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CDETB Curriculum Development Unit | App of the week – reviews 2017/2018
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Enjoy the summer! Back in the new school year!


Friday, 22nd June 2018



Free Audio Books

Being able to access audio books on the go is one of the main attractions of handheld devices. Many collections contain hundreds of titles.

The “Free Audio Books” app is one of them and has a good selection of mainly classics, but also some recent books. Download it and start browsing. Genres include children’s books, drama, travel, foreign language titles, and non-fiction. You can either download the recording or play it straightaway. I tried a book by “LibriVox”, who stated that all of the books they had published were in the public domain. The speakers (all volunteers) were introduced at the beginning of the recording. They seemed to be predominantly American.

You can see how long a recording is, and can skip forward and backward by 30 seconds during the playback. Reviews by other listeners are hidden behind the “star” sign on the right hand bottom corner. There is a feature for speeding up the recording and you can also set a timer if you want to listen for only a set period of time.

Could be used: for your own entertainment or to entice reluctant readers to engage with a book.

What I liked about it: easy to use.

Watch out for: a big ad banner on the top menu entices you to sign up for a paid service. Not all of the books might be appropriate for an underage audience.

Available from the Apple App Store. There are many more available for Android as well.



Friday, 15th June 2018



Quizup – Quizzes to test your knowledge


Want to keep the little grey cells working over the holidays? Sign up (with your Facebook or Gmail account) to Quizup, a hub for quizzes and games.

You need to pick some topics of interest to you: ranging from general knowledge topics to specific TV series or bands, food, sports, celebrities, etc. You will then receive live challenges from other players, which you can accept or dismiss. If you have friends signed up, you can challenge them to a match. When you play against others, you might win titles which you can share with the world. Some of the same questions come up, however, so it’s easy to be quick.

I tried the general knowledge one against opponents from other countries, but wasn’t sure if I was playing against a real person, although some of them had uploaded pictures. There is also a “chat” function, but haven’t tried this out.
When you’re finished you can check your answers against the right answers. There is also the option to play on your own, which might be helpful when you want to try out a new quiz.

Could be used: for entertainment that has an educational edge to it. Also just for fun! “Missing letters” could be interesting to people working on their spelling.

What I liked about it: very straightforward. A lot of different areas of trivia should keep you occupied for hours.

Watch out for: a lot of ads are displayed on the top, which you need to ignore. Also, there are incentives to buy more gems (points) and other apps at the end of quizzes, so beware.

Available from the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

More info here: https://www.quizup.com/en



Friday, 8th June 2018


Photomath – Camera Calculator

“Photomath is a camera calculator app that allows you to simply scan and solve mathematical equations. Photomath app is supported on Android and iOS. It is a wonderful app that makes calculation a lot simpler, easier and fun! If you are scared of mathematical calculation, then this app is for you.” Now, that is some claim. I downloaded it and was blown away!

A few slides at the start explain the main features. You need to allow the app to access the camera on your device to let it scan. You then just point your camera at the text and hover over the calculation. There is even a small pop-up screen explaining how to do that. I scribbled down an easy equation and it could read my (admittedly appalling) handwriting! That was very impressive. You can also edit that written information by pressing the ‘edit’ button in the main menu on the top in case of errors. The ‘solution’ explains your equation further by breaking it down into easy steps. You can even check your own history using the ‘notebook’ function.

I put it to the test further by finding examples online of complicated logarithms and derivatives, pointed the camera at it and had the solution within a second. Now, where was that when I was in school?

Could be used for: Maths lessons and everyday life alike. Possibly not during Junior cert or Leaving cert exams…

What I liked about it: It really is so simple. And no need for a sign in.

Watch out for: you might become lazy. And it does not replace maths lessons.

Available from the Apple App Store and for Android.

More info here: https://photomath.vip/


Friday, 1st June 2018


Edpuzzle – video tool


Students spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos. Why not use this enthusiasm for formative assessment? Edpuzzle is a student-centred interactive tool.

