How App-licable to education?
In 2007 I contributed to How to Create Podcast for Education, the publisher Mcgraw Hill has now released this book as an iPhone Application. The application enables users to read the book on a iPhone or iPod Touch.
This is the first iPhone Application released by the University of Leicester, this is something the University’s Press Office have shown an interest in, and this week interviewed me. During the interview I was asked all the usual question; What does it do? How do you get hold of it?…
However the most interesting question I was asked was what is the future of mobile applications in education? My initial thoughts were quite marketing based; Mobile Prospectus or an App for Freshers with maps of campus and information about the institution. My thoughts then moved Applications for organisation e.g. Timetables, links direct to institutional email and Blackboard VLE.
Of course the final consideration is can you deliver learning content in this way? There is a major question-mark over appropriateness of doing this. The book’s Application is availability on iTunes, only usable on an iPhone or iPod Touch, therefore if university were to produce learning content in this way they would have to ensure all students have these devises to access the learning. However, can/should institutions be stipulating what devise learners use, of course not, unless they are supplied. Therefore when it comes to Mobile Applications for learning, do institution have to develop Apps for all the smartphones, and if so is it worth it.
Therefore, when it comes to learning content for Mobile Applications, I think the future is not tying it one devise, but to ensure the content is accessible via the browsers on those device. If applications are to be used they must be optional, and improve efficiency of learning, not give an educational advantage of extra content.