Get Kids Back to School With These Apps

Posted July 22nd, 2016 at 10:41 am (UTC-4)
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FILE - Students arrive for class at Mahnomen Elementary School in Mahnomen, Minnesota. (Reuters)

FILE – Students arrive for class at Mahnomen Elementary School in Mahnomen, Minnesota. (Reuters)

Summertime fun is winding down and, ready or not, kids will have to go back to school in August. To help ease their transition, we sifted through some mobile apps that promise to keep school kids organized and safe.

If you’re having trouble getting out the door, let alone keeping up with school bus schedules, there are a few apps that can help. Google Now provides information about commute times, weather conditions and various events and schedules. You’ll have to give up some trust, though, because the app requires personal information and location data to function properly.

A similar app is Here Comes The Bus, which connects students and parents with their school’s GPS-equipped vehicles. The app provides information about arrivals and departures and lets parents track their children’s progress and whereabouts. Life360 is also a GPS Tracker that helps parents track their kids’ locations at all times and establish trusted circles to stay in touch.

Homework blues

In the classroom, there are plenty of apps to help students make sense of furiously-written notes that may or may not be legible three days later, if found at all.

Flashcards+, reviewed here, is a flashcard creator that helps students organize their notes, making it easy for them to find and remember study material.

Other options include Quizlet, SuperCard Flashcards and Studyblue. SuperCard Flashcards lets students quiz themselves and add notations for problems they need to study further. Studyblue is a crowdfunded learning platform that provides high school students with study material and other tools. Evernote supports several languages and helps organize student notes so that they can be easily retrieved when needed.

A screenshot from the MyHomework Student Planner app. (MyHomework)

A screenshot from the MyHomework Student Planner app. (MyHomework)

When it’s time for homework, MyHomework Student Planner keeps track of schedules and assignments and color-codes due dates. It can also send reminders of upcoming homework to students who sign up for an account. Students can also download study material to their device once they join a class and synchronize it for viewing on their Desktops or laptops.

While good old paper and pen – or keyboard – are probably the best way to approach homework, there are tasks that benefit from automation. Such is the case with bibliography citations. EasyBib makes sourcing easier by automatically tracking down and generating the citation for you. Users can either enter the title of the source material or scan its barcode to get the bibliography notes.

A word of caution: convenience comes at a price. Some of these apps are free. Some include in-app purchases. Others have tracking and data-gathering technologies that might be a concern for privacy-minded parents.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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