What Can My Students Do with That Phone?

“…the thing is ‘mobile sets Learning Free’ and we can now learn virtually anything, anywhere and anytime and that’s amazing.”
RJ Jacquez

This blog post is going to different from my others. Instead of a deep dive into a topic, this will be a list of apps that might be of use to faculty and students in distance education. I will focus on apps for the mobile phone, likely tablets as well. In my last blog, I mentioned that if a faculty member wants to use apps with mobile technology, they need to pick things that all their students can use. With that in mind, I will only be talking about apps that are free and will work on both iOS and Android.


Students may not be in the classroom, but writing will go on.  These first two might seem a little dull, but remember, it never hurts to be prepared.



While it is easy to look up the definition and alternative words, these two apps give students direct access.  These apps could be especially useful for international students that might currently find themselves without access to their support infrastructure.  Even if English is your primary language, sometimes, we can all use a little help in finding that perfect word.


It is a document collection and organization tool. It is also a bibliography creations tool. In addition to being usable on iOS and Android, you can use it on your laptop or desktop.


EasyBib is also a bibliography tool; the advantage of EasyBib is that it will create the bibliographic reference using your phone’s camera to scan the book’s bar code.  The disadvantage is that the free version will only produce citations in the MLA format.

Google Docs

While many may find it challenging to write a full document on a mobile device, you never know when inspiration will strike. Also, a section on writing would not be complete without a way to write a full document. The google docs apps allow access and editing to records at any time from any location.

Recording Audio and Video

A lot of classes require presentations, speeches, or performances. The default for a lot of faculty will be services like skype or your school’s video conferencing platform. However, it might be necessary to do asynchronous audio or video communication. Asynchronous audio or video communication requires the recording of a file that can be uploaded. Most phones have built-in audio and video recording options. I have included a couple of additional apps in case the built-in options don’t work for some reason.

Rev Audio and Voice Recorder

Rev audio is a fully functioned audio recording device.  Not only can you record audio, but you can share the audio files using lots of different methods. You may see reviews mentions that there is a fee associated with rev audio. That fee is not for any of the voice recording and file-sharing functions. Rev audio offers a transcription service where you can submit your files, and a transcriber will type them up and send you the document.

Horizon Camera

It was particularly hard to find video recording software as most video recorders are customized for Android, iOS, or have a fee associated with them.  Horizon camera offers full video recording options. In this case, it has an especially useful function of being able to record in several different sizes.

Recording Studio Lite

Recording studio lite is an audio recording app specifically for music.  Not only can you record and work with audio files, but you can also create additional tracks with virtual instruments.


Learning and examinations will go on studying must continue.  These apps can help the user study any were any time.


A flashcard creation and review app.

Studyblue is another flashcard app, allowing the creations of flashcards for study and practice. Users have the option to create their flashcards or use and modify existing ones.

Khan Academy

Everyone likely knows about the Khan Academy and their massive selection of educational videos.  While it is easy to access through the web, the khan Academy app gives students the ability to bypass a web browser and if their device supports it the ability to download and view videos without a live web connection.


The edX app gives uses access to full free (noncredit) college courses. Students can use edX courses as study adds or to provide background information on course topics. Some of the classes cost money, but many are free if you are not trying to get a certificate.

Periodic Table App

The Royal Society of Chemistry developed the periodic table app. It is much more than just a period table. It provides asses to lots of information and video content.


Do you use student response systems as part of your lectures? Kahoot lets you create questions that students can respond to using the app on their phone. If you are doing synchronizes lectures or discussions using a video conferencing system, you can use Kahoot to administer poles and questions.

As we move deeper into the grand experiment in sudden distance education information will become even more critical. In this blog I have focused exclusively on free apps there is another category of apps that are free for students but cost schools/instructors. If you have mobile apps that have helped you teach or connect with your students, share them.

Thanks for Listing to My Musings
The Teaching Cyborg

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