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.

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

  • mLearning or Learning in hand is a new thrend and Big Thing in XXI Century Education . mLearning technology give us the opportunity to learn everywere using iphone or other mobile devides . Now when Microsoft acquied Nokia, this Big Ed Tech Giant will launch many windows phones - LucianeCurator LucianeCurator Oct 9, 2013
  • Within K-12 'app snacking' offers enormous flexibility as opposed to larger software suites that offer 90% extra functionality (and complexity) this is not needed or even wanted. In K-12 education IT management is difficult to organize (no people, no money), the easy selection, self installation, non-management (none needed) and removal of apps is an enormous shift. Teachers can do this themselves, often not needing approval because many apps are free. They can experiment, improvise and learn much faster than before. This is crucial to innovation in eduaction.- M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Oct 29, 2013- u.simmetsberger u.simmetsberger Oct 30, 2013- iivanov iivanov Oct 30, 2013 - Pieter.Swager Pieter.Swager Oct 30, 2013 - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

  • The ease of getting and installing mobile apps on your devices make it possible for teachers of any subject (not only IT) manage implementation of ICT into their teaching directly. The low costs of mobile apps not only saves money but also brings flexibility. There are hundreds of examples when teachers were forced to use some particular software for years only because schools spend an enormous amount of money on them. This has definitelly prevented innovation. Finally, pupils can take deeper responsibility of their learning as usually they are the ones to find good mobile apps or even offer ideas for new ones. - stasele.riskiene stasele.riskiene Oct 22, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Oct 29, 2013- iivanov iivanov Oct 30, 2013 - Pieter.Swager Pieter.Swager Nov 2, 2013 - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

  • I agree it´s great that via apps teachers are so much more flexible regarding the use of ICT in teaching, and I totally second the frustration at being dependent, like it or not, on the specific software equipment of one´s school. At the same time I can well imagine school heads being afraid of losing control over who is using what; and there are bound to be parents who appreciate the use of apps and others that don´t.- helga helga Oct 26, 2013- iivanov iivanov Oct 30, 2013
  • In Danish Schools we also see several examples of students, teachers and schools producing their own apps. Some of them are distributed for free to the schools own students and some as example Math formula collection are sold on commercial basis.- claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Oct 30, 2013 This is great, and I see huge potential there, it is another way of "make" things - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

  • Apps for ed can be free - they enable teachers and children to use in a cross curricular way - developing skills - there is also a low IT threshold for teachers using these within the classroom - also with apple launching apps for education it is also easier to search. With teachers who have been at the forefront of using mobile technology in the classroom their blogs are a source for other teachers to use and see how these have been implemented iin the classroom - two examples are : http://ictevangelist.com/ and http://ictevangelist.com/ - dawn.hallybone dawn.hallybone Oct 30, 2013dawn - iivanov iivanov Oct 30, 2013

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

  • Developers can react to a need or question and deliver an app within weeks instead of months or years. They receive immediate feedback through apps stores (ratings, remarks) and can improve their products much faster than before. This speeds up the whole innovation cycle which is crucial to improvement in both the apps and the use of them in eduaction.- M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Oct 29, 2013
  • Developers with a laptop and a good idea can enter the market and offer an app within weeks, no large upfront investments are needed, no distribution deal or large publisher/manufacturer or big IT platform is needed. The barrier to entry therefore is much lower than it was, this will spawn much more innovation and competition than before. Education will benefit from this.- M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013 - - helga helga Oct 26, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Oct 29, 2013 - Pieter.Swager Pieter.Swager Nov 2, 2013
  • The adoption of apps, both by teachers and their students/parents greatly expands the 'Personal Learning Environment' mentioned in Horizon 2013. Anything adressed by apps can be left out of formal education software, lowering cost, management and time needed by schools. There are some nuances regarding intellectual property, privacy concerns, etc. but apps will have their impact as cloud computing did.- M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Oct 29, 2013 - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Oct 30, 2013- My impression is that in Germany those nuances matter a lot to some teachers, parents and particularly legislators. So, regrettably, things are not as easy, innovative and future-minded over here as perhaps in other countries. - helga helga Oct 26, 2013
  • In addition to free apps there are also the ones which cost very little but are of enormous educational value. However, school budget policies often prevent teachers and pupils from taking an advantage of these. New policies or schemes should be made to allow schools to buy apps in bulk (like Apple Volume Purchase Scheme in the USA) or to make this process easier and more efficient in any other ways. - stasele.riskiene stasele.riskiene Oct 22, 2013
  • With the number of mobiles apps increasing so rapidly there is an urge for classification or repository so that educators can take the best of it. - stasele.riskiene stasele.riskiene Oct 22, 2013 - A brilliant thought - helga helga Oct 26, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Oct 29, 2013- u.simmetsberger u.simmetsberger Oct 30, 2013 Agree and also use and age range - dawn.hallybone dawn.hallybone Oct 30, 2013 Metadata would help - roger.blamire roger.blamire Oct 30, 2013 - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

