As parents/guardians, we want our tweens and teens to excel in school and succeed in life. In today's digital age and “always on” culture, we know that technology can play an important role in helping our kids achieve their goals and support their overall learning. However, we have to remember that it's important to ensure that our children's use of technology is mindful and balanced, especially with so many schools now being 1:1 device schools…that’s a lot of screen time. Understanding the need for balance, and appreciating the fact that a lot of good can come from technology, including being an inclusive tool to help so many, I wanted to do a post on homework apps! They can be a great way to help our kids stay organized, track their progress, and improve their learning outcomes, while also promoting digital wellness.
Here are some of the best homework apps, I think, for tweens and teens, that are designed to be beneficial, well thought out in terms of digital wellness, and highly rated by educators and experts. I’ve used them with my own students over the years, and feel that while there are so many out there (it’s easy to get overwhelmed with app selection alone), a lot can be accomplished with just this handful.
This should be on every tween and teen phone! Talk about combining productivity and digital wellness in one, this app can do wonders for so many kids. The Forest app uses gamification to help students stay focused during task time and avoid distractions which can lead to stress and incomplete work. The app allows them to plant a virtual tree that grows over time, as long as they stay focused on their work. There’s the motivation/gamification. If they leave the app before their work is done, the tree dies (as sad as that is, visualizations work wonders with kids).
Google Calendar/Drive/Slides/Docs/all of it!
Let’s face it, the majority of us are using Google, and a lot of schools are operating with Google as well. With their entire library of apps and plugins, why not? It’s easy! The sooner we can teach students about the tools available and how to use them to stay organized, take notes, share documents and ideas, the better. These skills will last them a lifetime, setting them up for success as they move on to college and careers.
Quizlet is an easy to use study tool that helps students (and teachers) prepare for exams and quizzes by creating flashcards, quizzes, and other study materials. The app also includes audio features (great for inclusivity), and allows users to study offline (think about those trips where you don’t have access to wifi!). This is a favorite app for subject teachers needing to review vocabulary and concepts, and it's so easy for students to use on their own.
Evernote is a note-taking app that allows students to capture ideas, take notes, and organize their homework and assignments. The genius lies in the ability to annotate a PDF! So many times students are given PDFs to work with, but it’s such a challenge finding ways to open them, write on them or submit them! This makes it easy. The app also allows users to save web pages and images, and share notes with classmates and teachers.
Who hasn’t heard of Khan Academy these days? This is an educational app that offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard for students to learn at their own pace. I’m always telling my own children to watch
My Study Life
My Study Life is a comprehensive planner and organizer for students. The app allows users to track their homework and assignments, set reminders, and view their schedules. The app also includes offline support, allowing users to access their information without an internet connection. My Study Life is available for free on both iOS and Android devices.