Top 5 Mobile Apps for teaching and learning

This Adobe Spark Page was created to go with the workshop I lead titled "Top 5 Mobile Apps". To see what other great workshops that the official of Distance Education and eLearning is hosting around the Campus of The Ohio State University: go to .

by: Scott Sheeler

Follow me on Twitter for the latest: @SheelerTech


Learning Objectives:

  • Understand why it is important to incorporate mobile tools in the classroom.
  • Learn multiple tools that can be used in the classroom that could improve student learning.



1) 30/30 App (Timer App)

2) Canvas (Carmen App)

(bonus) Speedgrader (Grading App)

3) Explain Everything (Collaborative Whiteboard App)

4) Notability (Note taking App)

5) Adobe Spark - Post, Video & Page (Creation Apps)


The Apps:


Timer App

Here is the sample view of the 30/30 App I'm using for this workshop.
  • Pomodoro style timer
  • Keep your work focused
  • Manage class time (as well as presentations & meetings)
  • Send and share your
When in the classroom, I use 30/30 to make sure I don't spend too much time on one topic. I always have time to get to my formative assessment & closing remarks before class is over.

Notes: This is an iOS only app that has last been updated in 2014. When using the app for the first time, you will receive a notice about the age of the app. I still use it and love it. The publisher says they will update before the next iOS is released later this year.

Android Alternative: ClearFocus. I've never used it but it looks similar.

Canvas App

Here is a screen shot of a course I am currently building in Carman.
  • This provides mobile access to Carmen.
  • Submit assignments, view content and get notifications.
The Canvas Mobile App allows instructors and students to stay in touch and access their coursework even when they are not in front of a desktop computer. This is incredibly helpful when I am within an arm length of my phone, 99% of my day.

Speedgrader App

Here is a screen shot of a sample course with submitted assignments in Speedgrader.
  • Quickly view and grade assignments from a simple interface.
  • Leave feedback, use rubrics.
The Speedgrader App makes it very easy for instructors to quickly give meaningful feedback to their students from their mobile device.

Explain Everything

Here is a screen shot of a sample PowerPoint presentation in Explain Everything.
  • Collaborate with peers with the latest version.
  • Interactive with the whiteboard in hundreds of ways.
  • Easily create videos explaining anything!
Explain Everything is an amazing app that allows you to not only explain everything, but do almost everything in the app as well.

Ideas for use:

  1. Present or teach live with all of the tools at your disposal.
  2. Record your lectures for students to have for review or if you have to miss class.
  3. Load your students' work and provide meaningful feedback with all of the tools.
  4. Collaboratively brainstorm and capture thoughts with your co-workers.
  5. Sketchnote your thoughts and share them.


To try to accommodate people with different needs, Explain Everything has different versions of the app with different pricing structures:

Explain Everything: This version has all of the features Explain Everything offers. It is free to download, but has a monthly fee of $4.99 a month. Education Group Accounts are available at $2.67/year per seat. Everyone can sign up for a 30-day free trial. The different versions of this app have different features.

Explain Everything Classic: This is based on the original version of the interactive screencasting whiteboard. It does not have any collaborative features. It is a one time purchase of $7.99. You can get a 50% VPP discount through Ohio State's Tech Hub.

Explain Everything Whiteboard (special version): This version has all of the features Explain Everything offers. It is a one time purchase of $15.99. You can get a 50% VPP discount through Ohio State's Tech Hub.


Here is a screen shot from Ginger Lab's website showing off Notability.
  • Take notes on a blank document, photos & pdfs.
  • Record audio and sync it with the notes you are taking.
  • There are many easy options for sharing your work.
To me, Notability is so powerful when you can record audio and sync it with your written and drawn notes.


Notability is only available in the iOS and Mac App stores. Both versions of the app are available for purchase for $9.99.

I recommend Evernote as a universal note taking application alternative, if you don't have an iOS device.

Adobe Spark

Here is a screen shot of an Adobe Spark Page that I made explaining how to use Spark Page.

Adobe Spark provides three different FREE apps (Spark Post, Spark Video and Spark Page) that beautifully allow users to display their learning on computers and mobile devices.

Spark Post:

  • Combine your images and text into beautiful art.
  • Access creative commons photos and icons to legally use photos you didn't take.
  • Pick from samples to remix for a theme or look.
  • Add more text and customize each image.

Spark Video:

  • Use video, photos, visuals, music and your voice to tell a story.
  • Access creative commons photos and icons to legally use photos you didn't take.
  • Animate it according to a theme that you select.

Spark Page:

  • Easily build a beautiful, one page blog for any use.
  • Simply share your page with a URL from Adobe.


My Spark Page on "How to make a Spark Page"

Student Example from Jennifer Ray’s Algebra 2 class at Berkshire Senior High School

Journalism Example: Steroid Nation

Sports Example: The Game

Traveling Example: Sanpya Fish Market

Music Example: SXSW 2016

Journaling Example: Journey On Foot Across The Nepal Himalaya

Availability: While anyone on a computer can use these apps in their browser at The Adobe Spark Apps are currently only available in the iOS app store. The Android versions are in development according to Adobe.

Download the PDF handout for this workshop:

Created By
Scott Sheeler


Created with images by kaboompics - "man reading touchscreen" • cuncon - "ipad girl tablet" • FirmBee - "office freelancer computer" • FirmBee - "ipad mockup apple"

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