December 28, 2017

The Best of 2017’s Education Technology

Contributed by Meghan Sullivan

The time is ripe for season’s greetings and long-held family traditions, but amidst the excitement and cheer a new year brings, the ending of another also presents a great opportunity to look back and reflect on the highlights of 2017.

This year has been one of exciting growth and development for Education Funding Partners. In addition to working with school districts to continue supporting important school programs, EFP also formed partnerships with two education technology giants, Blackboard and SchoolMessenger, that have helped solidify our place in the ed-tech world.

Educational technology has also had a large impact on the field of education at large. iPads and laptops are used in schools across America on a daily basis, and many educators have utilized these tools to create fun, engaging and informative lesson plans this year.

With this in mind, EFP would like to highlight some of the best educational apps from 2017, broken down by subject area and organized as a student could use them while navigating through a busy school schedule. May these deserving tools bring students more learning, more engagement and more excitement in the next coming year!

First Period – Mathematics
Best Math App: Desmos Graphing Calculator

Starting with a dreaded subject for many students, apps like the Desmos Graphing Calculator bring numbers to life through innovative visual math tools. The Graphing Calculator was the newest Desmos piece to hit the App Store this year, but their website provides many additional aids for making math class more engaging.

Second Period – Reading
Best Educational eBook: Shakespeare SwipeSpeare

The works of Shakespeare are pieces firmly engrained in the high school literary canon, and although his sonnets and prose are artfully genius, the abundant use of outdated puns and iambic pentameter may strike fear in some English students. Shakespeare SwipeSpeare eases this pain by providing students with a more contemporary translation after swiping through the Bard’s original words.

Third Period – Language Arts
Best Writing App: Write Ideas

Writers’ block is a problem for even the most accomplished of authors, and having a looming deadline only makes matters worse. Apps like Write Ideas help create pre-writing activities to make crafting your next essay a breeze.

Lunch Break
Best App for School Meal Planning: MySchoolBucks

That’s right, we’ve even got your lunch covered. Education has been transformed by technology that increases communication between school and home, and apps like MySchoolBucks increase such communication in regards to school fees. Although launched in 2005, MySchoolBucks continues to make parental involvement in paying for school meal plans easier.

Best App for Creative Play: Swift Playgrounds

Playing outside for recess is always the best option, but when it comes to rainy days and snowed-in playgrounds, teachers can utilize playful apps like Swift Playgrounds to unleash students’ creativity. Swift Playgrounds in particular introduces students to coding through puzzles centered on the creation of app-based games.

Fourth Period – Science
Best Science App: SkySafari

Coming off the excitement of this year’s solar eclipse, it’s a perfect time to introduce students to the science of the solar system. Apps like SkySafari allow students to explore space from their own backyards and see stars from a different light.

Fifth Period – Social Studies
Best Interactive Social Studies App: Do I Have a Right?

2017 was an important year in politics with the inauguration of a new president, and many students may have a newfound interest in government and the U.S. political system. To promote this interest and explain governmental affairs, iCivics provides interactive games and apps like Do I Have a Right? on their website.

Sixth Period – Music
Best Music Reading App: forScore

Fine arts and music programs are instrumental in promoting creativity and artistic expression, but reading sheet music often makes these programs difficult for students. Apps like forScore help students translate music from paper to sound and will have students playing 2017’s hits on their instruments well into 2018.

Seventh Period – Study Hall
Best Study App: Studies

Educational technology helps promote learning long after students leave the classroom. Flashcards are a helpful tool for many students, and apps like Studies allow students to create them in less time and with minimal hand cramping.

On the whole, 2017 was another transformative year in education. Digital tools and resources have grown more bountiful, and new apps provide ample material for interesting classroom lessons that also engage students actively in the learning. At the end of the day, 2017 laid the groundwork for even more creativity and innovation in 2018.

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