The New Landscape of App-based Learning
Educational apps are expanding the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom, making it more interactive, collaborative and engaging. And we know that when learners are more engaged, they are more motivated to perform better.
Thousands of educational apps cover every subject from Mathematics and Science to foreign languages and Sociology. Learners can manipulate maths equations using just a finger. Learners can look through an interactive periodic table, dissect a virtual frog and flip through the world’s largest collection of art. Facilitators can deliver engaging lessons, monitor progress, get instant feedback on learners, and stay organised.
More and more schools are investing in iPad carts, iPods and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. The face of education is undergoing a massive change – both learners and facilitators have access to an unquantifiable number of educational apps that can be found online. Study material for all areas of learning from kindergarten to university is readily available online, offering a unique method to deliver lessons and engage learners.
The top 10 Benefits of using Apps in the Classroom
- Combined text books, writing implements, calculators, word processors, etc., all in one media tablet.
- Learners taking control of their own learning.
- A touch-screen interface allows learners to interact more efficiently with their studies.
- Tailor-made education programmes for each learner.
- Instantaneous and continuous access of information through Wifi and 3G/4G.
- Learners have connectivity anywhere within school premises, thanks to cloud based computing. There is no need to allocate large budgets for computer power that is not necessary anymore.
- From digital textbooks, to tests and to homework, there’s potential to save huge amounts of money through paperless education.
- Apps are available for children with cognitive learning problems and there are also accessibility tools like the voice recognition technology.
- There are a vast number of free or low cost apps that are excellent for the classroom.
- Children are eager to embrace new technology.
Getting StartedSangita Sawhney
It is helpful to begin by setting goals as to which app to introduce. You may find that selecting an app is easier after considering what you want learners to learn from it, and why.
You might begin by exploring questions like:
- How can you best communicate your enthusiasm about a particular subject to learners?
- What might help them get over roadblocks around a topic or lesson?
The classroom comes alive when the learners are deeply engaged and motivation and retention are improved. Assess an app’s engagement level by:
- The app’s first impression – inviting and intriguing.
- Its intuitiveness.
- Is it the one that learners will return to often.
- New ays to learn.
Determine whether an app is developmentally appropriate by:
- Age appropriate user interface.
- Appealing subject matter to the intended grade level.
- Appealing design.
Evaluate whether the app’s design is in tandem with your learning goals.
- Effective communication of subject matter.
- Alignment to learning goals of learners.
- Does the app build on skills?
- Relevant opportunities for feedback, assessment, and reflection.
- Personalised or adaptive features based on a learner’s skill level.
In addition to the accessibility features, many apps can help reach learners with special learning needs.
- Range of levels for an assortment of users with varying skill levels.
- Multiple learning modalities.
- Personalised user interface.
- Features such as voice over or captioning.
Enjoy the Adventure
It’s an exciting time of innovation in learning and education. We are seeing apps that provide engaging multi-touch, rich experiences those which were not possible earlier. With so many amazing education apps available and more being developed all the time, there’s no limit to the exciting possibilities for learning.