Questioning Your Need for Mobile Apps

This aspect of technological integration is going to be the most time consuming as well as require the most upkeep. Apps are living applications; they are constantly updating, scaling, growing, and disappearing. There is a likelihood that what words for you over the course of a class may no longer meet your needs the following when you are ready to engage a new set of students.

It can seem daunting and be hard to knwo where to begin, but there four questions that you can ask yourself when considering an app that can make your choices easier and the task more surmountable.

Does everyone have access?

While there are a lot of mobile platforms out there, the most popular are the iPhone and Android operating systems. Unfortunately, not every app that is available on one system is available on the other. Unless you are going to provide uniformity of access through classroom or district means, you must make sure that the apps you choose are available to everyone or you are going to leave a lot of students out in the cold.

Of course, having access to a single app across platforms is not always enough to ensure a uniform learning experience. Apps on different platforms can have different features. Make sure you test each version to assure that the aspects that are important to your lessons and classes are available across the board.

Is it necessary?

One of the traps that many schools at all levels feel into at the begining of the mobile computing era was trying to force the technology into classrooms before facilitators and curriculum designs could find a good use for it. There are a lot of apps out there that look cool and do cool things, but if they do not apply to your chosen topic or course of study, is it best to leave them to someone else.

What's the cost/benefit?

There are a lot of free apps out there to meet your needs but, occassionally, you just can't find one that does everything you wnat without having to pay. This is when you have to consider who is footing the bill for the access, although your funds will not be unlimited. If your district of school is willing to pay, you are likely to have a larger budget and more leeway about what to purchase and when. If you are asking students and parents to cough up the cash, you are going to need an understanding of the financial burden you are applying to a wide variety of households. If you are spending too much in either case, it may be a good idea to scale back your requirements and do more traditional classroom work.

Is it overly complicated?

While this question may be last on the list, it is likely most important. There is no point in trying to integrate and app that no one can use into a classroom. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using a new tool but, unless your class is aimed at teaching others to use the program, you should never require the use of something that needs its own class to use properly. There is a simple rule when it comes to this kind of thing; if it is easier to do it the traditional it the traditional way.