The release of the Kindle Fire last fall immediately raised questions about its usefulness in the classroom. The small Fire, which comes with a more budget-friendly price tag than the iPad, could allow schools some of the same functionality with a smaller expenditure.
Although the educational apps market for the device remains small, even three months after its release, Education World staff felt it was worth reviewing some of the free apps available for the Kindle Fire.
We found that many hold promise for classroom use, and we discovered several favorites, including the following:
If your students are learning about the states in our nation, this app is perfect for the classroom. It has everything you’d want to know about states, from population and largest city to state flowers and mottos. Students can test their knowledge with quizzes as well. Use 50 States in social studies and civics classes to reinforce lessons.
Words with Friends
This Scrabble®-like application lets users play word games against each other, forming words from their own group of seven letters. Games can be played over the course of days or in a shorter time. Also, users can share the Kindle Fire to play against each other. This game is available online, on Android devices and for the iPad and iPhone. The app can help reinforce vocabulary as part of English and language arts classes.
This free version of the popular NASA Now app allows users to brush up on the latest NASA news and goings on. It includes an Image of the Day, info on the missions – including the Kepler Mission and the International Space Station and news broken up into categories such as Earth news, solar system news and aeronautics news. Use this app to enhance current events and science discussions and teach about the current state of space exploration.
Peek in on the penguins at the California Academy of Sciences with this cute app that lets you check out three different views (including underwater!) of their habitat. Not only is it interesting to see how the penguins live and behave, but the experience can also provide story starters. Have language arts students use this app to inspire creative writing.
Kids Doodle – Movie Kids Drawing
Available for the Kindle Fire and other android devices, this simple app brings finger-painting to life. Users draw or write a message with their finger and then can play it back. This app could be especially useful for teachers who want to demonstrate a basic drawing technique to students. Try Kids Doodle in art classes as part of a tech-meets-art lesson.