I have an iPad and an iPhone. I think I use them fairly well, probably more than the average person. I have had a lot of people proud to tell me they got an iPad like me and can’t wait to use it. I get excited seeing people using technology, but what makes that fun is seeing that they are getting the most out of the technology and having the technology help them to be more effective at accomplishing stuff. So as we look at really accomplishing more with the technology, the question starts to be asked: There are thousands of apps and an app for just about anything, but when I look at getting things done and doing useful stuff, is there really an app for that?
This question becomes more pertinent when we start to look at using this technology in education. There is so much that students need to learn, and it seems like we get less and less time to teach. So is throwing technology at students going to make them more effective at learning? Maybe. It really comes down to the teacher pointing them strategically at using the technology for learning. Most teachers are overwhelmed by the number of apps available and frustrated by the number of apps that aren’t very good. So how do we sort through all of it? There are hundreds of lists out there of apps that are good for education, but I have yet to see one that actually lists the common core or any standards and links those objectives to apps that teach that concept. Most of the lists out there can quickly be out of date as new apps become available and old apps get updated. Reviews of apps in the app store is somewhat helpful, but I don’t know the people that gave the reviews, so it’s really hard to know if you can trust the review.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there are good and useful apps for getting things done and for teaching students, the question is how do we find them? And once we find them, how do we share what we found with other educators? I would really like to see a site where I can share my reviews of the apps I have and use and be able to see the reviews of apps by my friends. It would mean a lot more to me to see the review from a trusted colleague than that of someone I don’t know. It would also be nice to be able to link that app up with the standards and comment of how effective this apps is at teaching or supporting that standard.
I looked for a while and find anything that fits those needs, but I’m sure I haven’t seen every site yet. Comment and share what you do to qualify your apps, or where you go to find good apps. Everyone would appreciate what you have to share.
Bob Jackman is a native of Utah. He graduated with a BA in Music Performance with a teaching certificate from Southern Utah University. Bob taught at Fort Herriman Middle School for four years teaching instrumental music. During that time he earned a Masters of Music from the University of Utah. He spent two years providing Microsoft operating system technical support and 7 years providing technology support for teachers to help them more efficiently use technology to help students learn. This was done while he was in college and while teaching in Herriman. Bob loves technology and education and is excited to put the two together and help teachers use technology to improve student learning. Bob Jackman is the Education Consultant Supervisor at The Chariot Group, Inc.