My task this week was to take a look at four apps and evaluate what I like about it verse what I didn’t like about it.
Education – Google Classroom
This app pushes out updates to mobile devices from the Google Classroom website. From a teacher point of view it alerts the teacher when students comment on assignments & announcements. I can see work submitted, comment on work and give scores in the app. I can create new classes from inside the app as a teacher as well. I can view all course assignment calendars. You can create announcements assignments, questions, and reuse posts all from inside the app.
The functionality works almost exactly like the classroom website. The menus, swipes, buttons and graphics are easy to use and visually pleasing.
Other uses can be to crowdsource professional development in schools.
For improvements to the app I would like to be able to assign work to specific students for remediation and or extension of the course material. I would also like parents to have view only access of their child’s account. This would enable auto-emailing anytime a post or assignment was created by having this feature it would close the communication gap when using an app like this. These features are not currently available on the web version, however, I hear that they parent piece is coming this fall.
Productivity – Weebly
The Weebly app allows you to build websites in an easy to use drop and drag format. It works with a single sign on for Google and Facebook or you can make your own.
The app allows the user to view stats for page views and visitors to your website. The navigation is relatively easy. With that said it seems that it would function better on a larger screen, such as a tablet, I was accessing this on my phone. Which for website creation doesn’t seem like the best device to use. It may work better if you are using it for short blogs. Personally, I don’t like typing longer text pieces on mobile devices without a full keyboard.
Not all the visual elements that are present showed on the preview on the mobile app on my phone. For example, the banner images were missing. I can see using this more to quickly check traffic on my website rather than building full sites.
Communication – GMail
The GMail app pushes Google Mail to my phone. I like that I can view multiple Gmail accounts at the same time. I like the button features and swipes to remove mail from my inbox. I don’t like that I can’t mark a message as unread from the app. I wish it had a read aloud feature of text to speech built in so I could listen to messages on the go. The graphics are clean and simplistic in the design which really works for this app to keep it consistent with the branding of Google.
Games/Education – Vocabulary Builder by Magoosh
I found the app in the games classification, however, it is more of a cross-genre app as it was very educational with game-like elements. This app provides a gamified approach to learning new vocabulary. You earn badges for getting words correct and can level up. You can play a game against others that use the app as well. The app has you use your email but it does not appear to be Ferpa/copa compliant. If you are using an email address that includes your name to sign up that becomes your username. As an adult, I would like the option to have my identity private if I choose to do so and this app didn’t allow me to select a username other than my email. The app is geared towards high school students as the vocabulary sets are around GRE, SAT, and other categories for older students.
As for the game elements, I would be more engaged playing people I know than strangers. I would like to see an element to add friends that way. The graphics are clean and simplistic design that works with the apps functions.