Sign up for a free teacher account on https://edpuzzle.com/. The system will ask you for your school name and the subject area you are interested in. A tutorial guides you throughout. You can pick a free video (taken from public platforms, such as YouTube and the Khan Academy) and “trim it, add your voiceover, insert audio notes or embed questions”. There are short instructional videos embedded for each step and very easy to follow. Quizzes can be open-ended or multiple choice. You can also add comments and hyperlinks. When you are finished you need to add a class name. It is up to you to prevent skipping through the video and to assign a due date. You can then send invitations to your students to join this class.

Edpuzzle offers three different options to see student’s progress and answers: you can track the ‘Entire Classroom Progress’, individual students or how students’ have answered each question.

Could be used for: a flipped classroom or in order to engage students with online material.

What I liked about it: the teacher support site is very comprehensive.

Watch out for: there are incentives to get you to sign up to the paid version: “The Gradebook is only available for teachers who get upgraded by their school, but you can get it for free by helping us spread the word.”

Available from the Apple App Store, for Android, online and as YouTube extension. The apps are only available to students.

More info here: https://edpuzzle.com/



Friday, 25th May 2018


Nearpod – lesson creation tool



Nearpod lets you synchronise your lessons across all types of devices used in your classroom.

Signing up is quick. The “home” menu gives you access to: your own library of lessons; an option to explore those created by others or to join a specific one and also the space to design a new lesson and reports on already taught ones, where you can assess your students’ learning.

I chose to check out other people’s lessons – you can browse by, e.g., subject, publisher or events. There is a huge amount of material already published which should inspire you.

When you start on your first own presentation, you will notice that you can upload any type of file (e.g. pdfs, pictures, PowerPoint presentations) or take pictures with your camera. You can also search the Internet using Google Safe Search. When you use other people’s work, it is good practice to ask for permission first. Adding slides is simple. Nearpod explains the process as you go along. You can add not only content, but also activities to your presentation, which includes formative assignment tools, such as quizzes, polls, “fill in the blanks” exercises and memory tests. Some of these are only available in the paid version.

Nearpod is a self-explanatory gadget. If you miss a step, it will remind you of the things you need to fill in.

Could be used for: creating online lessons that incorporate fun ways of real-time assessment. Students of all ages and abilities should enjoy them.

What I liked about it: lessons can be shared easily and the reports will give you some feedback mechanism.

Watch out for: many lessons are behind a paywall. You might want to upgrade to a different package: https://nearpod.com/pricing

Available from the Apple App Store, on Google Play and online.

More info here: https://nearpod.com/



Friday, 18th May 2018


Hopscotch – coding for kids



Hopscotch is a coding tool for children aged 8 and older. You can create your own game – and it is really easy!

You need to state if you are a teacher or a parent and enter your birth year for verification purposes. You then need to provide your email. Tutorial videos show you how to build a game. I chose “make crossy road”, a simple game about chicken crossing the road. This step-by-step guide is really helpful. You can practise as you go along – the tutorial is displayed on one hand side, you tap along on the other.

You need no background in coding as you just need to click on the command fields displayed, e.g. if you want an object to jump whenever the screen is touched, you just select these commands. When you are happy with your final product, you can publish it.

Could be used for: students who love coding or would like to try it out. They might also have signed up with CoderDojo.

What I liked about it: easy. The tutorials are perfect for complete beginners. Students might need some help initially (e.g. change screen size).

Watch out for: the verification process is slightly flawed – a child could easily access the “educator’s area”, but they can only get access to free lesson plans.

Available from the Apple App Store and online (for educators).

More info here: https://www.gethopscotch.com/


Friday, 11th May 2018

Educreations – design your lessons

Educreations is a creative tool for developing lessons which can be shared online.

Simply download the app and open it. Your IPad will act as an interactive whiteboard, which means you can draw or write (with your finger) in different colours as you would on an actual blackboard.

Choose between different types of backgrounds: coordinate grid or plain white, lined or graph paper.

If you want to change anything, just use the rubber symbol in the top menu. You can now erase your lines by simply wiping them. Click on the little arrow in the bottom right corner to open the next slide.

The basic version also includes letters as well as the use of photos and pictures.

Record your thoughts and create an audio. For this you need to give the app access to your microphone, but that is done easily in a few steps.

