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Mobile apps in the classroom

Voice thread

voice thread is a tool that allows you to discover, and comment on any previous voice thread. This can include powerpoints, or other presentations, pictures, videos, audio recordings or text. This can be a powerful tool in the classroom, as you can provide information directly to students, however they can use their mobile devices to add notes, or comments anywhere they please. this gives a lot of flexibility into what they actually want to learn, and how they learn. If they don't understand a concept however, they can share their voicethread, and either other students, or the teacher themselves can find and comment on the thread, and they can help each other out peer-to-peer.

Mindblowing

Mindblwoing's concept is greater than its functionability. As a big believer in cognitivism thinking, that you need to organize data in order to understand it, Mindblowing is a mind map app. It allows you to gather images, video and all other media, and put it into a mind map on your mobile device. You can color code, and connect ideas and parts of your mind map until it makes better sense. While the idea works in theory, unfortunately some bugs remain according to user reviews, and hopefully soon, they will either fix the app or some other publisher can take the idea and improve the mechanics of the app.

Duolingo

One of my personal favourites, Duolingo is a language learning tool. It treats language learning as a game of sorts, in that you have to complete levels in order to move up to the next level, and continually builds upon the last level. This way you increase your vocabulary in whatever your chosen language, yet it hardly feels like learning when you're simply playing the game. This is by far more a supplementary tool than any other tool, yet still very useful. In language classrooms, it is very important to constantly practice learning their new language, and if teachers could know their students can focus on their new second language, even if only for a few minutes outside of school, it can reinforce the lessons made in class. Students encourage each other through competitiveness, and a drive to move through the game, which means they continually want to learn and practice, and always progress through their language outside of class.

TED

The greatest gift a teacher can give to a student is to become a life long learner. The best way to do this, is to show students how to access information. TED is great for this, as all the open source lectures give great information, which, at the very least, gets students thinking about issues. TED, and its other smaller functions, can touch on subjects from global warming, to exercise and fitness, to how to tie your shoes properly. With such a variety of topics, its easy to get yourself caught deep into TED talk lectures very quickly, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most talks are inquisitive and interesting, and informative in most aspects. If the student can be guided towards subject areas of importance, either during class time or recommended viewing outside, it would be perfect, however, if they do explore the app, and discover ideas they like that are unrelated, the lesson can be just as valuable. TED talks are a way to provide information and new ideas into somebody's life outside of school, which, as a teacher, should be encouraged and expected of students in order to become life long learners, a goal every teacher should have for their students.

Teacher Kit

The teacher kit is more centered around teachers than students, but obviously has a role in the classroom. TeacherKit allows teachers to record attendance, grades, reports and make notes of students for recent behaviour and ideas. If the student begins to have too many red flags for attendance, poor grades or behavioural issues, the teacher is alerted through the app, and a plan of action can be thought up. This allows teachers to clearly see what is going on in class, and eases the pains of having to manually go through each student, and keep track of their progress. If a student is trending up, or downwards, its easy to notice and figure out whats causing this sudden change. This helps a student out immensely, particularly shy students that don't feel confident enough to ask a teacher for help if they're struggling. This way, its easier for the teacher to approach the student and understand the issues, perhaps helping to solve issues and create an environment for the student to learn to the best of their abilities.

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