Apps: Some useful ideas

Written by: Andrew Morgan | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

There are an array of useful apps out there to help teachers with lessons and in school. Andrew Morgan lists some popular free apps, as recommended by teachers

With so many secondary school pupils now owners of a wide variety of technology, it is becoming more important than ever to bring technology into the classroom and use it to its full capacity. To give you a steer as to some of the apps you could use to enrich your teaching, we have rounded up the selection below.


If you are teaching students who seem to be surgically attached to their SmartPhones, this is a great app to consider. Schoology is an award-winning lesson management system, allowing you to assign homework and group work and for your students to work collaboratively, ask questions and submit final essays all within the app.

It is a great tool because it recognises the way in which students like to chat through social apps and provides them with a safe forum through which to do so. It also reduces the amount of paperwork that students need to carry around as it’s all stored in the app.


Slack Team Communication

In a busy school environment, keeping in touch with your colleagues can be difficult and that’s where Slack can help. This is a team communication app, allowing all users to keep up-to-date with latest news and share documents or files via either Google Drive or Dropbox. There’s also free instant messaging as well as a project management system.


Oxford Dictionary

A mainstay in every classroom for decades, the humble dictionary has now been turned into an app. It is a speedy way to clarify a spelling or find out the meaning of a word. It is designed in a fresh, modern style and it contains more than 350,000 words.



With more than 200,000 lessons available through this app, it is a must-have for teachers. You’ll know of TED from the world-renowned inspirational talks they hold on a huge variety of subjects, many of which will support your upcoming topics. This app brings it all together in one place and through the accompanying website TED-Ed you can access lessons which have been shared through the site, giving you some great material to use during your classes.

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Haiku Decks Presentations and Slideshows

Bored of PowerPoint presentations? Then this is the app for you. It allows you to create eye-catching presentations to capture your students’ attention. There are loads of images and formats to use so it is great for a bit of experimentation and to create something a bit different to talk through during your lesson.



Remind is an instant messaging app that has been designed specifically for teachers and their students. Its security measures mean that no phone numbers or personal details are shared, yet teachers can connect with their students, and their parents, in a simple and modern way. The reminder system reduces the risk of students forgetting items that they will need at school and allows them to chat to their teachers easily and securely whenever they might need.



When trying to explain a really complicated subject or topic, mind-maps are a popular option. The Mindmeister app is a simple and easy-to-use way to create clear and effective mind-maps in no time at all. It is also a collaborative app, meaning that groups of students can use it simultaneously to visualise and combine their ideas.



Edmodo is a great app for recording students’ achievements and feedback in a simple-to-understand system, which can be accessed by either the pupils themselves or their parents. Work can be assigned within the app, returned by the student and then marked by the teacher. Parental access also means that parents can feel much more clued in about the daily activities at the school.



Another great app for creating slideshows and presentations, Animoto is ideal for sharing pictures and has a huge song library if you want to add in some music too. All this is included within the free version of the app, but if you pay to upgrade, you will be able to include HD video in your slides too.



Planboard is one of the best lesson planning management apps. It is very clearly designed allowing for your curriculum plans to be organised via lesson and topic in a timetable. You can attach files or upload photos into the app.


  • Andrew Morgan is a founding director of Hardsoft Computers, a specialist computer rental company that provides equipment to schools. Visit

Further information

For more apps recommended by teachers, for teachers, visit the Hardsoft blog at


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