REVIEW: The 35 BEST Educational Apps for Students
By Paul Stevens-Fulbrook
29th August 2018
There are so many different educational apps for students out there and because we have such
busy schedules it can be a bit of a gamble choosing the right ones, especially as they can
sometimes take a while to set up with all of our classes.
This has certainly been the case for me; I start the year intending to break out all the bells and
whistles but I end up getting bogged down in the everyday running of my classes and the
thought of investing time in researching apps and getting them set up seems too bigger task.
In this post, I review 35 of the most popular and innovative apps. They are not ranked in any
Which ones will you be using?
1. Google Classroom.
2. Apple Classroom.
10. Google Hangouts.
29. ChatterPix Kids.
30. Curiscope Virtuali-tee.
31. Green Screen.
33. Apple Clips.
34. HP Reveal.
35. Figment AR.
I have arranged the educational apps for students reviews into the following sections:
Learning and Assessment.
1. Google Classroom.
Google Classroom is excellent. I have been using it for a couple of years now and
it has revolutionised my teaching. It pulls together all of the G-Suite apps (Docs,
Slides, Sheets and Draw). Teachers can create assignments and announcements
for individual classes. They can attach worksheets slideshows or weblinks
(along with many other things) and set deadlines. The work can be
marked/graded and returned to students for further work.
When a student completes work it gets saved automatically to their Google Classroom class
folders in their Google Drive (these are set up automatically). All work is saved securely.
Students may submit class comments that are viewable to all students and teachers assigned
to that “Classroom”, this leads to collaborative working. Students may also submit private
comments to their teachers if they require assistance and don’t want to share their questions
with the rest of the students.
For further reading I have written an entire review post; Google Classroom; A Year Long
Review, go check it out (I have put the link at the bottom of this article too!).
2. Apple Classroom.
Whilst the name “Apple Classroom” suggests a similar app to Google
Classroom the two are vastly different. Apple Classroom is an iOS and
macOS app that is a student monitoring solution. If you have Apple devices
in your school or class then this app is fantastic, it allows teachers to monitor
what students are doing on their Apple devices. You can see what they are
doing and see what other apps they have open (handy for those sneaky game
players!) but that’s not all, you can actually control their device! On the surface, this seems
like a simple app to dictate what students are doing but it is way more. You can open apps or
web pages on all devices and lock them so they can only see what you are controlling, an
excellent idea for guided lessons. Although only available on Apple devices it is a great tool
with huge scope for use in the classroom.
iDoceo is fantastic if you use an iPad to manage your classes at school. I used
it at my previous school and I would have been lost without it! However, it is
only available on iPads. It is a planner, diary, schedule and grade-book, it also
contains seating plan configuration tools (including my favourite…the
randomiser!) You can create classes and import class data from other sources.
One of the best features of iDoceo is that you can add files and resources to any of your
classes bulletin boards and send individual and bulk emails to your students. It is a great app
and will definitely make your life easier. At present, it costs $11.99 in the US and £11.99 in
Vivi is awesome! It is a wireless presentation and screen mirroring tool (it
allows all students and teachers to see the same screen on their devices).
Students and teachers can annotate and save content in real time. It can be used
by all devices (so no worry about whether students have Apple, Microsoft or
Android etc. devices). It requires a Blue box to be plugged in your classroom which allows
you to be free to move around the class untethered! It is quite costly (about US$300 or £230)
so in my opinion its a solution that needs to be bought by your school. However, if you do get
them in your school I’m sure you will love them.
All your students need to use Flipgrid is a device with a camera. Basically,
students can record video responses to topics or questions you set. in this
day and age, students spend huge amounts of time on social media, this app
allows that ethos to be bought into the classroom and hopefully this fervour
to translate into classroom engagement. It also has the benefit of allowing those students who
are less likely to contribute to class discussion to weigh in and have a voice; we all have those
students that give epic responses when spoken to one to one but never feel able to share them
openly with the class. Flipgrid eliminates this!
Students can respond to homework questions or explain more complex ideas in a visual way.
They can even post YouTube style reviews on books, videos watched in class or even get
their feedback and what they’ve learnt from a particular lesson. I’ve seen it used by students
recording news reporter style videos, which was pretty cool.
