App Update: Tools for the Social Studies Classroom

By Monica Burns 06.05.2015 blog

There are so many fantastic technology resources that can energize Social Studies instruction in middle school and high school classrooms. The Apple App Store is full of exciting new tools and recently updated apps for iPads. Each one on this list offers unique features that can help engage students as they work to understand course content.

As you decide which apps to bring into your classroom, you will want to take a few things into consideration. First, choose an app with a purpose. This means that it should connect to a specific goal that you have, one that you would address without technology. Second, decide if every student should have this app on their device or if you’ll only need it on your teacher iPad. Finally, make sure that the app will work on your school network. For example, if an app includes links to YouTube videos you want to make sure it will work on your school’s network.

Here is a list of some exciting iPad apps that can support the work happening in your Social Studies classroom:

Adobe Slate

This new storytelling tool is a great choice for teachers looking for different ways to have students publish their writing. This dynamic, completely free app lets students organize their thoughts on a webpage. They can change the layout, choose images, and decide on a font and theme that connects to their message. If students are writing persuasive pieces or informational reports, Adobe Slate is a neat tool for publishing and sharing their final product.

The White House

The official app from The White House is a great source of news for students. It includes information for teens to explore including video and photo archives. Students can watch live streams of events that feature President Obama. The combination of multimedia and text will help students see into the world of The White House.

NHM Alive

Students can embark on a virtual field trip to the Natural History Museum with this powerful iPad app. Sir David Attenborough narrates the journey through this app as students explore exhibits in the museum. It is full of information and multimedia that can connect to a variety of Social Studies topics.

TimeTours: Uxmal

Students learning about faraway places or ancient civilizations should check out one of TimeTours’ apps. These iPad apps focus on different Mayan ruins and help students understand the location and history. The Uxmal app linked above is just one example of what they have to offer. It’s a neat option for bringing history to your students’ fingertips.

Are there any iPad apps that should be added to this list? What apps are you using in your Social Studies classroom? Add your comments below.

Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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