Using Apps to Enhance Online Learning: A Guide for Parents

Parents who recently enrolled their kids in online school share one common woe: They feel like they’re the ones who have been enrolled, instead of their kids. True enough, many elementary pupils face difficulty in using technology, since they weren’t likely taught how to use video conferencing software and Microsoft Office apps. They don’t likely know how to send and read emails either. As such, their parents are always by their side during classes.

But parents are having trouble navigating this new normal, too. Like their children, many of them are also experiencing remote video conferencing software for the first time. And on top of that, they have their jobs, which have turned into a work-from-home setup as well, to take care of every day.

Suffice to say, parents and children alike are struggling to cope with distance working and learning. But since we’re the ones our kids rely on, we have a duty to help them ease their difficulties. To do that, you can download some apps that will enhance your primary schooler’s online learning experience. Some of these apps may also help you lighten your work-from-home burden, so let’s walk through each of them.

1. Remind

Since parents are more involved in a child’s elementary education, parent-teacher conferences are a regular occurrence. The app “Remind” can help ensure attendance at those events. Teachers may also use it to communicate with their students in real time. It allows them to post announcements, initiate group chats, or message people privately. You may also share files and links, which is helpful in submitting your child’s homework and assignments.

Furthermore, Remind can translate messages into over 90 languages, helping parents who are non-native English speakers communicate with their child’s teachers effectively.

2. Flipgrid

Flipgrid is another app helpful in parent-teacher conferences and classroom discussions. Similar to Google Classrooms, students can join classrooms via a code. Teachers can then make posts, to which their students can respond with short videos. Likewise, if used in a parent-teacher conference, you may send out your responses or suggestions through a short video clip.

3. Evernote

Traditional notebooks and pens may not do well in note-taking during online classes. So instead, consider using Evernote or anything similar to do that task more smoothly. From being a simple to-do list app, Evernote has proven itself an indispensable tool during this period, allowing spoken words to be translated into texts, thanks to its “Dictate” feature. For teachers, the app is a great way to construct your next lesson before typing anything.

happy daughter and mother

4. FoxFi

A slow internet connection and poor WiFi signals are among the biggest obstacles to online classes. But thanks to apps like FoxFi, parents and online school teachers can use their smartphones as a WiFi hotspot. By downloading this app, your smartphone (preferably an Android one) will turn into a superb hotspot, giving stronger WiFi signals to your laptop and other mobile devices.

But this has one major catch: it drains your batteries rapidly. Thankfully, FoxFi has a USB connection available, which you can plug into your phone to avoid draining its batteries too fast. But it limits the mobile devices you can connect to the hotspot to just one, meaning you need to have another network source if your kid is using FoxFi for their online classes.

5. Classtree

Remind and Flipgrid may seem functional enough for parent-teacher communications, but both apps don’t allow consent forms to be sent and received. Hence, when teachers need your consent or approval for a certain activity, download Classtree to be able to submit your signed form. The app also optimizes the function of Remind, which is to notify you of upcoming events.

6. Epic Unlimited Books for Kids

If you want to give your kids more books but don’t have enough budget, Epic Unlimited Books for Kids is here to save you. It gives teachers in the U.S. and Canada free access to more than 15,000 kid-friendly books, from National Geographic Kids to popular fiction including the Goosebumps series. Non-educators, on the other hand, can have a 30-day free trial of the app, which should be enough to get your kids all the educational books they’d need.

7. Email Backup Software

If your kid’s teachers only use email to send out reminders and learning materials, it would be helpful to back up those emails using a Microsoft Office 365 email backup solution or anything similar. After all, even if you can recover an accidentally deleted email, it may still get lost to various circumstances like cybersecurity threats, human error, etc. Plus, backing up your emails is useful in your career. It’ll allow you to make an archive of all the documents you’ve sent and received.

By utilizing these helpful apps, your primary schooler’s online learning experience will be a lot more fun and methodical. They may still be a little confusing for a first-grader, but still, they are relatively easier to use than less-advanced computer programs.

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