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.