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There's an App for That: Educating in an App World


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This keynote presentation was given at the 8th Annual Faculty Technology Showcase at Bloomfield College in New Jersey, January 2012.

This presentation addressed the then current advertising tagline that "There's an app for that" which has moved into education as a possible solution for many software needs. Apps – small, easy to download software for mobile devices – are changing how students use technology. It is also changing the way colleges design and deploy software. How are schools reacting to this app world? This presentation examines how mobile and web apps are currently being developed and used, and the ways educators can implement them for teaching and for campus-wide initiatives.

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There's an App for That: Educating in an App World

  1. 1. Ken RonkowitzTheres An NJIT, PCCC App For That:Educatingin an App World
  2. 2. Are you using: Cell Phone Blackberry iPhone or Android Kindle or other eReader iPad or other tablet Using an eTextbook Using an app in class1999 = Blackberry2004 = RSS, blogs, Web 2.02005 = podcasts, iTunes2006 = Video & vlog, Twitter, Google Apps2007 = iPhone, Kindle2008 = iPhone App Store, Android phone2010 = augmented reality, location-based apps, iPad2011 = cloud computing
  3. 3. Disruption What has changed?3 Waves of apps in education Pedagogical change What is down the road?
  4. 4. • Disruptive innovation - coined by Clayton Christensen• The process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves “up market’” eventually displacing established competitors.• Examples of disruptive innovation – cellular phones disrupting fixed line telephony – traditional full-service department stores being disrupted by online and discount retailers – Doctor’s offices being displaced by medical clinics – The traditional four-year college experience being displaced by community colleges, online learning and 
  5. 5. Disruptive Education• Companies tend to innovate faster than their customers’ lives change - newer phones but customers who dont want to upgrade yet - and so most end up producing products or services that are actually too good and too expensive for many of their customers.But the model for education….• In education, customers/students innovate faster than the schools. They have the technology in their hands before we have it and before we have a way to use it in our classrooms. So… are schools offering an inferior product for too high a price?
  6. 6. What Is Changing?• how students use technology• the way colleges design or purchase websites and software• how colleges deploy software• the ways educators can implement it for teaching• how colleges use it for campus-wide initiatives• And apps are driving the ways they are changing.• Is change easy? Is it being accepted?
  7. 7. • "This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo circa 1876• "I have anticipated radios complete disappearance ... confident that the unfortunate people who must now subdue themselves to listening in, will soon find a better pastime for their leisure." -- Science fiction author H.G. Wells circa 1925• "Television wont be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night." -- Film mogul Darryl F. Zanuck of 20th Century Fox, in 1946• "The cinema is little more than a fad. Its canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage." -- Charlie Chaplin circa 1916• "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." -- Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corp., circa 1977.
  8. 8. Web versus Mobile Apps
  9. 9. What are we doing with apps?
  10. 10. What Has Changed?
  11. 11. Software Distribution• App Store = vertical integration, tied to selling hardware, a 30/70% split, tight control, and centralized• But big & small developers can profit• Android Market = more “open”, less control, hardware fragmentation
  12. 12. Expectations• Easy downloads, updates, removal• Free or low cost (if it’s cheap enough, users won’t steal it; defeats the “sneaker network”)• A mobile/iPad version• Backup (cloud)• Always on/connected• Don’t want single-function gadgets (app stores for TVs, Ford cars…)• Live in public – share information
  13. 13. Devices are changing• What is a “computer”?• What size screen do we want to watch “TV”?• How many devices do we want? – One!• Where do we want the Net? – Windows 8, Phone 7, XBOX, Metro UI• Do schools provide the hardware, software or the network?
  14. 14. App Development• Then: Get an app• Now: Make it good• Multiple versions 11 Android OS versions - Still an Apple/Android/PC divide Will the cloud solve that?• Fast and light• UX - User experience is critical• Apps on appliances, consumer electronics, kiosks, checkouts, medical, eReaders, cars…
  15. 15. TOP 100 Paid AppsWhat does this sayabout app use? Ineducation?
  16. 16. AppsFor Education and In Education
  17. 17. Wave 1Adoption
  18. 18. Mathboard
  19. 19. XanEdu iPad App
  20. 20. Blackboard Mobile Learn
  21. 21.“MindTap is well beyond an eBook, a homework solution ordigital supplement, a resource center website, a course deliveryplatform or a Learning Management System.More than 70% of students surveyed said it was unlikeanything they have seen before.MindTap is a new personal learning experience that combines allyour digital assets – readings, multimedia, activities, andassessments— into a singular learning path to improve studentoutcomes.”
