Sunday, May 5, 2013

Educational Apps

50 billion apps. Apple announced a few days ago that it is nearing the 50 billionth download of an iOS app. That's 166 or more iOS downloads per man, woman and child in the United States -- including many of your students and faculty. This leads me to wonder, how have others interlaced mobile technologies and information literacy instruction.

Here is how I've done attempted to do it:

Some Intuitional History 
In 2010, my library started purchasing iPads to test and circulate. A year later, my institution started issuing iPads to Freshmen students. A year prior, the library started testing iPads for circulation. These two factors, allowed the library position itself as on the cutting edge of this new technological wave. While I was new to the university in 2011, I had used Apple products exclusively for a few years prior.

My colleagues on the teaching faculty side of things were hungry for ways to include these devices into their daily instruction. Our working theory seems to be that the students will be looking at these devices anyway, so why not bring them into our instruction.

Two Apps I Have Used

Poll Everywhere may not be exclusively an iOS app, but I have found it extremly useful to get students to begin thinking about their mobile device as more than a tool to communicate with others in their social circle -- that it may actually have a place in the classroom.

Poll Everywhere is very similar to the traditional clickers. For the uninitiated, clickers allow instructors to ask questions to the room and receive feedback. Poll Everywhere allows you to embed some code into a powerpoint side and display the results in realtime. It opens to the door to some interesting pedagogy, such as asking conceptional-style questions and following that up with discussion. Given the nature of Poll Everywhere, I think some of the pedagogy on clickers may be generalizable

GoodReader is a $5 App, which my university provides for students at no cost. It is a simple PDF reading tool with advanced annotating features. Students can highlight, underline, attach sticky notes and draw freehand on PDFs. This little app ties into your Dropbox account, so you do not need to import them into yet another app. It's to use, even if it is not freely provided at your institution. 

It has been really helpful in the classroom. While teaching students how to interact with actual articles, I have students look at specific portions of an article and pull out the main concepts, search-terms that could be used in additional database searches and take note of interesting facts. Best of all, it prevents dozens of students from printing off copies of articles to notate them! Go Green!

So, do you use any apps or mobile technology in your sessions?


  1. I agree, Poll Everywhere is a useful website/app and is a legitimate use of students' cell phones during class!

  2. I am helpful from this article by knowing the apps which help me in learning and increasing my knowledge.