What are Mobile Apps?

There is a revolution that is taking place in software development that parallels the changes in recent years in the music, publishing, and retail industries. Mass market is giving way to niche market, and with it, the era of highly priced large suites of integrated software has shifted to a new view of what software should be. Smartphones such as the Galaxy, iPhone, and Android have redefined what we mean by mobile computing, and in the past three to four years, the small, often simple, low-cost software extensions to these devices — apps — have become a hotbed of development. New tools are free or sell for as little as 99 cents. A popular app can see millions of downloads in a very short time, and that potential market has spawned a flood of creativity that is instantly apparent in the extensive collections available in the app stores. These retail phenomena provide an easy, fast, and totally new way to deliver software that reduces distribution and marketing costs significantly. Apple’s app store opened in July 2008; Google’s followed in October of that year. By September 2012, more than 55 billion apps had been sold or downloaded; simple but useful apps have found their way into almost every form of human endeavor. Mobile apps are particularly useful for learning as they enable people to learn and experience new concepts wherever they are, often across multiple devices.

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Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Oct 30, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - rnidhubhda rnidhubhda Feb 5, 2015 I feel at this stage that mobile apps are not just relevant, but expected. I find the BlackBoard app invaluable.
  • Important as part of this discussion to keep an eye on Responsive Web Design, HTML5 developments, etc. also. The continued evolution and growing frequency of this will/may have an impact on the actual need for a certain amount of apps. For instance, if the same service can be viewed and used cleanly by visitors regardless of device or platform, the need for apps for multiple platforms and OS becomes less relevant. Many apps are now just 'launchers' to open a responsive site. - enda.donlon enda.donlon Feb 13, 2015
  • - Larry.McNutt Larry.McNutt Feb 15, 2015They could have a profound influence on how we design current and future learning environments. Provided we prioritise further investigation on what and how our learners use mobile apps from a range of perspectives including Connecting (Gmail, Facetime, WhatsApp), Organising (Evernote, TheBrain), Learning (ITunes, UDEMY, iBooks), content creation and social media….
    These are our building blocks – they exist!
  • Especially creative apps, and those that support and promote the design and development of new/original digital and multimedia artefacts and products. - tony.hall tony.hall Feb 21, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - Larry.McNutt Larry.McNutt Feb 15, 2015The App Ecosystem - An individual APP in isolation can be seen as a insignificant contribution. But the APP ecosystem in its totality provides a model where the learner is choosing what best suits their needs. An approach that views these "collections of learners apps and experiences" as an ecosysystem - flips the challenge to focus on how we can best support and embed their choices in learning environments.
  • An educational design approach/methodology, to try to develop the technology in a bespoke fashion for the given context of learning, its specific exigencies and requirements. - tony.hall tony.hall Feb 21, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on third-level education in Ireland?

  • - Larry.McNutt Larry.McNutt Feb 15, 2015The potential is significant provided we can address the ongoing issues of (i) pedagogical arguments that mobile apps contribute to “learner distraction” (ii) IT Services challenge of supporting a seamless wireless infrastructure (iii) quality assurance frameworks prioritising enabling policies e.g. BYOD.
  • High potential; agree with above comment re: the complex socio-technical ecosystem of mobile learning deployment, which includes: apps, devices, multimodal and multi-touch interfaces, and interoperability infrastructures. - tony.hall tony.hall Feb 21, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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