M-learning


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Apps (applications) are small pieces of software which are downloaded from the internet, have specific and limited functionality (as opposed to the general functionality of a web browser), may run with or without internet access, and are typically inexpensive or even free.

Apps designed for Android devices are available from Google Play (formerly the Android Market) (see image on left). Apps designed for Apple devices such as the iPhone or iPad are available from the iTunes Store (see image on right). Apps for BlackBerry devices are available from BlackBerry App World and those for Windows devices are available from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

There are thousands of educational apps, designed to cover all subject areas and all levels. Most are web 1.0 in orientation. Their value lies in their convenience and accessibility, but most are pedagogically very traditional: they primarily involve information transmission and/or repetitive, behaviourist style drills, quizzes and puzzles. Many e-books and e-textbooks fit into this category. Teachers can create their own mobile phone quizzes at Mobile Study or Mobiode.

We are now beginning to see the emergence of more creative and collaborative apps, which is an area to watch over coming years. Typical examples include generic (non-subject-specific) apps like GarageBand and iMovie, which became available for Apple's iPad 2 in 2011. These are more web 2.0 in orientation.

Moving even further in a web 2.0 direction, teachers and students can now create their own apps for Apple and Android devices using a variety of app-building services such as, for example, Appery.io, AppMakr, Appsbar, Appy Pie, Como, GoodBarber, iBuildApp, Magmito, MIT App Inventor (for Android), Red Foundry, SCVNGR Builder (for creating mobile games), ShoutEm and TinyTap (for creating interactive exercises). Ko-Su is a mobile educational platform where teachers can create their own activities for their students. E-books in the open e-pub format can be created using a variety of software, including Apple's Pages. E-books can also be created in a proprietary variant of the e-pub format for use on Apple devices by using iBooks Author.

If you're searching for particular apps, try the Quixey search engine. For suggestions on useful educational, organisational and other apps, see:




Credits: The image above left is a screenshot of educational apps available from the Android Market (taken on 18 Jan 2012) and the image above right is a screenshot of educational apps available from the iTunes store (taken on 18 Jan 2012). I owe the Appery.io, AppMakr, Appy Pie, GoodBarber, Magmito and ShoutEm links to Rania Soliman, the Ko-Su link to Ohood Al Yafei, and the TechRadar link to Jenny Kessell.

Contact: There's no such thing as a finished wiki. Like all wikis, this one is a work in progress and there will be changes from time to time in organisation, content and links. However, don't let that stop you from contacting me at any time with comments, suggestions or questions.