You need to upgrade to the pro classroom edition if you wish to add videos, documents, maps, and the like.

When you’re happy with your draft, save it (icon in the left upper corner). Click on the arrow on the left and playback your lesson – the speed can be changed by clicking on the speed dial icon in the right bottom corner. You can also trim your recording.

Share your creation with your class or other teachers by logging into Educreations. Select “teacher” or “student”. You can use your Gmail or Facebook account or sign up with any other email.

It also allows you to synch drafts – start a lesson on one iPad and continue on another.

Could be used for: creating fun lessons you could put up on YouTube. Your students could also create short teaching sessions for other students.

What I liked about it: very easy to use. You’ll have a simple video in a few minutes. Find inspiration by looking at other people’s lessons (“featured lessons”, which is the star sign on the main menu).

Watch out for: it’s probably a good idea to sign up for the pro version in order to create more interesting lessons, but you need to pay for that.

Available from the Apple App Store and online.

More info here: https://www.educreations.com/login/


Friday, 27th April 2018



Keep Appy – mental wellness app



This App was developed by ‘Team Keep Appy’, from Trinity College Dublin Enactus, and is “… a mental well being app to promote positive mental health. We want to destigmatise mental health problems.”

Sign up with your email. Every time you log, in the app asks you questions about your current status (e.g. general mood, stress levels etc.). The main screen then displays an ‘article of the day’ (could be a YouTube video). You can then start with a new challenge – this could be “spend time on a hobby this week” or “talk to a stranger”. Every time you finish this task, you can tick the bar and get a “nice job!” reward.

You can set the datasets you’d like to compare, e.g. your mood or activity levels. This allows you to check your progress over time. The “diary” is basically a blog to yourself. You can record your feelings, ideas and general observations. Additionally, you can set yourself a goal, something you’re trying to accomplish.

There are links to ‘NiteLine’ and the Samaritans if you want to talk to someone.

Could be used for: getting young people to think about their mental health and general well-being.

What I liked about it: it is like a personal diary with the added benefit of displaying your progress in a graphic. This might be attractive to young people who use gym apps to check on their physical health.

Watch out for: it is easy to cheat, so really only helpful if you are honest with yourself. And it does not replace talking to a family member, friend or teacher.

Available from the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

More info here: https://www.facebook.com/keepappy and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7B66dxV8wM




Friday, 20th April 2018


Teach Learn Lead – professional learning community for new teachers




Creating an account is simple – you can also use your LinkedIn or Facebook identity. If you allow the app to store your location, you can look for members near you and can connect with them. You can add topics that are of interest to you, e.g. ‘education technology’ or ‘new approaches to curriculum’.
There are four different parts to this app, which you can access through the icon in the right hand corner: ‘posts’, ‘articles’, ‘topics’ and ‘members’.

Posts are short messages to all members ranging from requests to surveys. Teachers post links to articles they have found on the Internet. ‘Topics’ list your selection of categories that you follow.

There doesn’t seem a lot of activity within this community with only some posts attracting multiple replies and comments. One strength, however, is the international spread of teachers, so if you had a specific query there is a good chance that someone in another country could help.

Could be used for: helping new teachers build up a community of practice. Finding out about other people’s approaches to everyday classroom problems might enhance your teaching.

What I liked about it: it is easy to use. You can just follow topics and people without having to reveal much about yourself, which might suit teachers at the beginning of their career.

Watch out for: no substitution for the real thing. Check out our CPD calendar for opportunities to meet other CDETB teachers.

Available from the Apple App Store and on Google Play.




Friday, 13th April 2018


Fit Brains – train your brain



Fit Brains was developed by a brain health expert: “Numerous studies have shown that certain brain activities can help maintain key cognitive functions.”

Enrolling in it entails a ‘brain training calibration’ – an activity designed to personalise this training programme. You can select the area you are most interested in improving, e.g. “concentration” or “visual spatial”.  The app then asks for your level of education and why you have signed up. You then need to supply your email address, a password, your age and gender. You are signed up for a free 5 day trial.

