Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Swimming in a Sea of Apps!

When thinking about apps most people immediately associate them with gaming. With the explosive growth of mobile devices in classrooms across the nation, one can bet that mobile apps are now commonly utilized to facilitate learning in many classrooms. According to the Pew Internet Project 49% of all American teens have gone online in the last 30 days using their mobile phones, while 92% of those with smartphones have done the same. These devices are becoming more prevalent and providing educators with the opportunity to harness the power of mobile "learning" devices in the classroom through the use of apps.

The trick is finding the perfect app in a sea of over one million. Robbie Melton, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs a the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) understood the potential of apps in education and decided to create the TBR eLearning Initiative, a resource designed to assist educators looking for the perfect app to facilitate learning. This site allows educators to go to one site, describe what they would like to achieve, what device they would use and what audience they want to address. At this time over 40,000 educational apps are in the database. The beauty of this resource is the fact that each app goes through a curation process:
  • App-review teams evaluate mobile apps for teaching and learning
  • Quality-control standards for using mobile devices and apps in education and business are utilized
  • A set of common standards are used to categorize apps
  • A collection of data, case studies, and materials about how apps have been used in the classroom is provided
Not only has TBR established standards of quality for each app in the database, they also must meet ADA standards, and be content and age appropriate.

As more mobile devices are getting into the hands of students this site will become even more valuable

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