Mobile Apps for the K-12 Classroom
1. Audubon Birds
Audubon Birds is a mobile app that contains much of the information found in the legendary Audubon Birding Handbook. This app contains information on over 820 bird species, featuring over 3200 first-class images. Also featured is high quality audio clips of bird calls as well as detailed maps regarding seasonal and migratory range. Also coming in handy is the ability to filter birds by colour, shape, size and region. You are also able to create an account that enables you to keep detailed bird lists and share your sightings with classmates.
THis app could be very handy in a High School Biology course, particularly during nature walks and/or field trips. This app could take the place of a traditional birding handbook. That being said, I would be concerned about the suitability of mobile devices if the weather turned foul. In that context, you would probably want to ensure that students have adequate weather-proof bags. This app could also come in handy as a study-aid if you were doing a unit on birds.
Below is an image of the app at work!
2. Human Anatomy Atlas: Visible Body
The Human Anatomy Atlas: Visible Body app is a comprehensive 3D guide to human anatomy and physiology. This app contains rotational 3-D models of the insides of the human body. Therefore, this app allows you to view a multitude of anatomical features, including the skeleton, musculature, brain and reproductive system. This app also contains tons of definitions and the ability to create notepads for studying.
In a High School Biology class this app could be very handy during any units on physiology and anatomy. The 3D nature should make visualization much easier than in images found in traditional 2D textbooks. Also, as a study aid, I am sure it will beat lugging around a huge textbook all the time. Using this app, a student could easily study on the bus or in the car!
GarageBand is a mobile app that allows users to record music using the built-in microphone on their mobile device. GarageBand also has a plethora of synthesizers and drum machines that users can use through a virtual keyboard on their touchscreen. In my own personal experience I have used GarageBand to create a number of near-professional sounding demos using only my built-in microphone. And it is super user-friendly to boot!
In a classroom, however, I think the best use of GarageBand may not be a musical one. Given its user-friendly nature, GarageBand is fantastic for recording podcasts, radio plays and audio documentaries. In one of my university classes I was personally able to use GarageBand to record a podcast regarding a current topic in Plant Ecology. Using GarageBand I was able to swifly edit together audio of my own voice, interviews with leading scientists and appropriate background music. All in all it ended up sounding pretty darn slick!
iSpartan is a mobile app that allows you to view 3D molecular models on your mobile device. This app can transfer 2D "line models" into 3D models, much like the kind made with chemistry model sets. I can see this app being pretty handy in a high school chemistry class. From my own experience, I always kind of hated using chemistry model sets - it seemed as though I was always spilling it all over the floor! This app could also work as a good study-aid, ecspecially while students are in transit!
Mitosis is a mobile app that take you deep inside the wild world of cell division! Mitosis offs you an interactive learning experience where you can view cells in the process of dividing, as well as lots of video. Cell division is an integral/foundational component of the biology curriculum, and hopefully this app would help cement key concepts. It is a process that oft times does not "come alive" to students when viewed on paper. Also, once again this app could allow students to learn in on-the-go situations when textbooks do not come in handy.