The explosion of ‘apps’ in education. Is there a place for third party applications in the classroom?

This year will see the adoption of applications by staff and students on the OS X platform.


One of the big advantages of an Apple portable device (called an iOS device) is the way it displays and handles an application.  Where we are used to navigating folders to launch software and save pieces of work, the iOS device is too limited on screen real estate.  A one tap approach was developed as a solution for this.


Very quickly this simple method of delivering news, email, entertainment and even educational material proved popular amongst users and developers.  I had many teachers requesting the support in the use of certain apps which they were using on their iPhone.  They wanted their students to use the apps too, obviously not possible unless you give each student an iPod Touch or an iPad!


Applications in the classroom.

Apple have made a conscious decision to bring back this ‘one tap approach’ to the
OS X platform.


“We took our best thinking from Mac OS X and brought it to the iPhone. Then we took our best thinking from the iPhone and brought it to iPad. And now we’re bringing it all back to the Mac”


This means that the “app” is finally arriving on our desktops/laptops.


There is no doubt that the use apps can aid education significantly and has a place in schools.  The educational app market will benefit Maths, Science and English the most.  But as with anything new our teachers will need direction.


The creation of content.

With the adoption of the apps we also need to encourage the creation of content.


Teachers will be able to penetrate the students immersion in this ‘app’ world by creating content.  One example of this is in the .ePub (electronic publication) format.  This process is remarkably easy to do and means that work sheets, exam papers, project guidelines etc can be produced in Pages and saved as an ePub format.  This can then be pushed out to the students who will begin to consume the material in a few different ways.


The process is an exciting opportunity, but one that throws up a few obstacles.


How are students expected to access apps with a price tag?

Without an iTunes account with a credit card attached user can only download free apps.


Obviously you need each student running their own Mac - only available in 1:1 schools?

Tags: App, Apple, Applications, Apps, Eduction, Mac, OS, Store, X

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