As a learner I use mobile apps to organize my schedule, create to-do lists, and check emails. I use mobile devices to take photos that I use in projects. As a teacher/learner that uses Google Apps, most of these tend to be around the Google Apps suite. These include Google Calendar, Google Mail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. I also use EdX app to learn for professional development purposes. In Dr. Haskell’s courses, I have used Team Speak app to communicate in VOIP for working collaboratively in virtual worlds. These are just those that I use most frequently at the present time. There are many others that I have used in the past.
As an educator, I use mobile apps to check email, manage appointments, and for simple internet searches in meetings. As part of instruction, when I taught social studies I had my students use an app called GFlash+. I could create vocab sets and share them with students for them to review key vocabulary with flashcards and self-check quizzes. When I have tutored, students we have used Khan Academy so I could customize math practice work to each learner’s needs and skills that needed reinforcement. To give students a sense of place we have used the Google Earth app to explore the Geography of the World. In my GA position, we use Tracking Time to assign projects for work on the Cool Teacher Show and track hours of how long it takes us to complete. I encourage students that have mobile devices to use the Google Classroom Apps this way they get the most timely alerts. However, not all students have mobile devices which creates a digital divide in the use of these tools at my current school. In previous schools, we had several iPod touches in my class that students could borrow when I was giving the option to use mobile devices. Although not a perfect scenario, it did minimize the digital divide a little bit.
As a parent, having age appropriate apps on my phone that support learning means that no matter where we are my own children can practice math facts, improve reading skills, and work on letter, shape, and number recognition and writing skills. I love the devices that have parental controls that allow you to lock certain apps or only open “fun” apps after reading is done. For my own kiddos, this is a motivator to do what they see as less desirable activities in order to get to do more “entertaining” apps.
The ease and portability of apps on Mobile devices make it more accessible than having a computer all the time (Cummins, M, Larry Johnson, and Samantha Adams. The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 higher education edition. The New Media Consortium, 2012.) They add greater function to a phone which is why 91% of adults have their mobile phones within arm’s reach at all times.(1). Given this data, several schools are using apps like Remind to push out alerts to parents and students alike as a way to improve school communication.
- “Fifty Essential Mobile Marketing Facts – Forbes.” 2013. 13 May. 2016 <http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/12/fifty-essential-mobile-marketing-facts/>