Posts Tagged ‘ smartphones ’

there’s an (educational) app for that

I’m part of a Hot Team looking into the possibilities of smart phone apps and their potential for teaching, learning & research. This is my first opportunity to be part of a Hot Team and I’m looking forward it. (You can see previous Hot Team topics here.) Our process is very similar to the Educause 7 Things You Need to Know review of products. In our process, we bring together a small team of people with different interests and skill sets to explore a technology or process that may have positive implications for higher education. We explore areas such as the items potential, strengths, & limitations as well as take a look at what others are doing with it.

Smart phones have tremendous power because, they are small, which means they are mobile, and powerful, they are many devices in one. The influx of apps keeps adding to their dynamism. Some data, such as from research done by the Pew Internet & Society, indicates they are quickly becoming the device of choice for most demographic groups, including low-income and other, oftentimes disenfranchised, populations that can’t afford or are not able to get in on the latest technology.

The Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article on January 2, 2011 covering six smartphone apps for education (read it here). A colleague, and partner on the Hot Team, wrote about his take on it here. Personally, I’m very intrigued by the potential of smartphones being a recent owner of one myself. I dropped my old phone in the middle of College Ave. and busted the screen. In the short time I’ve owned it I’ve used the level app to hang things, the flashlight app to find my wife’s phone (it fell out of her coat pocket in the movie theater. We were seeing the latest Harry Potter), and the GPS app. Not to mention the social media apps like Facebook and Twitter that I take for granted along with web browsing, email, text messaging, and, oh yes, the occasional call. Then there’s Pandora, which allows me to listen to music, and Dropbox, which allows me to share files among all my devices….I could go on but you get the point.

However, now I’m being asked to look at it from a different perspective. Does it have benefits for teaching, learning, and research? And, I’m keeping an open mind about it; approaching this perspective with a healthy skepticism. So. I’ll begin my journey with a question to all of you. What do you see, if anything, as potential for higher education? Have you used any apps, either personally or as part of a course? What was the experience like? Please share.