Prior to the research I completed on using apps in an education milieu I did not realize how technology is influencing student engagement and learning. For instance, I was not aware of the degree that apps can be used in education or how students are using apps to connect to learning material in a ubiquitous fashion. As an example, students can use the Dropbox app to have access to websites, articles, and books at a touch of a finger (Young, p.13, 2011). I was also surprised how assigned readings can be uploaded electronically through an app or saved in Dropbox for easy access anytime and anywhere. I have a greater appreciation and broader understanding of our participants who attend our training (http://ipsociety.ca/training/social-work-program/) and state that they would rather have an electronic version of the manuals and that we waste paper. Overall, I am more aware of the influence apps can have in learning and education rather than just as a tool to download music through iTunes.
The trend to use apps appears to be becoming more common as consumers are using mobile phones, iPads, and tablets to access information instantly. In terms of education many schools and institutions are choosing iPads for their versatility and mobility, as well as iPads abundance of tools (Powell, 2014). I am intrigued by how teachers can track learning through the use of apps and this also is an opportunity to provide students with feedback on progress. I think for myself personally I have started to download apps on my iPad and iPhone to see how they work. As an example, prior to my house move, I downloaded a “Moving day app” which tracked and counted down the number of days till moving day. While it is not necessarily an educational app it was something fun and gave me a new experience of using an app. In order to address the trends in the use of apps for education, I have started to research some blogs and websites online that identify apps for iPads. As an example, I have reviewed http://www.appshopper.com and I have also reviewed iTunes apps with more scrutiny for educational purposes.
Reflecting on the Skype conference call I was actually surprised by what appears to be a limitless use of apps in education. My learning partner shared articles about google apps and their application and I was not aware of the magnitude of its use in education. I was surprised to hear how google apps are being used in student assessment. For instance, google apps are being used to monitor student assignment and tracking progress and providing feedback throughout the assignment rather than waiting till the assignment is finished and handed in.
In terms of the Skype conference call, I was initially hesitant and concerned that it would not be a beneficial use of my time or my learning partner’s time. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I was conveying the content of my articles to hear myself being able to articulate the concepts as I initially felt that I really didn’t know the content or what I was talking about. I think I was also reluctant because I felt so unfamiliar with blogs and had a lot of anxiety about posting and creating the blog. Further, I initially felt anxious about logging onto the Skype call because it is not part of my technology repertoire; however, that is now changing!