A visit to the app store can offer up more than just entertainment value. As students are becoming more connected to technology, some of the strategies and resources used in the learning process need to reflect a melding with the digital world. This melding doesn’t always have to scream high price tag, and these 5 free newcomers on the app scene are here to prove it.
Tommy the Turtle- Learn to Code– Young learners are able to manipulate commands, sequences, and loops to produce an entertainingly and educationally created dancing turtle! With the simple one-touch commands found in the app, it is easy for students of all ability levels to experience an early foray into coding. Switch-accessibility is available for students with limited motor function that need to connect via a Bluetooth switch interface. Tommy the Turtle can be programmed to move, dance, and sing for users. There is also a challenge mode that allows students to test their coding abilities as they use their skills to solve problems involving Tommy and his friends. With no pop-ups or advertisement, this early coding experience is a real find.
A Soft Murmur– Helping students control the distractions within the learning environment is just as important as the learning that occurs there. A great strategy for assisting in this endeavor is the use of a sound app that can help students maintain focus. By incorporating background noise either via earbuds or unplugged audio, users can choose from a variety of distraction-eliminating sounds (e.g., rainfall, wind, waves). Students can use the soundtracks as a timer, create their own mixes, and manipulate the sounds to provide an ever-changing background compilation. A perfect companion for helping those easily distracted make the most of their at-home or in-class productivity time.
Arthur’s Story Maker: Pirates- FREE Kids App– This early introduction to story creation presented by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a great way to get young learners thinking about the writing process. Students are able to assist Arthur in co-authoring a pirate’s adventure. Users make selections involving characters, props, rising action, outcomes, and more. These selections become an original story creation that gets played out on their devices. In choose-your-own-adventure fashion, students are able to make changes and adaptations that present an endless number of exciting new adventures. Users can encounter new vocabulary and expand their imaginations as they dive into storytelling with the help of familiar and lovable Arthur.
EGT Basketball Training and Drills– Finding engaging apps to use in physical education class or as a coach can be difficult. If basketball is the sport of focus, then this free app is a perfect selection. If new drills for encouraging fitness and agility are in order, then EGT won’t disappoint. Whether students are engaging in the exercises demonstrated on the app in class, at practice, or in the neighborhood, they are moving and learning. Users will find a variety of drills to improve shooting accuracy, ball handling, play development, and more. The expertise of NBA trainers and coaches can easily be attained with a simple download.
Stop, Breathe, & Think Kids: Focus, Calm, & Sleep– There is a lot of discussion about the importance of mental health and removing any stigmas associated with seeking ways to address and improve a person’s overall mental well-being. Kids needs to be an active part of these discussions and learn to tap into their own emotional make-up and sense of self. It’s never too early to help students in labeling their feelings and emotions. This app geared toward children ages 5-10 offers users an easy format for checking in on how they’re feeling and engaging in mindful activities that will help them tune into their emotions. A great recommendation for at-home usage to bring families together and help adults facilitate conversations about emotional well-being in a rewarding and kid-friendly environment.
Whether teachers are adding to their classroom repertoire or sending some suggestions for supplemental activities home to parents, these new apps are great additions to any toolkit. When an app can have an impact on students’ learning or the quality of their learning environment, then it’s a great find. When the find is also free, it doesn’t get much better than that!