When doing the research for this article, ClassDojo was suggested by my
subscribers and Instagram followers more than any other. In short, it is a
classroom behaviour management reward system. Students receive +1 or-1
behaviour points but unlike other behaviour management systems that focus on
nondescript gold stars, ClassDojo allows the emphasis to be based on positive
feedback with teachers being able to create their own targeted behaviours.
Class Dojo creates reports that can be shared with students and/or parents publicly or
privately. Each student has an avatar of a little monster (very apt in some cases!) which keeps
the app rather fun.
Seesaw is another app that helps keep parents in the loop. As we all know
collaboration between home and school is essential in education. Seesaw is an
online portfolio where students can upload their best work to share with their
parents and teachers can add examples of students strengths and areas of
development. I see this as a valuable tool for parent-teacher meetings, it could also help
parents from feeling excluded from their child’s learning, thus reducing the time teachers
spend in contact with parents as all the work will be there for them to see.
Remind is another parent contact app with a very good added extra. It allows you to
communicate with students and their parents beyond the classroom, the added extra
is that your messages can be translated into over 70 languages, totally eliminating
the isolation felt by parents for whom English is not their first language. You can make class
announcements, group chats, or contact individuals privately through the app.
Classtree is similar to Remind but goes a little further. It connects teachers,
students and parents but acts a little like a social media platform in that you can
post photos and documents (like classwork) and the parents, student and
teacher in question can “like” and comment on them. Users get instant
notifications (like social media) and teachers and parents can communicate
through a chat function. An added benefit of Classtree is that you can attach consent forms
for field trips and get them signed, returned and downloaded through the app. That one gets a
big “like” from me!
10. Google Hangouts.
Essentially Google Hangouts is a messaging app but with a whole lot more built
in. The obvious uses are easy communication with parents, students and other
teachers (especially good if you need another teacher or leader to come and collect
a student needing to be removed!) however so much more can be done with it.
Google Hangouts allows you to record and save video footage (for instance a visiting speaker
that not all students/teachers can get to see) and then send it whoever needs to see it. You can
create groups (e.g. classes) which then have conversations and study remotely together
(excellent for exam prep). I have even used it for flipped homework; I sent a video I wanted
students to debate for homework. In our next lesson, we looked at the conversation the
students had and discussed the points raised.
Dropbox has been around a while and is an excellent alternative to Google
Drive. Where Google Drive allows you to create and edit G Suite files,
DropBox lets you create and edit Microsoft Office files. Storing all your
teaching files remotely saves you carrying all sorts of drives around with you
and the ability to share files with students means you don’t have to fill their
inbox with huge attachments. The basic free account gets you 500Mb of storage but my top
tip is if you use their referral scheme to invite your students, you get extra storage when they
sign up, which they will need to do if you are going to use it for your classes. Win!
Trello is basically an advanced to-do list app with the potential to be very
useful for students. It syncs via a cloud across all devices so they will never
be without their work schedule. They can create checklists of tasks to be
done, can upload images assign tasks to other students in a group (particularly
useful when students are doing a group project). This app is great for teachers
personal use too, I use it daily to keep me organised rather than having lots of crumpled bits
of paper in my pockets which invariably get lost…resulting in missing deadlines!
Edmodo works in a similar but simpler way to Google Classroom in that teachers
can post assignments, messages, polls and quizzes to students. Students, in turn,
can submit their work and receive grades.
This one has me super excited. It’s a totally nerdy version of a classroom and
behaviour management reward and sanction system. It takes all those elements
and turns it into a game similar to World of Warcraft. Students “play” in teams
and gain XP (experience points) for positive behaviours and lose HP (health
points) for negative behaviour.
I tried to write a review of it but found myself getting far too excited! I literally can’t wait to
get back to school and get this up and running with a few of my classes. I have included a
video from the developers as they can explain it more clearly than I can (I’m still totally
geeking out on this idea and thus unable to write anything coherent!).
Freckle is great! It can be used for practice and reinforcement of ideas but also
contains valuable opportunities for engagement; A click from the dashboard
takes you to videos and lessons from YouTube, Khan Academy and
LearnZillion. Students can complete activities of work independently and earn
coins to spend in the “piggy store”. There a large amount of customisable,
printable worksheets in many subject areas. It is a great all-round app for use mainly with
younger students in my opinion.
