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ISTE’s membership magazine, Learning & Leading with Technology (L&L), features practical ideas for using today's digital tools to improve learning and teaching and for appropriately integrating technology into classrooms, curricula and administration.

Issue: March/April 2014

Learning Connections: You Don't Need an iPad for These Web Apps!

Mar 4, 2013, 17:01 PM
By Juan Carlos Venegas
Apps are a great educational resource, but if you don’t have a tablet, smartphone, or iPod touch, you can’t really use them, right? Well, not exactly. You actually can access thousands of free and paid apps on your desktop, laptop, or netbook using Google Chrome.

Registered users can simply go to the Chrome Web Store and start searching for apps. Once you click on the apps you want to try, Google Chrome automatically places the icons on your homepage. If it turns out that you don’t like an app, right-click and select Remove.

One limitation of many of the free web apps offered through the Chrome Web Store is that some are not actually apps, but shortcut icons to the apps’ webpages. Some have in-game advertising that may not be suitable for young children. And some are littered with advertisement banners that create a distraction during game play.  

But despite those drawbacks, you can still find hundreds of apps to meet your students’ learning and productivity needs.

I’d like to recommend a few apps that are fun, educational, engaging, and appropriate for most young children. You do not need to use Chrome to access them, but it makes it easier for younger kids to find them with-out navigating through menus and toolbars.

Language Arts Apps
Here are a few apps that are good for bilingual and younger students:

Great Big Fancy Word Game. This app helps develop and enrich vocabulary.

Hangcards. This combination of the game hangman and flash cards aids vocabulary development.

In the Nick of Rhyme. Sesame Street’s Super Grover helps learners with rhymes in this app.

Math Apps
The following are a few math web apps that my students enjoy:

CarrotSticks. This online multiplayer game is designed to hone math skills (from www.carrotsticks.com).

Khan Academy. This site offers free video tutorials on subjects ranging from math and science to history and literature. Students can revisit material they stud-ied in class or learn new topics they are interested in at khanacademy.org.

Math Arcade Games. Shoot down attacking aliens with your knowledge of math facts (from www.imathgame.com).

Math Motorway. This multiplayer racing game from www.mathmotorway.com helps students practice math facts.

—Juan Carlos Venegas is an elementary gifted and talented bilingual and dual-language teacher in Houston, Texas, USA. He is the father of three tech-savvy children and is currently working on a master’s degree in instructional technology.


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