Software and Apps

This page contains links to various software programs and mobile device apps that may be useful for teachers in higher education. ISU IT Services has not field-tested these sites or apps, but we believe they may have good potential. If you are an instructor who would like to try out any of these with your students feel free to contact us ( and we will be happy to assist in any way we can. Also, if you know of any sites, software or apps that you think should be on this list, please send us an email. 

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Screen shot of Instagram Interface
Screen shot of Instagram interface.

Instagram is a social network built around photo sharing. Users can upload photos to their account and edit them there to enhance them or apply specific effects, such as to make them look old. Users can use hashtags to tag their photos and follow other users and explore photos categorized with different hashtags. Instagram, and photos in general, can be used in a variety of ways to support student learning from middle school up through college. Below are some sample ideas for ways students can use Instagram to interact with course topics and materials and foster discussion:

  • Recreate a famous piece of art with people and photograph it
  • Recreate a moment in history
    • Find vintage photos and recreate the scenes
  • Share photos of a scientific experiment
  • Let students explore their identities and express them in photos
  • Have a student be responsible for the class Instagram account for a week and illustrate their own and their classmates' learning with photos
  • Have students imagine how a famous person would use instagram
    • Browse historical photos and create a bulletin board or poster display showing the famous person's feed
  • Have students submit inspirational photos to the class account to inspire creative writing

These ideas are based on the following sources, which contain several additional ideas and suggestions:

Cunningham, J. (2014). Using Instagram in the Classroom: Five Activities. Education World. Retrieved from
Williams, S. (2014, May 22). Why schools should be using Instagram. Campus Suite, Education Blog. Retrieved from



Screen shot of OneNote app.
Screen shot of OneNote app. Published with permission from Microsoft (Click for larger version).

OneNote is a free note-taking application compatible with all major platforms for computers and mobile devices. It allows you to create notebooks which can have different tabs, which, in turn, can have different pages. This allows you to organize your notes, which can be taken by typing on a keyboard or handwriting on touch-enabled devices. You can also use the Screen Clipping feature to get a screen shot of any part of your computer screen, just like you can paste in images and link to online or locally store audio and video clips. OneNote also allows for audio and video recording and will even index your written notes at the appropriate times in the audio recording. These features make OneNote an excellent application for students and faculty researchers alike who need a robust note-taking application. The ability to store your notebooks on the Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage allows you to share your notes between all compatible devices. Finally, notebooks can be shared between different users who can use OneNote to collaborate on projects. Visit to download the PC and Mac applications, or get it from the application store for your mobile device. Other sites that are worth a visit are the Students section on the OneNote website at, the OneNote for Teachers website at and the article How to Use OneNote at School: 10 Tips for Students & Teachers on the website. Read more at



Screen shot of ARIS editor
Screen shot of ARIS editor (Click for larger version).

“ARIS is a user-friendly, open-source platform for creating and playing mobile games, tours and interactive stories. Using GPS and QR Codes, ARIS players experience a hybrid world of virtual interactive characters, items, and media placed in physical space” (ARIS website, n.d.).

ARIS allows instructors to create interactive experiences where information can be released to students based on physical locations, the performance of specific tasks, and interaction with virtual characters. The learning experiences are created in the online ARIS browser-based editor and students experience them through a dedicated app on their iOS devices (so far, there is no Android version). The app allows students to take written notes and pictures and record both audio and video. Using this tool, instructors can create learning experiences that mimic real-life work experiences and involve authentic data collection while letting the students interact with their physical environment. Visit the ARIS website Demo section for a video demonstrating three possible uses of the app for college courses. Read more at



Trello screen shot
Trello screen shot. (Source:   Click to enlarge

Trello is a free project management tool that may help students organize group projects and divide work tasks. At its most basic, it is an advanced task manager. At its most advanced, it allows for project management by connecting multiple participants in a common interface. This interface allows for scheduling tasks, commenting on ideas, arranging priorities, exchanging files and media, and setting deadlines. Trello is a free app that works on various web-enabled platforms, and has its own app for iOS, Android, and Windows 8 tablets. Read more at