Prodigy is a maths game and is very engaging for students, I have seen whole
classes get very competitive and work a such a fast and thorough rate through
the quizzes, pitting their wits against other classes. Students need to create an
account and need a parents email to sign up.
It is mainly aimed at practice rather than initial instruction, it gives excellent feedback for
incorrect answers so really helps students of all abilities to show progress. It is set in a fantasy
world where students encounter monsters to battle (with their maths skills!). As they defeat
the monsters students earn coins, spells and other rewards. It also has the benefit of allowing
parents to track their child’s progress.
Essentially Evernote is a note-taking app and is great for brainstorming
presentations and making lists. You can create checklists, record audio
notes, handwrite notes, attach files, drop links and create tables as well. It’s
great for creating and organising all of your notes for every subject. It is
great for teachers and students alike.
Like other apps I have mentioned teachers can share assignments with their
students but as students complete their tasks, teachers can differentiate follow
up instructions on an individual basis. Edulastic even works seamlessly with
Quizalize can be used as a pre-assessment tool as well as for summative
and formative assessments. Students can design their own quizzes to
challenge classmates and teachers can share the results of all quizzes with
the class (there is a tool to hide anything that identifies the students when
doing this). It contains a multiple choice mode and survey and self-
Teachers can create entire lessons on Nearpod or use one of a huge number of
pre-made lessons (some are free, others chargeable). You can even upload
your powerpoint lessons to Nearpod but the formatting can be a little off
doing it this way but can easily be rectified in the Nearpod dashboard. When
teaching a Nearpod lesson, teachers share the lesson to the screen of all
students and can play videos to each individual screen. You can take polls or ask questions
that students can respond to, the teacher gets all the answers individually and can share model
answers to the screen of all students. it can take a little while to get prepared but the benefits
far outweigh this minor inconvenience.
With Formative, teachers can create formative assessments that students
can complete at their own pace and submit them on their device. It
allows file uploads and video and audio to be embedded in the
assessments. You can even attach a Quizlet (see review below). All data
from the assessments can be gathered during or after the lessons to
inform future lessons and to challenge misconceptions.
Plickers is very accessible for ALL students as it doesn’t require students to
have a device at all! Teachers set up their assessments on the Plickers website
and create classes with the names of their student, they use the Plicker app on
their phone to control the live quiz. Each student is given a pre-printed card (a
paper clicker…Plicker!). The is quiz projected on to the screen in the class.
The students then hold up their “Plicker” and the teacher then scans the class with the camera
tool on the app. The app then records the student’s responses and collates the scores on the
This is great for introductions or end of lesson formative assessments. Plickers really builds
engagement and students really enjoy the interactive quizzes.
Edpuzzle utilises any high-quality videos that can be uploaded from YouTube,
TedTalks, Khan Academy etc. The can be clipped to only show the portion that
you want the use and you can record a voice over of instructions for your
students. The best part of Edpuzzle is that it allows you to insert quizzes into
the video for your students to do. Edpuzzle is an excellent flipped lesson tool.
StudyBlue utilises flashcards but all wrapped up in an app. The can be viewed
on any device by logging into your StudyBlue account. Audio and Video can
also be added to the flashcards. The Flashcards can then be shared with your
students or students can share them with each other to help study or revise for
tests. A simple digital solution that like the original flashcards works
Quiz Classroom Apps for Teachers
Quizizz provides a huge amount of ready-made quizzes for students to take
(Teachers can also create their own). Students answer the questions on their
device and a leaderboard is generated on the main classroom screen. Teachers
get a report after the quiz where they can use the data to inform future lessons.
Quizizz can also be launched through Google Classroom, which is a neat
Kahoot is very similar to Quizizz in the way it runs. It is the one that I
personally use. It not only has educational quizzes but a vast amount of fun
user-made quizzes too. It is fantastic for formative assessment or just for end
of term fun. I like to run a quiz in my class but also join it from my phone,
this builds a huge level of engagement with all my students trying to beat me
(Tip: always practice the test at home first so your students have no chance
of beating you!)
Gimkit is similar to Kahoot and Quizziz but supercharged. It allows students to
take quizzes in a similar fashion to the other two but unlike both Kahoot and
Quizizz students answer questions independently earning “cash” for correct
answers. The quizzes are time-based or are by the amount of cash earned.
