FETC 2014: 5 ways to find better apps

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, @eSN_Meris
January 31st, 2014

Tech expert says better apps come from sharing, not presenting

apps-learning-FETCThere’s a growing movement among educators to go beyond naming “cool” apps; a backlash against the often-overwhelming lists of ‘100 Greatest Education Apps Ever!’ Instead, educators want apps that truly make a difference in the classroom—and the best resource? Their own know-how.

“Too often I was asked to lead professional development [PD] sessions where I’d have to list a bunch of apps specific to, say, administrators or to science teachers. And it would take me forever and I honestly didn’t have any better idea than they did,” explained Jamie Averbeck, tech integration coach for Wisconsin’s Ashwaubenon School District, during the 2014 Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando.

“I thought: Why am I doing this? Why am I finding apps when teachers and administrators can do it themselves and probably better find what they’re looking for?” he mused.

(Next page: 5 ways to get better apps, app PD)

1 2 3 Read More »

2 Responses to “FETC 2014: 5 ways to find better apps”

January 31, 2014

I agree wholeheartedly that providing lists of educational apps is nonproductive–a practice that goes back to lists of online educational games where the educator has to try a 100+ resources to find the two or three that are worth using. However, sharing finds within one’s department or school still requires educators to preview and download numerous apps, which can take a significant amount of time.

In contrast, presentations that provide case studies of how a particular app was successfully used in the classroom, along with the specific adaptations made for differences in student abilities and learning styles, would be more helpful and would provide an effective meta-model for teachers to follow when implementing new apps into the classroom. Also important to discuss during such presentations is whether the app is worth recommending to parents for home use, as well as the district guidelines for communicating such recommendations. Here is an example for providing “suggested play” to parents for an educational game for home use: