Lions And Tigers And Bears (And Apps) Oh My (3:28 E.R.T.)

Over the weekend I was thinking about all of the educational tools and apps which are released on a daily basis, and how it is difficult to keep up with even some of them.  So this morning I spent some time trying to figure out how many there might be.  The first semi-reputable site I came across noted that the itunes store gets about 1000 apps a day.  And another site estimates there are around 2.2 million apps on google play and 2 million or so on itunes.  The same site, different statistic, estimates that around 9% of all apps on itunes are educational.  So I’d like to make a guestimate based on this info. Here are my assumptions.

  • Most developers probably develop for both platforms.
  • Since google play and itunes have about the same number of total apps, they probably have about the same number of apps a day.
  • So let’s round up to 10% of daily apps are educational to account for some apps only being uploaded to one place (and to make math easier)

So that means each day 100 educational apps are uploaded, or 36,500 a year.  That doesn’t even include software developers who don’t have apps.  If that is even feasible with marketing departments these days.  So it is impossible for a teacher, an instructional designer, or a campus technology department to keep up with all of these.  The best we can ever do is catch a glimpse of some of those which rise to the top.

So in that vein, I’d like to share a link of something which sounds like it is rising to the top, plickers.  In a discussion with a faculty member in Astronomy late last Friday he shared how he and a collegaue were using this app.  He printed a qr code so that if it was pointed one of four directions it could be the answer A, B, C, or D.  He printed up enough of these codes for all his students, laminated them, put velcro on the back of them, and put a spot for them to stick in the classroom with numbers above them.  The velcro is to keep the cards in the room for each class and other instructors, the students grab them when they come into class.   When he asks a question the students hold up the qr code pointing the direction of their answer, he pulls out his phone, scans the room, and boom he knows how students answered.  The students don’t know their classmates’ answers since he printed each letter in super small fonts, but it allows him that instant feedback to get a sense of if they get it or not.  He made the switch to help reduce student costs of clickers, but with the same effect.  For those at Parkland he hopes to do a presentation in the Center this Fall.

This post is about notetaking.  Yes I said in a previous post I’m bad at it, perhaps because it was never taught as a thinking skill or a study skill.  But the author offers several valuable ways to scaffold this for students.  As I’m finding with my own small children, apparently they do not come pre-loaded with language, reading, or a love for comic books and scifi.  I bet they don’t even know the quadratic formula either.  This is apparently something which must be acquired through lots of scaffolding, whether it is our children or our students.  If we want them to know something, we should be able to tell them why its important and how to do it.

The final post is from another blogger I follow, Bryan Alexander.  A few days ago he posted the first and today he posted the second.  They are both very tongue in cheek definitions of current educational and technological terms.  Perhaps you’re familiar with all of them or just a few.  Perhaps you’ll find out how the terms are used in tech circles because the definitions are very amusing.

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