Several games are then provided with short instructions of what to expect: Visual spatial awareness, Mahjong Match (memory), speed sort (processing speed), matching pairs (focus – visual processing), and language aquisition, where you are given an English word and you need to match it with a word from another language.

At the end of each activity your score will be compared with that of others (or so the authors claim) and your percentile rank displayed. You also learn your reaction time, how many you got right and your level of accuracy. If you do particularly well in the beginner’s category, the intermediate level will be unlocked. Upon completion, the next game starts. The ‘games’ tap at the bottom of the page contains more quizzes. By bettering your score you can go onto the next level. There are more activities, of course, available in the paid version.

Could be used for: unexpected “extra” teaching time. Students will find it stimulating and fun. You could even introduce a bit of competition by marking who did best in each game.

What I liked about it: these short exercises don’t take up much time. There is even an emotional intelligence test, which students might respond well to.

Watch out for: ads for the premium upgrade, which are placed just before the final results page. You could quickly end up signing up for the paid version.

Available from the Apple App Store, on Google Play and online.

More info here: http://www.fitbrains.com/


Friday, 6th April 2018

Duolingo – learn a new language

Duolingo provides a fun way of learning another language. Short quizzes and games help you scaffold what you have learned in the last slides and enable you to  build short sentences within minutes.

Download it and get started. Choose a language and select a goal of how much time you would like to spend on this – ranging from 5 minutes to 20 minutes a day. Choose between “beginner” and “not a beginner”. The second option will offer you a placement test to test your ability.

I tried German as a beginner. You are given 4 pictures with words underneath and you have to select which one you think depicts the word given in English. The word you pick will be read to you, so you hear its proper pronunciation. Wrong answers are being sweetened by encouraging messages, which I found really motivating. Yellow words are new ones and you can tap them to reveal their meaning. Upon completion of the daily task you’ll get a congratulatory fanfare:)

Could be used for: all types of language learners. It’s intuitive to use. For teachers there are additional benefits: “Once you create a classroom with your Duolingo account, you will be able to track other Duolingo accounts, following their language learning progress and assign tasks for groups of Duolingo users (classrooms).”

What I liked about it: you don’t need an email address to sign up. You can add your profile, but the app works without that unless you want to save your progress.

Watch out for: advertisements for apps that pop up from time to time. This might be disruptive in a classroom setting.

Available from the Apple App Store, on Google Play, for Windows Phone and online.

More info here: https://schools.duolingo.com/ and https://www.duolingo.com/


Friday, 30th March 2018










Friday, 23rd March 2018


Dublin City Libraries – Mobile App




This is a complementary app to the one reviewed on 29th January 2018, but it really warrants another look. Dublin City Libraries and Archives have created a great app for their users (and still-to-be-persuaded users). Download the app quickly. No email needed. If you already have a library account, you can check your borrowings and orders online as well as access e-books, eMagazines and eResources. All libraries and their contact information, opening hours and locations (including maps and directions) are listed in the “find a library” category. Social media channels are also advertised. “Events” brings you to their calendar on their website.


The one feature I was really impressed by was the “search our catalogue” link. You can search for a keyword or title, the traditional way. But there is an exciting additional search option. If you come across a book or CD in a shop, just scan the barcode with your device by pointing the camera at it. You get information which branch library currently holds a copy and can reserve it immediately.

Could be used for: getting your students to explore their local public library.

What I liked about it: very easy to use. It surely entices non-users of the library service to sign up.

Watch out for: you get more use out of it if you sign up as a library patron.


Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

More info here: http://www.dublincity.ie/story/new-library-mobile-app?language=en


Friday, 16th March 2018


Edkimo – student feedback app

Edkimo was designed by a German team. They claim: “Edkimo is a simple and hands-on way to ask your questions and receive valuable feedback from your students; in real-time. Edkimo gives students a voice. As a teacher you can see learning through the eyes of your students. Discussing the results improves student engagement and the quality of teaching and learning.”

