What is in your tool belt? My favorite apps and programs to get the job done

I have found that with a little research and some trial and error I have been able to find a tool to fit the need. I would like to share a few of my favorite tools and how I use them. I am a dual user of both platforms and if possible I always look for a tool that is available on both. For each tool I will note if it is onle available on only one platform.


In an effort to go paperless in my 1 to 1 ipad class I was searching for a tool that would let me share my lesson plans with my students. I found a tool that does this and so much more. I use it for all of my classes even the ones that are not in an ipad environment. I am able to share a link to the plans with my students. They are able to see the homework I assigning and access any links or documents I wish to share with them. The best part is it is a great time saving tool because I am able to copy lessons to a different day or from one semester to the next. The feedback from my students has been all positive. The cost is very reasonable at $12 per year and a one month free trial.

Gradebook iPad App

This teaching assistant is a powerful iPad app. I was looking for a time efficient way to take attendance in a class of 30 students. Today I use this app for attendance, seating plans, recording and calculating grades. It allows for many grade types including rubrics. I am also able to send personal reports to students. It has many additional features that contribute to the description "teaching assistant". Although it is iPad only it allows you to export an Excel file.


I started using Microsoft OneNote instead of Journal Writer on my tablet-computer about five years ago. I was a Trapper Keeper kind of girl when I was in high school so I think that is why I was drawn to this awesome tool. Every year I find another way this tool can help with all aspects of my life. Mainly I use it to help with work related tasks. The list of uses seems endless so I will list some of the main features I find most useful. I use it during class to display notes including handwritten notaions, organize daily lesson, share a link to a view only version of the notes with students, organize committee work and use shareable notebooks to collaborate with colleagues on projects. Web clipping and email tools also help me increase productivity and organization my day to day tasks.

Notetaking iPad App

I wanted to go paperless in my 1:1 ipad class and do more than just replace a student's paper notebook. Installed on my student's iPads, this notetaking and PDF annotation app soon became my students' favorite app. Allowing them to create notebooks that go far beyond just writing on paper. In addition, I use it on my iPad to grade my students digitally submitted work and share it back to them.

Screencasting, iteractive, whiteboard tool

I needed my students that are preservice teachers to gain more practice explaining math and using visual representations in their explainations. This is the main reason I wanted iPads for each of my students. Explain Everything proved to be the most user friendly screencasting app for my students. They are able to create videos of their explainations and then play them back and reflect upon how they can improve. This is a dual platform tool, but I only have experience using it on the iPad.

Showbie organizes classroom workflow

Showbie improves workflow in my 1:1 iPad classroom. It is the easiest way for my students to hand in assignments from an iPad and for me to hand back feedback. Pro Edition has an annual fee.

Interactive Lessons

Nearpod is a multi-platform application that allows teachers to create lessons and share them with students in or outside of class. Great for flipping a lesson or when you have a substitute.

Social Bookmarking Tool

Symbaloo EDU is a visual tool for bookmarking websites. It allows you to create different web mixes and share them. I have my own and one for each class I teach. I can embed the web mix into our LMS and every change I make is automatically updated to all of my students.

TES Teach: Create digital lessons.

TES Blendspace is a place to collect digital content and share it with students. I use this to curate resources to share with my students and my students use it to create parts of their portfolio. I prefer the web version but there are apps for iOS and Chrome.

Created By
Heather O'Brien


Created with images by 27707 - "tools tool belt belt" Descriptions were adapted by Heather O'Brien from developers websites, links provided in each section.

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