What are Mobile Apps?

There is a revolution that is taking place in software development that parallels the changes in recent years in the music, publishing, and retail industries. Mass market is giving way to niche market, and with it, the era of highly priced large suites of integrated software has shifted to a new view of what software should be. Smartphones such as the Galaxy, iPhone, and Android have redefined what we mean by mobile computing, and in the past three to four years, the small, often simple, low-cost software extensions to these devices — apps — have become a hotbed of development. New tools are free or sell for as little as 99 cents. A popular app can see millions of downloads in a very short time, and that potential market has spawned a flood of creativity that is instantly apparent in the extensive collections available in the app stores. These retail phenomena provide an easy, fast, and totally new way to deliver software that reduces distribution and marketing costs significantly. Apple’s app store opened in July 2008; Google’s followed in October of that year. By September 2012, more than 55 billion apps had been sold or downloaded; simple but useful apps have found their way into almost every form of human endeavor. Mobile apps are particularly useful for learning as they enable people to learn and experience new concepts wherever they are, often across multiple devices.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Oct 30, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • your response here- kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Feb 8, 2014I believe that Mobile Apps will be provide the momentum for increasing uptake and usage of tablet computers. Apps enable us to link systems within a single interface, often overcoming many of the technology system integration issues that we face, particularly from the users perspective. They also provide comparatively quick mechanisms for educational content to be designed for enhanced learning. We are seeing the requirement for large student support systems, such as learning management systems and student websites to be 'mobile enabled' as a minimum requirement that has long since moved beyond innovation to hygiene...and, in a comparatively short period of time. Totally agree. - s2.vaughan s2.vaughan Feb 18, 2014
  • Many learning organisations are developing apps to support students not only for teaching and learning but to improve the student experience. Large learning management system vendors have been pushing out mobile apps with their products with variable usability. Universities need respond about be strategic about how they deploy apps to students. The question - is an app the right tool is one to consider. - ktairi ktairi Feb 18, 2014
  • Tablets are ubiquitous so therefore good design for educational apps is crucial. Apps are one way of many for students to engage with their learning - efficiently and effectively. Location-based apps also making campus life more user friendly, fun and a richer experience. - joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 20, 2014
  • With over 85% of our students online, mobile apps are an essential part of our road map for the coming year. We realise that to effectively address the needs of students we will need to successfully address this issue.- crocky1959 crocky1959 Feb 20, 2014
  • Recent research from the SEET Survey (student experiences and expectations of technology ) with 5 universities in the 2010 and 2013 timeframe shows that students shows that students are still reluctant to use their smart phones for learning. However tablets (iPads) are a different matter and the potential for use of APs on tablets is far greater than on smartphones. there is potential for both productivity aps and discipline specific aps - maree.gosper maree.gosper Feb 22, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Many of the apps available in the first wave are of limited pedagogical value. A quizz online is little different from a quizz on paper. ((- cpaterso cpaterso Feb 14, 2014)
  • Platform agnostic apps - how to deploy apps in a way that is equitable and fair - ktairi ktairi Feb 18, 2014
  • So many devices and so many operating systems to cater to! Web based apps are limiting, native apps are more appealing if well designed for education - using the so called '21st century' learning tools. HTML5 is improving all the time and the production of agnostic apps will grow with an adaptive app framework which can configure varying devices. The bulk deployment of apps has been problematic and expensive for schools and universities - this is slowly improving.- joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 20, 2014
  • The main issue missing is the need to meet the needs of the students - what research is being undertaken to understand what the user requires?- crocky1959 crocky1959 Feb 20, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Potential to using interactive apps in classrooms to enhance interactivity - quizzes etc.. Social apps for developing learning networks. Portable collections of open badges/eportfolios - ktairi ktairi Feb 18, 2014
  • Potential for appeal to the 'just in time, just enough, just for me' needs of postgraduate/CPE students in particular - where learning ca be broken down into smaller chunks. - s2.vaughan s2.vaughan Feb 18, 2014
  • The challenge in design is to combine the device's tools (like the camera, audio recording, or the accelerometer as examples) with the device's capabilities (interactivity, social interaction and reuse of content as examples). Overlay these with problem solving, communicating, researching and then apps certainly become a great learning tool.- joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 20, 2014
  • there is a lot of potential however the uptake of technologies that are not recommended by staff or modelled by staff in their teaching is slow. Its not clear whether this is an awareness issue, lack of time to explore or simply not knowing how to use them effectively.- maree.gosper maree.gosper Feb 22, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?
  • Some educational institutions like Taronga Zoo organise tablets for students while on their visits which have been preloaded with interactive, apps designed for learning on location ... 'Wild Australia' being the latest. These can be downloaded onto user-owned tablets from iTunes as well.- joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 20, 2014
Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.