Apps aren’t creative, teachers and students are. Teaching with Apps–RGS session

My second session at the RGS’s New KS3 curriculum day was around apps.  The session was only 40 minutes long and therefore I focused on a few ‘killer’ apps and mainly around the thinking behind the use of Apps, which I didn’t restrict to those that are on mobile devices.

The main points were:

  • There are hardly and decent subject specific Apps – get over it.  Apps aren’t creative, students and teachers are.  It’s important to take Apps and subvert them for our own use.  This to me is more exciting than a subject specific App.  Start with a genuine teaching problem and take it from there.  The best thing is to ask and chat to others, both face to face and online.  A huge wealth of information and inspiration for me lies in our school’s IT support team and IT and computing teaching team.  Go and watch some lessons.  For example, I am sure that there is a geographical use for Sphero.
  • The story was based upon my own experience of BYOD policies in two schools. In both cases I have been lucky enough to be in a leading position.  To me, I am yet to be convinced of the 1:1 approach in terms of providing a set device.  I think it not only locks students and schools into one ecosystem, it just doesn’t reflect real life.
  • My criteria for choosing apps are as follows:


    • This comes from a BYOD background. It’s the behaviour and learning that matters, not the device.  Getting to know your school and the devices available is vital. That way, resources can be directed accordingly.  Most importantly, students need to be able to share their work (especially for effective feedback to occur) and display their work.
  • This is why we should be using technology:


    • Don’t agree? I’ll get over it.
  • What Apps can be used for is important:


    • Geographers are able to take devices out in to the field and often the substitution part of the SAMR model is great.  we don’t have to be cutting edge to justify the use of apps and tech!

I then went through a number of App examples, showing how they are multiplatform and finishing with a couple of projects that tied them all together.

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