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5 iOS Apps All Teachers Must Have for Back-to-School

These days, mobile apps are as prevalent in the classroom as they are in the office. Teachers need information on the run, as well as fun activities and lesson plans to keep their students engaged. To meet those needs, developers have been steadily adding to an impressive lineup of educational apps. In an increasingly digital classroom, all teachers should consider finding ways to utilize these creative and useful apps. Here are five must-have education apps for a successful back-to-school season:

1. Mobile Education Store

  • Available on: iPad, iPhone
  • Focus: Grammar and syntax
  • Price: $1.99 to $19.99
  • Developer: Kyle Tomson

This suite of mobile apps covers a wide range of educational topics for students of elementary-school age. Designed by a father with his daughter’s special educational needs in mind, Mobile Education Store offers 10 iPad apps, four of which are also available on the iPhone. The apps focus primarily on grammar, syntax and building stories and questions correctly. Each app incorporates audio, visual and tactile senses to create an engaging and well-rounded user experience.

Though initially designed for learners with higher-function autism, the apps in the Mobile Education Store are perfect for any student struggling with narrative skills, and they have found life in ESL classrooms and even with healthcare professionals. For prices and details on individual apps, visit the Mobile Education Store website. Also: Keep an eye on Tense Builder, a great new app to be released just before the school year begins.

2. Teacher’s Assistant Pro

  • Available on: iOS 4-enabled devices
  • Focus: Classroom organization
  • Price: $7.99
  • Developer: Lesson Portal, LLC

Going into a new school year organized and on top of all classroom activity is a must. Teacher’s Assistant helps you keep all daily classroom goings-on organized and annotated in one handy place. Used primarily for behavioral events, Teacher’s Assistant allows the user to input any action a student takes during the day. Another missed homework assignment for Mary? Add it to the student's page in the app. One too many outbursts during a lesson for Billy? Make a note of it for review later. A really outstanding comment from Justin? Make sure to add it so that you can recall it next week.

Teacher’s Assistant organizes all activities on a student-by-student basis, so keeping a disciplined and organized classroom is right in the palm of your hand. The best part? Documents, events and disciplinary notes can be sent to parents and administrators instantly through the app, so you won’t forget to follow up after a long day in the classroom. Check out the app store for reviews and more information.

3. Maps of the World

  • Available on: iOS 4-enabled devices
  • Focus: Historical and modern world geography
  • Price: Free
  • Developer: Seung-Bin Cho

Remember when you used to have two or three maps hanging like window shades at the front of the classroom? But what if you were asked about what the world looked like 500 years ago? Unless a textbook was handy, the student would be forced to stew in their curiosity. Maps of the World changes this, giving you access to countless historical maps from relevant time periods of your choosing.

After downloading this app for free, you will have an archive of as many world maps as you will ever need. What’s more, with a simple VGA or HDMI adapter, you can have the app displaying to your students through your classroom screen in seconds. Those hard-to-field social studies questions just got a little bit easier. Find the app here.

4. Edmodo

  • Available on: iOS and Android
  • Focus: Educational social networking
  • Price: Free
  • Developer: Edmodo

Don’t worry, Edmodo is not set on creating Facebook-like relationships between teachers and students. Students will not be posting music videos of the band-du-jour on your wall, and they will not be commenting on your family vacation photos. But Edmodo does create a way for teachers and students to stay connected. With this free app, teachers and students can send and share notes, submit assignments, post replies and check events when they are not inside the classroom.

Students can use the app to ask questions, keep tabs on submitted assignments and check their grades. Edmodo will help keep information flowing between you and your students, and will allow you to stay on top of assignments and grades. It is one of the most highly regarded education apps and is crucial for teachers, especially grades 7 through 12. Check it out here.

5. Dropbox

  • Available on: iOS and Android
  • Focus: Easy document and file sharing
  • Price: Free
  • Developer: Dropbox

It is likely that you have already used or at least heard of Dropbox outside of the classroom. If not, you will likely find hundreds of uses for this cloud-storage app within hours of first downloading it for free. Dropbox allows you to bring photos, documents, videos and any other file you can think of with you wherever you go. No matter where you were working on a lesson plan or presentation, you can save it to Dropbox and access it from your computer, phone, tablet or even the Dropbox website.

Dropbox also allows you to share files with other users, who can then access it through the cloud. This is indispensable for teachers, administrators and students. At the end of a long day in the classroom, leave your laptop in your desk knowing that your work will be with you wherever you go. Check out Dropbox for Apple here, and click here for Dropbox for Android.