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RoundUp December 2015 – Top Research Apps

RoundUp-Dec-2015At App Ed Review, we’ve been thinking about research and the ways apps can be used to support students conducting research. We see research projects as being a great way for students to flex their intellectual muscle, synthesize data, explain real-world information, and demonstrate learning. They are popular because research can be worked into the classroom in so many different ways, but teachers may have questions before implementing them, like: Where will my students get their information? Can they save articles they like for later? Is the information in the articles they found trustworthy?

App Ed Review has hand picked four top article library apps your students can use to gather information for research projects. As a reminder, every app we evaluate includes an original app description, a comprehensive evaluation, and 3-5 instructional ideas for how the app can be used.

  1. Article Search helps students search for peer-reviewed articles on any topic on both the Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic databases efficiently. Students enter their search terms, author, and year range into the search field. Then, students can view how many results each respective search engine finds. Students can switch between the Google Scholar results and the Microsoft Academic results easily without re-entering search terms. Desired articles can be saved to favorites, or shared by email and SMS. Article Search scored highest for its Design and its ability to streamline research. For the full review, click here.
  2. Science Today provides students with access to articles about a variety of topics including: Earth, Life, Space, Sustainability, Technology and more! Because of the amount of information provided, science teachers can refer students to this app when researching almost any topic. Plus, with its content being available as articles and videos, it increases the ways students engage the content, which may make it more appealing to them. One way teachers can use this app is to have students read an article at the beginning of class and then write a synopsis, which requires students to compose a one-sentence summary of the article and then offer two or more ideas that explain how the article relates to them, their environment, or their future. Science Today scored a whopping 9.5 for its design and rated high for its potential to interest students. For more instructional ideas that explain how Science Today can be used in the classroom, click here.
  3. MarketWatch allows students and teachers to monitor financial news and the different money exchanges across the world. With this app, students are provided real-time stock prices and information about currency as it happens. With these capabilities, teachers can create assignments that require students to research different stocks and choose one that they would invest in. Students can then write a justification that explains why they chose the stock they did. Next, students can monitor the stock they chose using this app over a period of time (e.g., a week, a month, a semester) and analyze it to see if they would have made or lost money by investing in the stock. Students can then create a final presentation that summarizes their experience with this project. MarketWatch scored high on its connection to future learning, learner control, and 21st century skills, and teachers need to be aware that it is geared more towards high school students taking economic classes. For more information about Market Watch, click here.
  4. Science News & Discoveries is a fantastic tool for students’ science research projects. Students can browse the app’s latest news, or, using the search bar, search thousands of articles by key words from The Guardian, ScienceMag, ABC News, Discovery News, and many more! Students can also save articles they would like to use to a folder in the app, share the article via email, or open the articles in their web browsers. This app can be used by students to gain more knowledge about science topics for research projects, as an attention grabber for a bell ringer activity, and even as a class discussion starter. Science News & Discoveries scored a high 7.8 for its strengths in engagement and straightforward design. For even more ideas, check out the full review on this app.

That’s all for this month’s Roundup. If you would like more information about any of the apps mentioned here or that are on the App Ed Review website, please contact us atinfo@appedreview.org. And remember, there are a lot of good content-based apps that can be used for research, teachers just need to craft the assignment so it connects to the app’s content!