What’s in your pocket?


Image from Pexels

Today we are pulling out our pockets and looking at our phones and asking, what are the most popular apps that we use in the TEL team?

In alphabetical order, starting with Tab. 

Tab, Learning Technologist for Sciences

Screenshot of apps on phone

Tab’s multicultural home screen (Android)


Tab Betts, LT for Sciences

In keeping with my cultural and linguistic identity, the apps on my phone are a hybrid of English and Chinese.

The first thing you’ll notice is my dual clock widget with London time and Beijing time: essential for keeping in touch with everyone back in China.

For app stores, I use Baidu Mobile Assistant as much as Google Play. For social media, WeChat and Weibo get more use than Facebook Messenger or Twitter.

For docs and cloud storage, WPS Office and Baidu Cloud get as much use as Google Docs and Google Drive. For improving my Chinese and Japanese, I have downloaded language packs on Google Translate, use Hanping Pro and Pleco for dictionaries, Quizlet and Memrise for testing myself, as well as Arch Chinese and Hiragana Learn for improving my orthographic skills.

Finally, I use QQ Music for my music needs, Voice Reading and PDF to Speech for text-to-speech, and AntennaPod and Pocket Casts for subscribing to podcasts like our brand new TEL Podcast!

Me (Sally), Learning Technologist for Social Sciences


Me! (Sally Burr) LT for Social Sciences

Screenshot of apps on phone

My phone screen (Android)

I have lots of apps that I have downloaded onto my phone. I don’t use all of them regularly and many are for work purposes. For example, I have Poll Everywhere and ResponseWare app on my phone but I will only use them for demonstrating to staff.

My most used app is Duolingo – I try and use this everyday. We covered this language app previously in the post Gamifying language learning. Duolingo is language learning app with embedded gamification. I started optimistically on the ‘Insane’ level but I have since cut down to ‘Regular’.

I like my Fitbit app. If I am having a lazy week it never gets a look in and I use it as a sporty looking watch. If I have a good week and I go to the gym then I check Fitbit for all my activity statistics.

To make the gym time more interesting, I listen to Spanish songs via Spotify and use the Musixmatch for translating the lyrics.

I also use aCalendar (or Android calendar) which is an app that combines my work calendar with my personal calendar. This is a really handy app for knowing what I have to do in the morning without needing to use a computer to log in.  

Anne, Learning Technologist for Arts and Humanities 

Screenshot of apps on phone

Anne’s home screen (Android)


Dr Anne Hole, LT for Humanities

I’m another Android user and have lots of apps installed so I use folders to organise them on my home screen. Most are free apps, but a few I find so useful that I pay for
premium accounts. One of those is Evernote which I use to save notes and information for work, but also appliance manuals, notes about favourite places to eat, checklists for holidays, lists of gifts for birthdays and Christmas etc. I have an Evernote ‘widget’ on my home screen showing reminders I have set for domestic things like shopping and birthdays.

The free apps I use most on a personal basis are the Met Office weather app, Google Maps, Spotify Music and Brighton Buses m-ticket app. I also have various ‘loyalty card’ apps on my phone so I just scan my phone at the checkout to get points.

PrinterShare is great for printing from my phone to my wireless printer at home and CamScanner turns my phone into a scanner which is handy for saving copies of forms.

Professionally, I use several social media apps such as Twitter and GooglePlus. I also use Feedly and Flipboard for reading blogs and news.

Another app I really love, and am happy to pay for, is Pushbullet which connects all my devices so that I can quickly share things between them. I see missed calls and SMS messages on my tablet or desktop and can share screenshots or photos to my browser – and universal copy and paste still seems like magic!

Kitty, TEL Co-ordinator


Kitty Horne, TEL Co-ordinator

Screenshot of apps on phone

Kitty’s home screen (iPhone)

Like Sally, I also have a quite a few work related apps on my phone. My ‘Work’ folder includes: the SussexMobile app; iTunes U; student response system apps such as Poll Everywhere, ResponseWare and Plickers; the Post-it Plus app as well as my Google apps including Drive and Docs.

The app that I use most frequently at the moment is Pinterest, a social network which enables you to ‘pin’ visual posts on a virtual pin board allowing you to collect useful resources around your interests.

I mainly use Pinterest to find free sewing patterns and recipes, most of which come from blogs. This allows me to pick and choose different tutorials that are most useful to me. I also have an ‘Education’ board which I use to collect useful edtech resources and new apps and ideas. Here’s an example of what you can find on Pinterest when looking for teaching ideas.

Another frequently used app on my phone is the native News app. This app lets me pick my favourite news sources and categories allowing me to tailor the content to me. I also use Twitter to browse news stories but find that, due to the people that I follow, the content is often heavily focused on higher education.

I also use the Netflix and BBC iPlayer apps a lot, mainly because they are so quick and easy to use and I don’t own a TV!

Pete, Learning Technologist for Social Sciences 


Pete Sparkes, LT for Social Sciences

Screenshot of apps on phone

Pete’s home screen (Android)

A lot of the apps which I use are for practical reasons and to solve general life issues. I have just moved into a flat with very poor phone signal, I’m often almost uncontactable through my phone network whilst at home so I use the Skype app on to make and receive calls and Facebook Messenger app as a replacement for text messaging.

I’m also now on a waiting list for a parking permit, I use the Paybyphone app to pay for parking in the evenings which is great as it means I don’t have to carry lots of change around with me to use at the ticket machines.

Another app which I use is Google Cast, this is an app which allows me to broadcast anything from my phone (or any other computer or mobile device in my house) to my TV and stereo via a device called Chromecast. This is great as it means myself and flatmates can watch films or listen to music from our own devices on a bigger screen or sound system.

Aside from these apps, I use Google Drive and Google Docs at home and work on a daily basis as they allow me to keep all of my files and documents in one place and to view them on any computer or mobile device.

Pinterest is another great app which I use occasionally for finding and saving tutorials and recipes.

The new TV licensing rules


flickr photo by dailyinvention shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

If you would like to view programmes via other means than the TV, read about the new changes to the licensing which will tell you how you can watch programmes from any device legally.

The rules have recently changed and you can find about them in TV licence iPlayer change: What you need to know, which includes a section on what the rules are for students.  

TEL app list

There are over 50 apps that we use between us in the TEL team. Here is a list of all of the apps that have been mentioned in this blog post –

aCalendar (or Android calendar)


Arch Chinese

Baidu Cloud

Baidu Mobile Assistant

Brighton Buses m-ticket app





Facebook Messenger app


Fitbit app


Google Cast

Google Drive

Google Docs

Google Maps

Google Play

Google Plus

Google Translate

Hiragana Learn

Hanping Pro

universal copy and paste

iTunes U


Met Office weather app


Paybyphone app




Pocket Casts

Poll Everywhere

Post-it Plus




QQ Music

ResponseWare app

Skype app

Spotify Music

Sussex Mobile




WPS Office

Do you use an app that you’d like to recommend? Tweet us @SussexTel or email tel@sussex.ac.uk. If you would like any help downloading apps or looking at apps for use in teaching and learning, please get in touch with your school learning technologist.


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Posted in App review, Technology Enhanced Learning

About our blog

We are the Educational Enhancement team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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