As part of my technologies series I would like to discuss the apps I use on my Android tablet to make my life as a teacher easier and more enjoyable. I won’t mention apps for iPad users because I have no experience with Apple products. Plenty of more useful and extensive guides exist for iPad users. I will make a note of the applications that are cross-platform (available for iOS and Android devices) by marking them with an asterisk (*). What I look for in a good application:
- Cost (preferably free)
- Compatibility (with Word and other common programs)
As a graduate student, I don’ t have the luxury of buying extra programs on a whim, especially if I might find that they don’t serve my purposes. The multitude of free, high-quality apps to choose from in the Google Play store makes owning an Android tablet a dream for me. I will say that I usually download 3-6 apps that all do essentially the same thing, try them each out, and then uninstall the ones that were not up to par.
A few of my favorites:
1. Kingsoft Office (Free)
This application has been a game changer for me. My students submit all of their papers electronically into the cloud. From there I download their file onto my computer at home and then provide feedback through margin comments. Until recently, I was unable to do this on my tablet because it doesn’t support Microsoft Word. I tried Splashtop Streamer 2 as a remote desktop to solve this issue (see below) but this is an even easier to use and smoother option.
2. Splashtop Streamer 2 (Free or $9.99/year)*
Splashtop Streamer is a remote desktop app. It allows me to access my home computer from my tablet on any wireless connection! This features costs around $10/year but if you primarily use your tablet and computer in the same place/same wireless connection you can use the free version.
3. Mindjet (Free)*
This app works with Box.com and is fantastic for brainstorming. Have students create a mind map for their projects as an assignment directly in the Box.com interface, and upload it from there!
4. Box (Free)*
A nifty app to keep your Box.com files easily accessible.
Do you feel slighted because I forgot your pet app? Please, share them in the comments!