actual learning process.
Google Classroom and Teacher Aide
For those who like to stay inside the world of Google that they are already used to, here is the good news: Google also has a virtual classroom application. The biggest difference from the previous ones is that Google Classroom is only for the teacher and the students. Evaluation is also possible through the app but its focus point is different. By using other Google services like Drive, its main purpose is to collect together materials from the classes and make them accessible for the students also from home. Google Classroom offers a news feed as well where discussions can start on different topics and the class can cooperate, share sources with each other and build up a project together. Though it is true that this feed is more suitable for answering questions shortly than going into long conversations.
Google Classroom can be supplemented by Teacher Aide, a digital class register app. Helps to store the roster, track attendance, create a seating chart and upload grades.
Teaching doesn’t end at checking attendance, giving grades and informing parents. It is also important to provide the possibility for students to practice what they have learnt on the classes. Quizlet is an easy and smart way for that. Using flashcards, teachers can create their own set of cards about a certain topic and students can test their memories in the ’Learn’ mode. They are able to create their own flashcards as well about things they have difficulties to remember to. Thanks to its quiz-like method, homeworks given via Quizlet can be more efficient as it turns the „have to do” into a game. Quizlet suits best for learning languages or maths – students can even listen the pronuncation of words.
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TED videos don’t need any introduction – now here it is the app version to have it at hand with one tap. Gladly, it is getting more and more widespread to use TED as an educational tool – though for now it is more common in universities then in primary or high schools. While TEDTalks are actually very diverse and covering topics that are interesting and useful for the youngsters as well. Use them to spice up ordinary classes with a powerful talk or share them through the apps above for students to watch it as a homework. TED videos can work also as great inspirational sources before a group project or a school research.
Some students tend to forget about homework, deadlines or the dates of the exams. Instead of having to remind them one by one, with using Remind you can keep the whole class always updated. It is basically a messaging app designed for the teacher-student communication but besides messages it is also possible to schedule reminders. Remind has another clever function: it indicates who read the message already and who are the ones that haven’t yet. This way the teacher knows if everyone receives the information and is aware of its content – so no excuses even for the most forgetful ones.