August 28, 2012
Tablets and smartphones are becoming increasingly popularity, with apps becoming the go-to computing method for consumers and even business users. Not one to be left behind, the education sector is the next area that mobile computing is taking by storm, according to the Lehigh Valley Express-Times.
Computers have been used regularly in the classroom for over a decade, with most schools embracing the benefits of the technology and what it can bring to the development of young learners. However, most schools ban the use of cellphones on the premises, and haven't yet implemented tablets as a learning tool. Some teachers utilize an iPad or Android device for personal use such as grading and organization, but their benefits for students have not yet been realized - until now.
Joe Grady and Troy Pressens, teachers at Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, recently founded Study by App, a website dedicated to the creation of apps for learning. According to Grady, students are a lot more interested in their iPhones than their textbooks, so why not move those materials over on to the phone?
Study by App gives teachers the tools to design applications for iOS. According to Kelly Richards, a former associate of the two creators, apps can be particularly useful for teaching students with special needs. Children with autism, for example, are stimulated by the multi-sensory learning that mobile devices can provide and textbooks cannot.
Wichita Collegiate, a private school in Wichita, Kansas, also recently saw the benefit of replacing its textbooks with tablets, providing mobile devices to all students in the school from grades 5 to 12, according to KAKE.
"It's actually smashed the walls of the classroom I mean instead of having four walls to contain and the teacher as the expert in the room, it can open the kids up to the world," Instructional Technology Facilitator Laura Cusick told the news source.
One thing any teacher or school district that wants to implement tablets and apps in the classroom needs to remember is that design is everything with an app. Regardless of how useful an app can be for learning math or geography, students aren't likely to enjoy using it if the app isn't visually appealing. With this in mind, a school can invest in high-quality GUI design expertise to create apps that not only educate, but make learning appealing to students as well.