The way I see it, there are 2 ways to use mobile apps. The first is to use it as an added activity/game. Students can play different games to reinforce concepts seen in class. Yes, this method is lots of fun and yes, the students enjoy playing the different apps, but is it any better than playing an online game, a classroom game or an in-class activity? Possibly, but in my opinion that’s not the best way to use mobile apps.
As educators, we should be selecting apps that engage collaboration, ignite creativity and improve learning experiences/knowledge. Some apps that come to mind are Skitch, Scribble Press, Comic Life, Educreations and Stop-Motion Camera. These apps allow you to take pictures, add text, work with others or add an audio thread. We are no longer looking at reviewing concepts, we are now looking at other ways to represent learning. Technology is fun and students love to use technology, why not select apps that make them think outside of the box?
Next time you decide to download or buy a mobile app, I encourage you to check out the app’s features, read the reviews and then evaluate the app. If you’re looking for a good resource for evaluating mobile apps, check out the blog post written by The Educational Technology & Mobile Learning (http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/01/4-great-rubrics-to-help-you-select.html) or write your own 🙂 Either way, we should always be asking ourselves, is this the best way to meet the learning objectives or is this better done the traditional way?
If any of you have adapted the mobile app evaluation forms, let me know. I’d love to see your adapted version.
I have only just recently joined the Twitter world and already I am making some great connections to other colleagues or people in my field of interest (Ed Tech). Now that I have been posting articles about Mobile Learning and have been reading other Tweets about Ed Tech, I stumbled across a huge slew of Tweets about Sir Ken Robinson (http://sirkenrobinson.com/skr/). I’m not sure if you know of him, but he was one of our Key Note Speakers at the Teacher’s Convention this year. I must admit, I did not have time to really read his bio on the Convention Website, so I really had no intentions of seeing him, until I started reading all the Tweets about him Thursday night. At that point, I had really wished I was there listening to his session. Luckily a friend mentioned that I could see him the Friday and I was thrilled. Here are some of the Tweets that inspired me to go watch his session on Friday:
“We’re all good at very different things. Communities depend on this diversity.”
“To be born at all is a miracle. So what are you going to do with it?”
“There are countless examples of narrowly focused schooling not recognizing the true talents of students”
From his session, I have come to learn that Sir Ken Robinson believes in creativity in learning. He does not believe in standardize testing, nor do I. He notes that the No Child Left Behind policy is suppose to ensure all students meet a certain standard, but in reality it “leaves millions of children behind” (Sir Ken Robinson, 2013). It creates students who lack flexibility in their learning as they spend most of their time trying to figure out a response to a PAT than trying to understand and solve the question.
I think the point that most resonated with me was when he made the following analogy : Americans are rushing towards where the puck is, instead of where it will be. They are looking at how to fix the problem now and in one perspective instead of thinking ahead about the future and where our learning should be going. I will be thinking about this as I continue through my teaching.
Robinson, K. (2013, February). Creativity & innovation. Keynote session presented at The Calgary Teacher’s Convention. Calgary, Canada.