Homework apps: copying or learning 2.0 ?

When doing homework, the smartphone is often placed next to the pencil case as a matter of course. In addition to preinstalled apps such as calculators, it also contains digital dictionaries and math apps. While some of these apps can be useful aids for students, artificial intelligences offer ready-made solutions.

There is a wide range of apps available in the Google Play Store or the App Store that promise help with homework. These can support students in their learning. Some of them require independent thinking, others offer ready-made solutions. Many apps are free in their basic functions. It is advisable to get an overview of helpful apps yourself, test them and then recommend them to students.

Organizing homework with the smartphone

In addition to classic homework notebooks, there are now a wide variety of apps that students can use to keep track of homework.

The homework app from Cornelsen offers a clear design. You can create a timetable and enter homework with a deadline and photo. If desired, the app reminds students of what still needs to be done. The app Scoolio offers further functions, such as a vacation countdown or current grade averages. In addition to the organization of school-related content, there is also a community here where students can network and exchange ideas with each other. If you only want to use Scoolio as an organization app, simply don't create a community profile.

Dictionary apps for foreign language teaching

Dictionary apps, such as Linguee or dict.cc, help translate vocabulary. Both apps offer many different languages for online or offline use. The dict.cc offer is clearer and therefore more suitable for younger students. Linguee also offers sample texts that show different application and translation options.

Apps for math and science

For math, the app MatheWiki is a good choice. It is a kind of collection of formulas with the most important laws of arithmetic. In addition to clear explanations and examples, the app offers a glossary and a search function.

Similar functions are offered by PhysikWiki for formulas from physics lessons and DeutschWiki for German grammar.

For chemistry, MERCK PSE/PTE offers an interactive periodic table for the smartphone. In addition to information (e.g. on states of aggregation and atomic properties) and pictures of the listed elements, a glossary can be used.

"Thinking apps" - When the app solves tasks.

Some apps, such as Socratic from Google, promise a kind of all-round carefree package: a task, written on a worksheet or handwritten, can be photographed and is then processed by the app's artificial intelligence. In most cases, the app forwards the user to suitable websites - similar to a Google search. The app is particularly interesting when it comes to solving problems. If you want to work on math equations, you are redirected to websites that provide the full solution paths.

Without the detour to other websites, students can already have their math problems solved by Photomath. Instead of classmates, they then copy directly from their smartphones.

While Google Translate is not yet able to cope with translations, especially with context and grammar, it can already be used for simple sentences. Those who also prefer to translate more complex contexts online instead of doing it themselves can achieve very good results with DeepL.

Doing homework with apps - copying or learning 2.0?

Pupils usually quickly find out for themselves that certain apps and websites or the class chat can be used to copy homework. However, they also find out that this no longer pays off when it comes to classwork. It therefore makes sense to talk to younger students about how digital aids can be used and what their limits are. To this end, it can be discussed, for example, that no completed homework should be sent in the class chatand why. This can also be written into the class chat rules. Information literacy plays a central role in online research. It is worth discussing with students how to identify reliable and helpful sources online. In many subjects, teachers can also avoid solving assignments using apps by, for example, asking transfer questions in which the content must be understood and applied.

Further information

  • klicksafe for educators: Smartphone & Apps for the classroom
  • klicksafe teaching material: "Rules for class chats
  • klicksafe topic: Learning with YouTube