  • The aspect of students learning to program them is great. Appinventor or other services are good to let students to experiment - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on European schools education?

  • As mentioned above, more flexibility for teachers in their preperation, choices and actual use of software in their class. They are more independent in their experimentation, can own their own learning process and also require more 'breathing space' from their institutions. Schools can't stop this development, but they can frustrate it, loosing ambitious teachers and keeping the ones that don't want to adopt new technology (no time to choose more nuanced words to say this ;-) - M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013 - totally agree- helga helga Oct 26, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Oct 29, 2013 - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Oct 30, 2013 - iivanov iivanov Oct 30, 2013 agree - Pieter.Swager Pieter.Swager Oct 30, 2013
  • Students and their Parents will not wait / have not waited untill teachers/schools start using apps and get organized. At home this process is well underway, but it is not connected (yet) to what is going on at school. This is a big problem in 2 ways: parants can't contribute very effectively to what is done at school (they are not informed an a daily basis about what's going on in school); teachers don't know what children are doing at home and what impact that has on work at school (they are not informed on a daily basis about what's going on at home). Both teachers and parents need more dialogue than two parent/teacher meetings a year.....- M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Oct 29, 2013- u.simmetsberger u.simmetsberger Oct 30, 2013- iivanov iivanov Oct 30, 2013
  • Simplicity of software management and flexibility in implementing innovational ideas (either app development or usage) . - stasele.riskiene stasele.riskiene Oct 22, 2013
  • I think the impact of mobile phones, and therefore mobile apps, will be quite limited. Teachers can't assume that every student will have a smart phone, even in private fee-paying schools, so teachers can't ask students to use them. Some students may choose to use them as a reference source, for example to look up spellings, or to help them memorise material such as vocabulary or formulae. Any device with a very small screen and a tiny keyboard is inherently unsuitable for much reading and writing, which is what studying requires.- paul paul Oct 28, 2013
  • cost - budgets are being decreased can not assume that all chidlren will have use of technology at home especially within the primary sector - dawn.hallybone dawn.hallybone Oct 30, 2013
  • I see, moreover, potentiality in learning to develop them, in a basic level - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Check out www.eduapp.nl which is a small startup that sets out to document apps, offering metadata about its suitability (level, topic, age, etc.) and offering school the opportunity to organize the set of apps that they are using in their education. Kennisnet supports this initiative.- M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013
  • This is an app created by my pupil for learning irregular verb forms. This clearly illustrates the ease of creating and sharing apps. - stasele.riskiene stasele.riskiene Oct 22, 2013
  • Two Austrian teenagers recently created an app for revising vocabulary: http://www.edugroup.at/innovation/news/detail/schuelerinnen-programmieren-vokabel-app.html - u.simmetsberger u.simmetsberger Oct 30, 2013

  • http://www.meetup.com/The-London-Educational-Games-Meetup-Group/#past London Educational Games also #legup on twitter and their website http://edugameshub.com/ since 2011 been looking at connecting developers and educators to discuss apps and help to develop apps that meet the needs of the educational market - a great development - dawn.hallybone dawn.hallybone Oct 30, 2013
  • Start up weekends can be a fantastic source of developing ideas - both mobile and others - gathering educators and developers together
  • Apps for Good is a program in which school students identify issues in their environment or community that could be improved by design and development of an App. The students work through a design process and if they progress may work with a developer team to build and test the App, or develop the App themselves. The program has been developed by CDI Europe, and has gained considerable traction. More info at http://www.appsforgood.org - Gavin Gavin Oct 30, 2013

  • I love my smartphone programme developed in Scotland - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013