Teaching in an App World

img There is no question that the app - those small, easy to download software applications for mobile devices - is changing how we use technology.  "There's an app for that," was one of the most heard phrases in tech circles the past few years. (Apple even applied for a trademark on the phrase which was featured in their iPhone ads.)

The way we design and deploy software is changing and so is how we decide on things like purchases.

The Apple App Store passed its 10 billionth download early this year and offers almost 400,000 apps and the Google Android Marketplace has over 200,000 apps with more than 3 billion downloads. More than half of all Web traffic currently comes from apps.

I am doing a conference presentation this fall (at the NJEDge.Net Annual Conference) on how apps are beginning to change schools and teaching. I have been asking colleagues face to face and online and the answers vary quite a bit. I would love to have you give some feedback on your own observations about this topic (see bottom of post).

The Questions:
1. How are apps (mobile and web apps) being developed & used?
2. How are schools using them now?
3. Where are the opportunities for schools to enter the app world?
4. How are educators reacting to this app world? Are they using them to teach?

In brief, apps are being developed both on campus by both students and web developers, but they are also being built for schools by outside vendors. 

Many schools seem to have as their entry point (and in many cases as their only official use) apps for campus-wide initiatives like admissions and registration.

There is far less evidence of course or discipline-specific app use by instructors. Some publishers and vendors apps (such as Blackboard's Mobile Learn and MindTap from Cengage) may be available to students independent of the school's efforts.

Please share your comments on this post or in the Ed Tech group on Facebook, or the NJEDge discussion area in Facebook.


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