Signing up through their website is straightforward, but, unfortunately, you’ll have to look for “other countries” to put in “Ireland”. Instructions are in both English and German, but some of the pop up messages (“Vorlage gespeichert”, which means your draft has been saved) only in German…

Creating a template is easy – just click into a field and fill it in. You can choose between multiple choice, single choice, open answer, 4-point questions (agree and frequency). Save it. Once you create a new survey, a feedback code for the group appears on the screen. This is the code your students will have to use once they have downloaded the app. More than one participant can use one device at the same time, so not all students need a smart phone or tablet.
There is no “right” or “wrong” feedback for students. This is really only to gauge how many of your students have understood a concept. The results only show how many participants have chosen a given answer. You can also create a QR code to send to your students or add to a website, for example. The free version is probably adequate for most educational settings.

Could be used for: quick assessment of students’ understanding. A variety of questions can check what is unclear in real time.

What I liked about it: feedback is anonymous. It works for all kinds of learners, adult and children alike. You don’t need a log in as a student.

Watch out for: apparently it is only free to the first teacher to sign up from any given school. You might use your personal email account to get around this.

Available from the Apple App Store, on Google Play and online.

More info here: https://edkimo.com


Friday, 9th March 2018

Trello – project management system


Trello helps you manage projects as well as your own personal task lists. You need to sign up first – use any kind of email address. The free version gives you “unlimited boards, lists, cards, members, checklists, and attachments”, plus one so-called “power up”, which is basically another application. I chose the calendar function, which is pre-installed.

Trello offers a short introduction on how to use the app. You can create “boards” or “lists”. Boards stack “cards” which reminded me of the paper cards I used when I was a student. But, this being an online version, they allow many more functions: you can attach files to them, give tasks a due date, label them or add members. Collaborators can be invited by using the “invite members” function. Once they are on board, you can drag their logo/head to the task assigned.

Label colours can be changed quickly – e.g. if you respond to urgent tasks better by giving them blue labels instead of red. When you’re done, you can archive the board. You can search cards by applying filters, such as “due” or “label”, a handy way of keeping an overview as your projects grow. The “activity” function shows you who did what and when.

Could be used for: planning a class activity involving several pupils, e.g. a project for “Make-A-Book” or “Young Scientist”.

What I liked about it: The “stuff to try” board is self explanatory. By following the instructions you can create your first own board within minutes.

Watch out for: the need for a moderator. Some student groups might need a bit of overview from a teacher.

Available from the Apple App Store, on Google Play and online.

More info here: https://help.trello.com/




Friday, 2nd March 2018










Friday, 23rd February 2018


Canva – Design Editor


Canvas is a handy tool for creating quick graphics and presentations for social media, flyers, posters and collages. It has thousands of templates, most of them for free.

You need to sign up with your Gmail or Facebook account. A quick and easy-to-follow tutorial gives you the basics to get you started, e.g. how to drag objects around and change the colour of the background. It then proceeds to show you how to do your own design. Download your finished product as an image (if you want to do more work on it later) or as pdf file. Or else email it to Facebook or Twitter. You can upload your own pictures and photos.

Could be used for: any kind of presentation a student has to do. The “drag and drop” function makes it fun to use.

What I liked about it: Very intuitive design. Within minutes you can create a professionally designed piece of art.

Watch out for: Students will need Gmail or Facebook accounts, which might be against the policy in your school.

Available from the Apple App Store and on the web.

More info here: https://www.canva.com/


Friday, 16th February 2018

Mendely – reference management tool

Mendeley is a reference management tool which will help you with big research projects and piles of casual reading material alike. Signing up is easy. Any kind of electronic document can be loaded into this app with the Web Importer plugin- just drag and drop. Create your own library by adding new folders containing articles you have read.

You can highlight text and tag articles using your own keywords. Being able to annotate text is another great feature. From their website: “Easily add your thoughts on documents in your own library, even from mobile devices. For ease of collaboration, you can also share documents with groups of colleagues and annotate them together.”

The “feed” suggests other articles you might find useful based on what you have already in your library.

For full functionality, however, you need to download the desktop version and its citation plugin. This will allow you to cite the documents you have read as you type away in Microsoft Office or LibreOffice (open access writing tool).

Could be used for: creating bibliographies with your class or for your own research project. Just to have one space where you keep all documents related to a specific topic.

