The Top 5 Apps for Educators in 2016

teaching-661748_1920Whether you lecture postgrads, tutor at high school or teach in kindergarten; educating our future doctors, lawyers and leaders is a really big deal. How students perform in education has a huge impact on their future and as digital natives they are increasingly using apps like AccelaStudy, Freedom and RefME to aid their studies.

With increasing support for technology in the classroom (Knighton and Hutchinson, 2016), recommending these apps is great practice to help your students make the most of their education. However, apps are not just for students: there are plenty out there that can help educators too. These are our top picks for 2016.  

There are many important factors that educators consider when trying to maximise positive learning outcomes for their students, one of which is engagement. Engagement is key to learning, we know that, but it stands to reason that the younger learners are more comfortable engaging with bite-sized chunks of information on a backlit smartphone screen, than they are with a standardised textbook.

Enter, Kahoot! – the interactive learning game that allows you to create and share your own in-class tests and get your students to take part via their tablets and smartphones. With this tool, testing students of all ages can be engaging, fun and even improve their memory recall from the session (Roediger and Karpicke, 2010). It can give you instant feedback on your students’ understanding of the concepts you’re teaching, whilst helping to identify students who need a little more assistance.

  • App: Kahoot!
  • App Type: Interactive learning games
  • Operating Systems: Android & Web
  • Price: Free

Now you’re able to engage the students with interactive quizzes but, as you know, getting them to retain this knowledge can take a lot of teaching time. Engaging the students in the concept introduction stage is another challenge entirely, but constantly reading around your topic is a great way to find great research, insights and real-life examples to share with and inspire students. There are innumerous great places to find this kind of information, and even more to read when you get there, but TED has established itself as the go-to platform for inspiring and eye-opening talks since it arrived online in 2006, and later to the smartphone in 2011.

Whether  you’re a music teacher wanting to explain classical music to a class of 14-year-olds, or a philosophy lecturer provoking your postgrad students to challenge what it means to be human – there’s likely a TED talk that can help you out.

  • App: TED
  • App Type: Inspiring Lectures & Talks
  • Operating Systems: iOS & Android
  • Price: Free

While you’re on the lookout for current sources to incorporate into this year’s syllabus, you’ll likely find a bunch of great material from all corners of the web. Reading all that material is hard to keep on top of, but what if you could use an app to utilise those moments when you’re on the train, plane or just don’t have access to the internet?

Pocket helps you do just that. Keeping track of articles, e-books and other online materials is simple with this fantastic web and mobile app (with a browser extension) that allows you to save any source so that you can view offline via mobile and tablet. Having access to these sources offline means you can keep reading around your topic in airplane/flight mode on the go – saving you data and battery power to use on Kahoot!

  • App: Pocket
  • App Type: Web content reader
  • Operating Systems: iOS & Android
  • Price: Free

So, you’ve taught your students all of the syllabus with engaging tests that incorporate insights from the brightest and most cutting-edge sources around the web and sent them off for the study break before their exams. You’ve done all you can, right…?

Not quite…

StudyBlue is an app that allows you to help them get started with their exam prep by creating customized flashcard sets, quizzes and study packs and sharing them with your class. This way you can provide a logical and structured process for your students to make sure their studies stay on track and lead to successful exam results. Magic!

  • App: StudyBlue
  • App Type: Flashcards
  • Operating Systems: iOS & Android
  • Price: Free (premium version available)

So, what about homework and coursework?

That’s where RefME comes in!

Ranking at No.18 in the Best iPhone Apps of 2015 (US), RefME has become a student favourite and has been hailed as a ‘life saver’ by many on Twitter and in app reviews (TheCakeyShoe, 2016).

But it’s not just for students: RefME not only allows you to share reading lists with your class via the share function, but it also provides you with a tonne of great Educator resources, from videos to help teach referencing, to interactive training on how to support your students using the app. For your own research and referencing needs, RefME will do for you, exactly what it does for students.

  • App: RefME
  • App Type: Automated references and citations
  • Operating Systems: iOS & Android
  • Price: Free

Select your local site to start creating citations with RefME: UK | US | Worldwide


  • Eadicicco, L. (2015) Apple’s 25 best iPhone Apps of the year. Available at: (Accessed: 19 January 2016).
  • Knighton, D. and Hutchinson, J. (2016) Global Study from Canvas Ranks Teachers’ Concerns and Attitudes on Technology in the Classroom. Available at:–y00xYRT5OH0MfqRVQCFnRD8MfehFCUd5O7To6pE2c88Tg7tpeJxg0–XTfIiHvVnCGYBS0g50j0qo-uprW-daGrIgfQ&_hsmi=25954835 (Accessed: 9 February 2016).
  • Roediger, H.L. and Karpicke, J.D. (2010) ‘Science perspectives on psychological the power of testing memory: Basic research and implications for educational practice’, . doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6916.2006.00012.x.
  • TheCakeyShoe (2016) ‘Wish this could be 10 stars’. Review of RefME by AppTweak.
  • Twitter (2016) Search ‘RefME Life Saver’. Available at: (Accessed: 9 February 2016).
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