Teachers can create their own “kit” (quiz) or use a quizlet, it is VERY easy to set up. A new
feature just released is assignments that can be set in the same way as Google Classroom (In
fact Gimkit quizzes can now be set in Google Classroom.
The first few kits you set up are free but after that, there is a monthly subscription, the reason
for this is that it was created by high school students as a school project and therefore can’t
have advertising on there. It is less than $10 a month and in my opinion well worth that
Quizlet is another quiz app (shocking!) like Quizizz, Kahoot and Gimkit but it
also has other tools built in. It has flashcards and a matchup game. Again you
can make your own resources or use ones that are already made by other users.
As we have seen in a few of the above reviews, you can embed a quizlet into
some other apps, making quizlet a very versatile tool for the classroom.
Augmented Reality Classroom Apps For Teachers.
Augmented reality is changing the face of classroom apps for teachers, they can literally
bring infinite possibilities into the classroom. I’ve tried to describe them in my reviews but I
realised that it was tricky to adequately describe their depth with just words so I’ve included
some YouTube clips so you can see how augmented reality works.
29. ChatterPix Kids.
ChatterPix is great fun and has classroom applications for both students and
teachers. It allows the user to animate pictures from your device and make them
say anything you want them to. Students could use it to present work they’ve
done on a historical figure or teachers could use it as a great hook to introduce a
topic or to challenge common misconceptions (or a blogger could use it for some shameless
self-promotion (see below)).
30. Curiscope Virtuali-tee.
This one was actually shown to me by one of my year 8 students (who’s mum is
an anatomy professor at a local university). As a Science teacher, I find this app
super useful in the classroom but it is also amazing for bringing awe and
wonder to younger children too. It has huge learning potential!
You have to buy one of their t-shirts for the app to work but the cost is by far outweighed by
the benefit. When you point the camera tool in the app at someone wearing the t-shirt (or the
t-shirt on a hanger) you can see an augmented reality projection of the internal anatomy of the
wearer! It also works with the camera on selfie mode to allow your students to look inside
their own body!
It has clickable parts to the images and audio descriptions and videos that describe the
functions of different organs.
There’s also the option to explore with a VR headset but this doesn’t work in selfie mode and
it might be a challenge to persuade a friend to stand still for a long time unless you’ve both
got t-shirts and headsets.
31. Green Screen.
For years we’ve seen green screen technology in films and TV shows but
now you can have it in your classroom! The possibilities are endless! You
don’t need expensive equipment or a dedicated green screen studio. Just the
app and maybe a green curtain or plastic tablecloth (from a dollar/pound
shop). Put yourself or your students into space, at famous monuments or
buildings around the world or even undersea!
The Thinglink app is amazing for so many classroom activities. It is a web-
based tool that lets you add text, video or web-links to a picture. The interactive
images you create can be shared on social media, links or can be embedded into
a web page. Like many of the other augmented reality apps in this review, the
possibilities for classroom applications are endless!
33. Apple Clips.
Where there is an opportunity for new tech ideas…you’ll find an Apple
version somewhere and while this isn’t necessarily an augmented reality app
it’s close! Apple clips has many possible uses in the classroom. I find it great
for flipped learning and to introduce a lesson. It’s also great for student
project presentation work.
34. HP Reveal.
HP Reveal (formerly called Aurasma) is an app that allows the user to create
augmented reality triggers in textbooks, class posters or even school bulletin
boards. You take a picture of the “trigger” and add instructions, image or
videos that pop up when a student scans that trigger with the app. You could
use a section from a textbook as a trigger that then brings up further learning
opportunities when your students scan it. You could use it on field trips (e.g. a museum)
where students can scan areas of the museum that you have set up ahead of time to reveal the
learning intentions that you want them to achieve. I couldn’t find a great video for this app
but if you have a better one, email me (envelope link at the top of the page) and I’ll include
35. Figment AR.
I’ve saved the best augmented reality app (in my opinion) to last. Figment AR
allows you to completely manipulate the world around you. Place animated
3D objects and creatures around you class or portals to different worlds. Add
in stock images or videos to the portals or ones you have taken yourself. No
longer does your classroom just have 4 walls and a door, you can now take a
journey anywhere in the world and beyond. I will be using this one this year!