Exploring Mobile Apps for Learning,Teaching & Assessmen...
Exploring Mobile Apps for Learning,Teaching & Assessment – February 2017 event round-up
Today saw the first of our 2017 staff development events on Exploring Mobile Apps for Learning, Teaching & Assessment (previously Appy Hour). On this occasion we also included a couple of apps to aid productivity as we were joined by professional services colleagues too.
In this short, one hour session, we used Apple TV to mirror the iPad up to the presenter screen to demonstrate several useful apps. Those who wanted to, were able to follow along on their own tablet or smartphone.
First we had a look at Tiny Scanner. This free app works with iPad/iPhone iOS 7.0 or later and Android 3.0 and up. It turns your phone or tablet into a portable scanner. From the app, simply photograph your document using the device’s camera and it’s instantly converted into a high quality PDF. You can then share by email, Airprint, Dropbox, Evernote, Google drive or Wifi. Although we didn’t have time to test it today, the app blurb states that it also has a batch mode which combines multiple scans into a single PDF. This app proved very simple to use, and with a clear scanned image.
Next was the turn of Wunderlist. This free app works with iPad/iPhone iOS 8.0 or later and Android. If you like creating to-do lists, then this could be the app for you. Click and create a list then tap to add a ‘to do’ or item to your list. To each ‘to do’ you can set a due date, add a reminder, attach a file, or even create a sub-task. Then from the Inbox view, click Share to add someone to your list. Great for collaborating with friends or colleagues. You can even tick your ‘to do’s’ as complete, receiving a satisfying strike through on that item so you can see at a glance what’s been achieved. Wunderlist instantly syncs between your phone, tablet and computer, so you can access your to-dos from anywhere.
RefME is a citation tool which lets you scan book or journal barcodes using your device’s camera to instantly generate a citation. If you don’t have a barcode, you can search in the app by Book/Article Title, ISBN, ISSN, DOI or URL. If you need to cite a website, you can paste in the URL to generate the citation. The app works for a variety of citation styles including Harvard. We tried out the barcode scanner, which worked perfectly, and could potentially save valuable time when you’ve got lots of citations to make. It’s also worth checking if you have an institutional account which unlocks more features, so try logging in with your university or college credentials. Note: according to the RefME site, on 28 February 2017 RefME will become Cite This For Me.
Everyone liked Pocket, a great app for anyone who gets distracted reading online articles, watching videos etc. Again it’s free and works with iPad/iPhone iOS 8.0 or later and Android 4.0.3 & up. Follow the wizard to set up offline access and the share extension which places the Pocket icon in your iPhone/iPad sharing toolbar. Then, when you find an article or video that you’d like to save for later, just click the Pocket icon from the sharing toolbar and your item will be saved. It’s similar to using Pinterest. Then, when you’ve got time, just click the Pocket app and you’ll be able to read the articles you put in your ‘pocket’. Pocket also makes suggestions for content you might be interested in, and people you might like to follow.
For those of us who despair when trying to get a group of people to agree on a time/date or to make choices such as where to go for a team night out, we had a look at Doodle. Doodle allows you to suggest a number of time/date options, or other choices such as venues or subjects, and invite others to electronically select their preferences. It’s free and works with iPad/iPhone iOS 8.0 or later and Android 4.1 and up. People receiving a Doodle poll don’t need the app or an account to participate. Then, you can view the results and plan accordingly. This could be a useful app to let students select slots for tutorials or to choose a topic they’d like to focus on in a seminar. We made a test poll in the session which only took a few minutes to create and was very straightforward to share.
Finally, we squeezed in a quick look at Educreations. This is an interactive whiteboard where you can create a ‘lesson’ using a whiteboard-style screen. You can annotate using the virtual pen, add images and basic narration. You can save your lessons in draft (but only one draft is permitted at a time in the free version) and share with others. We had a little trouble saving our test lesson today, however everyone felt it was an app worth exploring further. It could be useful for explaining small pieces of learning, for example showing the solution to a maths problem while narrating what you’re doing. As with all the apps we tried out today, there’s a paid-for option which provides additional functionality.
Have you tried out any of these apps? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments box below.