  22. 22. Wave 2 Adaption
  23. 23. USING Apps in Education
  24. 24. Mobile is more than phones… Tablets and iPads
  25. 25. • More visual content • More sophisticatedDesigning swipe/pinch & navigation for the • More interactivity tablet The Elements: A Visual Exploration
  26. 26. Pedagogical Change
  27. 27. “My Teacher Is An App”
  28. 28. “My Teacher Is An App” “Apps” are not online courses or virtual schools“In a radical rethinking of what it means togo to school, states and districts nationwideare launching online public schools that letstudents from kindergarten to 12th gradetake some—or all—of their classes fromtheir bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens.Other states and districts are bringingstudents into brick-and-mortar schools forinstruction that is largely computer-basedand self-directed.”
  29. 29. Are apps driving curriculum oris curriculum driving app development?
  30. 30. “For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many Socrates on the things without instruction and written word, will therefore seem to know many things, when they are forPhaedrus, 340 BC the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.”
  31. 31. Disruption?Student responsesystems (clickers)being displaced bymobile devices.Hardware oncesold bundled withtextbooks bypublishers nowsold as…apps by thosesame publishers.
  32. 32. Wave 3 Creation
  33. 33. Colleges Create
  34. 34. Early Use DevelopingAfter adopting & adapting • Parking & events using commercial apps… GPS• (RE)creating campus • Doing research in the maps & recruiting field materials • Software developed• Schedules specifically for a course,• Homework school, program• Grades• Registration
  35. 35. Do Schools Need To Develop Their Own Apps? To predict the future, you need to know the past• Look back to the development of – educational software – school websites• Are your school websites even ready for mobile, phones, tablets…? Do they support swipe, pinch, HTML 5, no Flash etc.
  36. 36. LIBRARYLibraries APP
  37. 37. • Locations, hours• Computer availability• Catalog search• Reference services – Not just “resizing the page”
  38. 38. The myRV mobileapplication for RaritanValley CommunityCollege gives you accessto: Classes, Grades,Campus Directory, News,Event Schedule, Library,FaceBook, Campus Map,and moredeveloped by CollegeMobile, Inc.
  39. 39. “iPhone apps: The hottest course on campus” apps_campus_classes.fortune/ 
  40. 40. “Porter says the challenge of smartphones is to treat them as more than small computers and to harness their mobile capacity. "The device always knows where it is," he says. So, for example, his students are working on an app called I Remember UMD that would create an ongoing time capsule as you move about the campus.” NJIT students released an iPhone app that ascended to Apple’s15th best-selling app in the Reference category at $1.99. The app,called Quotebook, allows people to store, sort, and share quotationson the iPhone and iPod touch. That app got them jobs – designingaps for The New York Times…
  41. 41. Taking Advantage of… Social Media
  42. 42. Mobile Learning Features + Apps
  43. 43. Microblogging has grown in the past few years because of mobile Microblogging platforms and location services - real-time interactions between users photo:
  44. 44. Who Should Be Microblogging?• Communications• Recruiting• Athletics – Programs – Courses • faculty
  45. 45. Location Awareness• Now: campus tours, events, social…• Next: field work, archaeology, surveying, civil engineering…
  46. 46. What’s next?
  47. 47. • Voice-powered artificial intelligence (AI) like Siri and Google Voice are shaping up to become the next-generation user interface.• Siri is a personal assistant application for iOS. The application uses natural language processing to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions such as search by delegating requests to an expanding set of web services. Siri on iPhone 4S
  48. 48. Back to TV?Maybe theconvergencedevice won’t bethe phone… backto big screens?From Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: “Id like to create an integratedtelevision set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly syncedwith all of your devices and with iCloud. No longer would users have tofiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It willhave the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
  49. 49. The Death of the Desktop?• Googles European Chief John Herlihy: "in three years time, [desktop computers] will be irrelevant."• Because of the ever-increasing sophistication and worldwide popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices – In Japan, those accessing via mobile phones eclipsed computer-Internet users in 2009• The death card syndrome and killer apps – death of the land line, laptop, iPod, mouse, monitor… – The iPhone or iPad doesn’t replace the computer – in fact, it needs it.
  50. 50. And so…• Schools are not ready, as March/April 2011 always, and lag behind many students’ use, understanding, interest, and expectations for technology.• We need better goals than “to use new technology”• Mobile & apps will be the ubiquitous computing• The digital divide is between students and faculty.
  51. 51. Ken