The Kindle Fire can be a powerful tool in the classroom and out, for students and educators alike. The capability of a laptop in an easy to hold and read tablet form makes the Kindle Fire one of the best options as a teaching aid.
There are dozens of terrific apps designed to help advance learning. Imagine a future when handheld devices like the Kindle Fire are in every classroom – the day might not be so far off as you think! From handy e-reader to valuable teaching aid, the Kindle Fire is your all-in-one tool for school!
Kindle Fire For Educators
You can use your Kindle Fire as a handy lesson planner, to take attendance, and to communicate with other teachers, teachers’ aides, administrative staff and tech support. Adding apps to your Kindle Fire makes all of this possible, and here are some of the best apps out there for the busy teacher.
5 Best Practical Apps for Teachers
- Exchange by Touchdown is the best app for full support in the Microsoft Exchange environment. If you want to keep track of your Exchange email, including Contacts, Calendars, Tasks, and Notes, this Kindle Fire app from Amazon is a must have.
- PG Calculator Free from Amazon is easy to use and looks like a real calculator. It allows you to quickly do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; power and roots; trigonometric functions including sin, cos, tan, asin, acos, and atan; hyperbolic and factorials functions; and natural and decimal logarithms.
- StopWatch is another great free app from Amazon; features include stopwatch and timer, volume control, and shake to start (with accompanying starting pistol sound effect). Great for tests, timed activities, etc.
- Evernote is a wildly popular note-taking app. The Kindle Fire app version of Evernote includes advanced formatting features such as the ability to bullet and number text, or boldface, italicize, and underline text (basically making Evernote a basic word processor). In addition to typing information into an Evernote app, you can add attachments to the note, including sound files and pictures. As a bonus, Skitch, the companion whiteboard app to Evernote, lets you sketch out a map, diagram, or anything you want, save it with Evernote, and then sync with your PC or laptop at home for review later. Both are free from Amazon.
- Easy Slide Grader features decimal percentages; calculates up to 999 questions; lets you choose Correct or Missed; has an easy to read interface to eliminate excessive double checking; and includes a Grade Scale option. It’s the perfect tool to speed up the end of the day!
Kindle Fire for the Classroom
In addition to practical apps for teachers, there are dozens of terrific physical teaching apps that cover grade levels from elementary to middle and high school. For schools with a decent technology budget, the lower cost Kindle Fire is a great alternative to expensive and bulky student laptops or the pricey iPad. Teachers can share information quickly if all students have the same app, and teaching can be fluid.
5 Best Free Teaching Apps for the Classroom
- History: This Day in History provides a quick overview of what happened “today” in history across 9 categories, and includes search, share, and copy features.
- Social Studies: 50 Statesfeatures a map, total population, capital, state bird and flower, largest city and population for each state. It also includes a full clickable map, making it easy to locate and identify a state. Users can take quizzes, search for a specific state, or browse through an alphabetical list.
- Science: Periodic Tablefocuses on the elements. Users can access chemical and physical properties for each element and get help with pronunciation with audio clips. They can find elements by browsing the table, searching, or using the index, and take quizzes.
- Math: Fun Math Tricks Litefeatures 10 different mathematical tricks in an easy-to-use interface with clear explanations and practice problems. (A paid version includes 15 more tricks.) This is an excellent math tool for busy classrooms!
- Language Arts: PowerVocab includes word search, a spelling game, several kinds of quizzes and pronunciation help. Terrific for quickly boosting vocabulary at any age level.
Kindle Fire for Students
Students respond well (especially at lower grades) to classroom apps. High school and college students use devices differently. A survey this spring by the National Association of College Stores found that 15% reported owning an e-reader, up from 8% in October 2010. The survey also found that those who read digital materials were using dedicated e-readers over their laptops.
Many students say they haven’t made the move from print to digital textbooks due to limited cost savings and the difficulty in taking notes or sharing books, but that may be about to change. Amazon has entered the digital textbook market, unveiling its Kindle Textbook Rental program this summer, and is pursuing a joint effort with Overdrive to enable library lending.
Whatever happens in the textbook market, educational apps can be an invaluable way to encourage studying among students.
5 Best Studying Apps for Students
- SAT is a flashcard review app for the SAT Reasoning Test with over 6,000 detailed flashcards to help students prepare. Developed by experienced SAT Reasoning experts, this app provides a comprehensive review that covers every subject needed to pass the exam. $1 on Amazon.
- ACT flashcards help students prepare for ACT exam with matching, memorization and quiz activities. Powered by super-flashcard with a built-in spaced repetition scheme that shows ACT flashcards just before short-term memory forgets them, this app is ideal for cram sessions. Free from Amazon.
- Ultimate Math Skills includes timer and multiple choice questions and covers algebra, geometry, fractions, decimals, percentages, multiplication, division, ratios, powers, roots and approximation. Questions range from basic to advanced. $2.99 from Amazon.
- Sentence Completion tests students’ ability to use the information found in complex but incomplete sentences in order to correctly complete the sentences. This app tests two separate aspects of verbal skills: vocabulary and ability to follow the internal logic of sentences. Free app/bookmark from Amazon makes navigating to practice questions easy.
- Speed Reading Tutor uses the fundamentals of meta-guiding and viewing exercises to train students’ eyes to process text more quickly. A diagnostic tool is included to check progress, and a small selection of public domain works is provided. The average adult reads at about 250 words per minutes with a 70% comprehension rate. This can be doubled in as little as two weeks of use. Free from Amazon – ad-free paid version also available.
3 Must-Have Kindle Fire Accessories
Using Kindle Fire in educational settings just wouldn’t be complete without a few accessories to enhance the experience even more.
- ReaderDock F-Station is a multi-angle docking station that recharges the battery while docked and has amplified speakers for superior sound quality. Educators and student can use the Kindle Fire hands-free during lessons and recharge the battery while in use so lessons won’t be cut shortt.
- With the Skiva Capacitive Stylus, students can ‘write’ directly on the Kindle Fire with accuracy and the soft and durable tip won’t scratch the touchscreen.
- The rooCase Executive Portfolio is a well-designed leather carrying case with a built-in stand for Kindle Fire. It comes in several colors, holds pens, business cards and papers, and has a zippered enclosure.
Want to know how to get more out of your Kindle Fire in the educational world? Check out these videos for cool tips and products.
Using Overdrive to Borrow Books and Audiobooks from the Library
Using the Slide Grader Grading App