Must have apps

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

There is literally an app for anything. But how do you decide which ones are worth taking up space on your phone? Whether you’re using an Android or an iPhone, these are just some of the apps that have helped me through the last year of my teaching degree (both in and out of the classroom)!


Kahoot – A crowd favourite! Kahoot is a platform that is great for formative assessment during practicum (and at OISE!) using mobile devices. You can easily create quizzes to check your students’ understanding of a particular topic or unit and use this info to gauge your future lessons. From personal experience, Kahoot is always a hit!

New York Times Virtual Reality From history to science to architecture, the NYTVR app allows students to immerse themselves in 

Remind - Remind is a great communication app for teachers, parents, and students, that allows you to send reminder messages about upcoming homework, assignments, and assessments. I utilized this app during my second practicum placement, and it was great for sending out photos of the day’s homework for absent students, as well as a platform for answering quick questions before a test.  

Office Lens - This scanning app is super useful both during practicum as well as during your own classes here at OISE. Office Lens lets you take a photo of a document or whiteboard and makes it readable (great for those old handouts that your AT provides you with). You can even save your documents as PDFs and PowerPoint files.

Desmos For math teachers of all grades, Desmos is a fantastic graphing calculator app! The mobile app allows you to create your own graphs, as well as use and transform examples of common graphs. The web version has tons of activities you can adapt and use as part of your own lessons, too! 

Geogebra Another one for my favourites for teaching math – Geogebra has three different graphing calculator apps: graphing calculator, geometry, and 3D calculator. Geogebra also has a lot of online math activities that can be used in your classroom, with my favourite being the geometry tools.

Scratch Scratch is a platform that uses games and animations to teach your how to code! It’s great for students AND student teachers. Sadly, the Scratch(Jr) app is only available on iOS, but the web version is great, too!


Forest – If you’re anything like me, you can get easily distracted while doing schoolwork. A typical assignment for me looks something like this: Open Word, check Instagram. Open the assignment guidelines, check Facebook. Start researching scholarly articles, take a Snap of yourself “working” on the paper. Now it’s time to make a snack! In the last few weeks, however, I discovered Forest – an app that allows you to set a timer for the amount of time you want to focus, and if you make it to the end of the timer, a cute little shrub or tree is planted in your virtual garden. If you check your phone before the timer ends, however, your plants die! 

WhatsApp By now you realize that there are a lot of group projects in the MT program! When your group needs to communicate outside of class time, WhatsApp is an easy platform to allow users of both Android and iPhone devices to communicate in group chats. (This is especially useful if you’re on a social media cleanse and don’t want to use Facebook messenger!) WhatsApp also has a Web version if you’d rather type on a computer.

Google Drive/OneDrive - Another must for group projects! Whether you’re a Google or Microsoft kind of person, both the GSuite and Microsoft Office Suite allow multiple collaborators to edit projects in real time. This can save a lot of hassle when adding finishing touches to your presentation slides! (Your UofT email will get you a ton of free space on OneDrive, and a Gmail account will get you free space on Google Drive.)


Calm –  If you ever feel stressed and are looking for some help to ease anxiety, Calm is a great app for you! Calm has different categories for meditation, sleep stories, and relaxing music. As a teacher candidate, you get access to Calm premium through a teacher account (use OISE as your school).

Carrot – With your phone or Fitbit, Carrot tracks the number of steps taken each day, and rewards you if you meet your step goals. Carrot provides you with points for different rewards programs such as Petro Points, SCENE points, and aeroplan miles. You can even win points for answering simple surveys about your health and wellness!

Flipp - Everyone loves a deal! Flipp is an app that lets you create a shopping list and highlights exactly where your items are on sale, as well as see weekly flyers from local stores. Flipp helps you save money and streamline your shopping trips.

U of T Student Life - Useful for all U of T students! U of T Student Life is like an interactive student handbook with tons of info about student wellness, student resources, events, and so much more. You can add your own to-do lists, class schedule, and set year-long goals. There’s even an interactive campus map!