What I liked about it: the fact that you can read and add your own notes to pdfs, and that you get all citation details of that document by just importing it into your library.

Watch out for: all of these technologies might encourage plagiarism, so a lesson on how to use other people’s ideas and cite them correctly might be needed. Also, you might not have access to individual articles, so going open access might be your best bet: https://doaj.org/subjects

Available on Google Play, from the Apple App Store and online for your desktop. You can use it across platforms: use it on the go with the app and read up on it later on your PC.

More info here: https://www.mendeley.com

A very comprehensive comparison of reference managers can be found here: http://www.docear.org/2014/01/15/comprehensive-comparison-of-reference-managers-mendeley-vs-zotero-vs-docear/


Friday, 9th February 2018




“Quickly assess students with prepared activities or on-the-fly questions to get immediate insight into student understanding. Then use auto-populated results to determine the best instructional approach to most effectively drive learning.” You and your students need to sign up first, but that is straightforward. The company also has a very comprehensive help page.

The free version allows you to set up quizzes for up to 50 students per session, which should cover most post-primary and further education settings.

Setting up a new quiz is easy. Give it a title and choose what kind of questions you’d like to ask: “multiple choice”, “true/false”, “short answer” or any combination of them. I tried the “multiple choice” option. You can add a photo or other picture if your question needs a visual clue. Fill in the answer choices – you need to indicate which ones are correct. Delete or add more options. You can also give your students more clues using the “explanation” box.  You can safe and exit your quiz at any stage and come back to it.

When you’re ready to go, launch the quiz. You can choose delivery methods and settings, e.g. “instant feedback”, “open navigation” or “teacher paced”. Reports for individual students, the whole class or for specific questions can then be emailed or downloaded.


Could be used for: quick formative assessments. All types of learners will find this an attractive app. You can even add a bit of competition with the “space race” option, where students race their little rockets across the screen with each correct answer.

What I liked about it: A very clean interface which makes it easy to manoeuvre around.

Watch out for: Your students might need help with downloading the app. They will need email accounts.


Available on Google Play, the Apple App Store and Chrome Web Store. It also works on computers and laptops, if smart phones are not available.

More info here: https://www.socrative.com/ and here: https://www.masteryconnect.com/features.html?utm_source=web&utm_medium=socrative&utm_campaign=socrative


Friday, 2nd February 2018

Buncee – a presentation tool

“A creation and presentation tool for students and educators to create interactive classroom content, allowing learners of all ages to visualize concepts and communicate creatively.” Sign up for free with your email – there are also priced versions. Watch a video for an easy introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=osUKfRPRWT4

For inspiration have a look at the “staff picks” site.

This is quite an intuitive tool. Choose between “add a background” (like a desktop background) and “add an item”, which can be anything from text and drawings to animation, photo, YouTube videos and stickers. Buncree have a big library of images and the like, but you can also use resources from the Internet.

Create one slide or a whole presentation. You can time your slides and even put them on a loop.

Could be used for: fun content creation with students of any age. The animations in particular are quite sophisticated. Some teachers have also developed assessment tools: https://www.edu.buncee.com/schools-features

What I liked about it: Much more dynamic than e.g. PowerPoint. You can quickly create presentations and videos.

Watch out for: As always, be careful with copyrighted material taken from the Internet.


Available from the Apple App Store.

More info here: https://app.edu.buncee.com/schools


Friday, 26th January 2018



RBdigital – online magazines and books


This is a fabulous resource courtesy of your local public library! Sign up for free with your (free) library membership account. Go to https://www.rbdigital.com/lgma/service/magazines/landing? and create an account. You need to select your home library. Download the app and select “Ireland”.

You can then take your pick. If a magazine is currently checked out, a small pop up message will appear. You can tick a box, and you’ll get an email when the next issue is available. You could also try a different issue of the same magazine.

They have a wide variety of magazines: computer & technology to arts & craft to, yes, even “Hello” magazine! Short abstracts will give you a flavour what the journal is about. You can search for specific titles, genres and languages.

Could be used for: in the classroom to encourage reading, particularly reluctant readers.

