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Chester W. Barrows School Library: Technology: Free Apps for the Common Core

Apps for Common Core Skills

7 Must-Know Apps for Common Core Skills

By Stephen Noonoo


This article appears in THE Journal's July 2013 digital edition, focused entirely on preparing for the Common Core.


According to Elizabeth Calhoon, an academic technology specialist at the Santa Clara (CA) County Office of Education, the best way to use apps for Common Core curriculum is not to look for apps aligned to specific standards but to find ones that encompass the "ideas of collaboration and creation [which] are far more pervasive in Common Core" than in the current paradigm. The following is a selection of apps for ELA and math, curated with help from Calhoon, that do just that.

1. Virtual Manipulatives allows instructors to create lessons around drag-and-drop "fraction bars" that can aid in lessons comparing fractions, decimals, and percentages. Free for iPad.

2. With ThingLink, students can curate a collection of photos and annotate them with multiple pieces of text, YouTube or personal video, or even Twitter handles. 
Free for iPhone or iPad.

3. Toontastic records users as they move characters around a screen and narrate their story audibly. Photos can be imported for use in backgrounds. Free for iPad.

4. Knowmia Teach allows teachers to create short video lessons in several small steps, similar to how they might develop a slide presentation. The lessons can then be posted online. The apps records fingerstrokes and audio for later playback. Free for iPad.

5. Mindomo, a mind-mapping app, offers a real-time collaboration feature and lets users turn their maps into presentations and share them with others. Free for iPad.

6. The mobile counterpart to cloud video editor, the WeVideo Uploader allows students to capture videos and photos directly on their device, import, and even begin the editing process, which can be completed online. Free for iPhone and iPad.

7. Teachers can use 3D modeling software (such as Google SketchUp) to design projects around virtual manipulatives like geometric shapes and architectural models. They can then import them into the SightSpace 3D app for mobile viewing, which can be layered over real-world environments for an augmented reality twist. There is a free version for iPhone and iPad, as well as a $39.99 version.


Free Science Apps for Ipad, Iphone

The following is a review from Richard Byrne's blog, Free Technology for Teachers

The Bill Nye The Science Guy  iPad app is a free iPad app on which students can watch Bill Nye videos, play games, and discover kitchen table science experiments to do at home with their parents. The app is beautifully designed. Students enter the app by “scanning” their thumbprints. After entering the app students select an object on Bill Nye’s desk. Each object launches a new element of the app. (The) only complaint about the app is that in the video section it looks like you have to buy the videos (it’s an option) even though you can watch them for free.

Free Science Ipad/Iphone Apps Reviewed by Graphite/Common Sense Media

 All of the following have been reviewed by Common Sense Media's Web/App Review site,

Please note that these apps for appropriate for students K - grade 6, and certainly older.


Google Earth

Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications



Marine Missions

Simple app sets young kids sailing in the waters of ocean conservation


NOVA Elements

Info-packed science resource great for teaching the elements


Bill Nye The Science Guy

Cool app lets kids blast off, bubble, and dig into science concepts


Where's My Water?

Captivating conservation puzzler focuses on problem-solving



Science360 for iPad

Amazing images, videos, and fact-packed text on many science topics



Visually super NASA-backed treasure trove may overwhelm


Color Uncovered

Engaging ebook combines art with science in playful ways


DIY - Get skills. Be awesome.

From cardboarding to cooking, this app helps kids find the fun in DIY


Finger Physics

Cute and challenging physics puzzler teaches gravity



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Sue Rose
Chester W. Barrows School
9 Beachmont Avenue
Cranston, RI 02905