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Nine handy (free!) back-to-school apps

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The app world is pretty overwhelming, and this time of year, parents are probably looking for ways to marry education and technology.

Finding good apps can be hit or miss.

Our daughter is nearly 4, and we’ve been on a merry-go-round of bad apps. Thankfully, though, we’ve found some good ones that she likes but also trick her into learning about things like counting, musical instruments and other subjects. (Ha! Take that, toddler! You will learn!)

Because she’s not in school yet, I have zero suggestions for school-age kids. I asked the folks at Verizon for some suggestions.

“Preparing for back-to-school can be stressful for both parents and students,” said Lawrence Ross, who manages a Verizon store in Oklahoma City and has six kids of his own. “With the use of smartphones and the power of technology, apps are now available to help with homework, test prep and organization.”

Here are the nine free apps they suggest:

* My Homework. Parents and students can track homework and tests, and you can set reminders.

* Overdrive. You can check out books from more than 18,000 libraries.

* inClass. Students can manage their homework and such, but they can also record video or audio while taking notes. They can set reminders, too.

* Flashcards+. There’s a plethora of flashcards, or you can make your own.

* LOL Libs. This is a word game that’s like Mad Libs. You can also make your own. I don’t know how this is school-related, but it generally sounds fun. I support anything that promotes literacy, family interaction and not spending money.

* Grades 2. Calculate grades and set reminders.

* Kid Pointz Reward System for Kids. Parents can set up a system for chores, behaviors or tasks (like homework), and then award points to their children for doing the work.

* Dropbox. This is a cloud storage tool that you can save all kinds of files to. Your kiddo won’t forget papers or files at home because they’ll all be available in the magical cloud. I use this app a lot for work, so I can vouch for how handy it is.

* Evernote. You can take notes and save them in the cloud. I know a lot of reporters in our newsroom use this app, so it must be a good one.

And Verizon experts suggest one more, though it is not free:

* Verizon FamilyBase, $5 a month and up. Parents can track texting, calls and app use.  No more texting instead of studying. (Busted, you crazy kids.)

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Carrie Coppernoll

Carrie Coppernoll is a columnist and reporter. She was named the top personal columnist in Oklahoma in 2009 and 2010 by the Associated Press and Association of Newspaper Editors. She was also named the 2008 Journalist of the Year by the Oklahoma... Read more ›