What I liked about it: I tried a few different magazines and they all loaded quickly.  Bigger fonts available through zooming will help readers with visual impairments. You can automatically download titles. Once checked out, you can read them in your own time, but you need to be signed into your account in order to access them.

Watch out for: You might still enjoy the feel of paper in your hands. Also, downloaded magazines will use up memory space.


Available on Google Play, the Apple App Store and Kindle Fire.

More info here: https://www.rbdigital.com/lgma/service/magazines/landing? and https://www.rbdigital.com/50emagazine/service/magazines/landing?



Friday, 19th January 2018


It’s that time of the year again. Everybody is sniffling. You’re not sure if you have a cold or perhaps the flu? Going to your own GP might just help spread the bug. VideoDoc is an app which is run by qualified medical doctors. Help is available from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day. A consultation is €20, which includes prescriptions, sick notes and referral letters. They also offer annual subscriptions, which might be of interest to families.

You need to sign up and provide some information on the reason why you visit, current medication and any other health issues you might have. Payment is by credit card. Some of the health insurers have signed up to this service, so you might be able to get free access if you have private insurance.

Could be used for: minor complaints by people aged 2 years and older, which don’t need a physical examination. The video link allows the doctor to see you, though.

Liked about it: Online face-to-face consultation can work for minor mishaps, such as allergies. You can access this service from your mobile or computer at a time when it suits  you, including while travelling abroad. So no more queuing in a stuffy waiting room as they aim to “see” you within a few minutes.

Watch out for: as they say themselves, they are not a substitute for the real thing. If you have any serious symptoms (e.g. difficulty breathing, severe chest pain), you still need to see your own GP and/or visit a hospital.


Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

More info here: https://videodoc.ie/




Friday, 12th January 2018


Plickers – engage your students in formative assessment

Plickers is an easy-to-use app which enables you to gauge quickly and in real time whether or not your students have understood a concept. It replaces the old “hands up who is for answer A” in a fun, non-obtrusive way. Students hold up a card, which displays their answer (A, B, C or D) depending on which side they have chosen.  You “collect” their answers simply by scanning the room with your device.

You need to sign up, which is easy to do. This will lead you to a demo class, where you can create new questions (which can include photos) and up to 4 multiple choice answers. I took a picture of a site on the Internet and incorporated it into the question. The cards can simply be downloaded for free from the company’s website. You can laminate them, but they even work on ordinary paper. Larger font cards are also available. Cards can be re-used.

Could be used for: immediate feedback on a question. You can examine answers for individual students.

Liked about it: No need for students to have smart phones or tablets. This could be used in classrooms with “no smart phone” policies. Students don’t see how other students answer as each card has an individual shape. Plickers has many more resources (including short films explaining the different steps involved) on their website. Some of these freebies have been added by teachers.

Watch out for: the app itself has limited instructions, so you are being directed to their website.


Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

More info here: https://www.plickers.com/ and https://plickers.zendesk.com/hc/en-us



Friday, 5th January 2018


Vocal Recall 

The Vocal Recall app allows you to create short audio records (up to 5 minutes). You can pause at any stage. When you’re ready to go, submit it and the record will be linked to a pre-made QR code. The company will send you these (up to 280 for each session, but you can order more) and you can print them onto labels yourself. They also offer a link to Amazon where you can purchase labels. Labels can be stuck inside a student’s portfolio, for example. Each student can then read their own individual QR code with the reader on their mobile phone or tablet. You can check if the QR code (and the recording) has been accessed through the “history” tab. It doesn’t show who did so, unfortunately, nor when they watched it.

I printed the codes on paper and it worked just as well. You’d have to cut them out, so there is a bit more work involved.

Could be used for: feedback on assessments. Students can get a personalised response from their teacher, which they can access wherever they are, at any time and as often as they want. Distance learners and young adults will probably enjoy this.

Liked about it: Recordings will be encrypted and stored on the company’s servers, but you can delete them quickly by going through the history list. This app is really easy to use.

Watch out for: recordings can be accessed by anyone who has the QR code. And anything that is being recorded needs to comply with copyright law.


Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

More info here: https://vocalrecall.co.uk/

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