The Nokia Lumia phone launch has given Windows Phone a much higher profile in Australia. In the state capitals, it’s been impossible to move around the city centre without seeing Lumia adverts jumping out at you. And around the Microsoft office, it seems impossible to avoid the fact that most of us have chosen the blue version of the Lumia.
You’ll start to see more of them in the hands of your students – especially because of the integration of the main social media sites directly into the phone, without them needing extra apps. Of course, with Microsoft Office also built in, it means students can use their phone to send and receive homework assignments, carry out research using the web, and stay in touch with school classmates and friends. And the SkyDrive storage in the Cloud is accessible from Windows Phone, with an app to view and edit files, and if they are using OneNote they can sync their notebooks across almost all of their devices.
Here’s my top 4 free Education apps for Windows Phone. The interesting thing to note is that the first two – Wordament and Numerix – are both games where players are playing against the whole of the rest of the world. And in both games the challenge is exactly the same as you might set in a classroom activity, but with added gamification of learning!
Since I discovered Wordament, I have been completely addicted. Wordament is a word tournament where players are competing with the whole internet to be the best word searcher in every game. Every player is competing on the same board, in real-time, to get the highest score. Every board has over 100 possible words and there are also themed games, like Digrams, where it introduces a simple, fun secondary goal of using a two-letter tile in as many words as possible.
Numerix is a fast paced and (from personal experience) highly addictive number game that will challenge students. The goal is simple, select as many numbers in sequence as you can. And that’s where the simplicity ends. As the numbers get bigger and bigger you will need to start using combinations of numbers to reach your goal.
It is a great way to get the analytical side of brain warmed up and ready to go. I find that a couple of rounds of Numerix first thing in the morning wakes me up, and gives me some idea of how my brains working.
This apps helps students to create and organise their timetable on their phone and make notes against lessons (eg homework assignments). Unlike a normal calendar, it allows for multiple week timetables with either 2 or 4 week rotations, and between 4 and 10 lessons per day.
Spelling Practice 2 can help students improve their spelling of popular 1,000 English words. It does that by announcing the word and showing just the letters that make it. As you touch the letters and spell the word correctly, the word begins to form at the top. When you complete the whole word, the word is spoken again.
The app comes with 1,000 common words organised in increasing order of difficulty by word length, and supported by studio-recorded, broadcast quality voice. The app provides just the right feedback and encouragement to you as you spell. It gives a musical note when your touch the right letter and it gives a funny car horn sound when a wrong letter is touched. When you complete 50 words, you get a 'star' and a cheering sound. As you do more words correctly, the 'stars' add up and show prominently on the starting page.
There are lots more Windows Phone apps in the Windows Phone marketplace for Australia.
Two handy shortcuts for you: