Sunday, July 12, 2015

DigiLit Sunday: Have a Core of Apps

One of the first questions I am asked by those working to embed more digital opportunities into their classroom communities is about tools.  Which digital tools do I recommend?  The digital tools I use in my classroom are the ones that allow us to work purposefully and flexibly as we learn together.  There are so many tools available it can be a bit overwhelming.  When getting started I suggest finding 3-5 tools that will be part of your core and know them well.  Once a strong core is established, it is easier to build upon the base as applications often have commonalities among features.

Here are some considerations when choosing your core:

  • Find apps which allow students to create.
  • Choose apps which are connected to curriculum.
  • Be intentional.
  • Choose apps which allow students to work where they are as learners.
  • Choose apps which allow students to work in authentic ways.
  • Consider how products created in apps can be shared with others (social media, embedding ease, email, etc.).
  • Consider ease of use.
  • Consider the platform of the application (iPad, desktop, tablet, etc.).
  • Where will the work live (cloud based or device based)?

My Core
If I had to choose just five applications, my list would look something like this:

Create free infographics with Venngage.

New applications are released at lightning speed.  It's important to keep up with new digital possibilities, but there are advantages to getting to know tools very well.  I like students to play and work with an application for awhile to learn the variety of ways they can use it to create meaning.  There's something to be said for being fluent and proficient in the applications used in our classrooms.  

If you have a core I hope you'll share it.  I'd love to hear about the 3-5 apps you put at the top of the list for your classroom community.

As part of a continuous collaboration among educators interested in digital learningMargaret Simon hosts a weekly Digital Learning round-up on her blog:  DigiLit Sunday.  Stop by Reflections on the Teche.  


  1. Do you know about Amy VanDerwater's new project? She is building a site for writing workshop apps.
    She is calling for student work to feature.
    I need to add Padlet this year. Animoto and Emaze became two go-tos for my students this year for book talks. They tried Powtoon. It was fun but more difficult to navigate.
    Thanks for linking up with your great ideas and resources.

  2. My core looks very similar to yours. We are a #GAFE school, so I can not use Kidblog any more, but have adjusted to Blogger (and plan to use Easy Blogger too this year as we will be 2:1 (iPads and Chromebooks for each student). Rather than Educreations I use Explain Everything more often because my school has paid for it. Another favorite is Animoto for great videos. Thanks for sharing what you use most.