Giving Students a Voice in App Selection

Traditionally, teachers research apps for their class. They assign apps to students.  The teachers assign a specific app or give students a choice of several pre-selected apps.  As a Modern Language teacher, I suggested apps to my students in the early part of the year.

However, in January, I let my students select which apps they wanted to use based on their own app searching and a minimal checklist.  I just gave them a topic to search as “food”. I asked them to look at  two or more apps that had the same topic.  My minimal checklist includes: has a comprehensive list  of words, phrases, or sentences for the topic;  gives the written Spanish word and its definition (or included a picture); pronounces the word; is  free; and is available on both Android and Ipad. The app gets extra points if it uses the words or phrases in sentences or questions.  The app also receives extra points if  the app provides practice on the words.

I found that when I let my students select which apps they wanted to use based on their own app searching and a minimal checklist, they actually used the app. In fact, they often commented to other students about their great app for the topic. They willingly showed me the app. They shared stories about where they were when they were using the app (supposedly helping Mom in the grocery store!).

More importantly, they learned the critical vocabulary for the topic from the app so they were ready to use the vocabulary in their communicating about the topic.

Who selects apps for your students?

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 5 Modern Language Visual activities in which students  express themselves in the modern language and move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Considering Home Learning When Doing Mobile

Many schools are going mobile or one-to-one.  Schools sometimes make decisions without thinking about the full consequences such as mobile and home learning.

If schools supply mobile devices to the students, do the students take the mobile devices home?   If students do not take the mobile device home, then mobile is only considered an in-school learning tool.  Teachers cannot assign at home mobile work.  Students can not learn 24/7.

Schools may not supply a mobile device  for home because they assume that students have a mobile device at home. Do all students have the same mobile device as used in school? Do all students have an iPad? What about those with Android tablets? Chrome?  Do teachers assign at home mobile work for a specific machine for a specific app?  Or do teachers assign mobile tool assignments such as taking pictures, videorecording an event and  reading an ebook   that can be done on any mobile device?  Do teachers limit those students who can do the assignment at home or do they provide for the widest base possible so that all students can do the assignment?

Likewise, teachers will want to use free apps. No student should have to pay for an app for school.  An alternative is for the  district to obtain a license so students can use a specific app for multiple platforms ( Android, iPads and Chrome) at school and at home.

For BYOD schools, the same basic questions apply.  BYOD schools  accept multiple devices; they promote including all devices.  Teachers focus not on a specific app but on the learning purpose and use common tools or common apps that work on many devices.  All mobile devices can search the Internet or go to Internet sites so teachers ask students to do a Google image search for the different images for a specific scene in a play and compare/contrast those images.   A teacher may have students do a science experiment and use a free scientific calculator app to give them statistical results.

What has your school decided about at home learning with mobile?  Does your school want to extend learning or keep it within the school?

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students  express themselves in the modern language and move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Good Apps vs Very Good Apps

Good mobile learning practice apps  facilitate and transform learning.

Mobile learning activities can  increase students’ time on task.  In a classroom, a teacher calls on one student  after another but no student is active all the time; only those who are called on are active. Students remain  off task for much of the time since students just wait to be called on.   In doing a mobile learning app, the students concentrate each second as they do the activity. There do not waste time.  They are  on task all the time.  Very good apps incorporate games or challenges into the program.  These games or challenges are content driven, they are not simply rewards of random non-content games.

Mobile learning can offer differentiation.  Often in a classroom, the teacher goes over the material until everyone has learned it. The smart students become bored very quickly while the middle level students become impatient once they do get it.  A good mobile learning app can differentiate.  As soon as students achieve a given percent correct such as 85%, the app moves  the students up in difficulty or sophistication within that learning goal.  Very good apps help the students to review and integrate previous learning concepts into the present learning.

Mlearning apps can provide immediate feedback.  In a classroom, a teacher may present five problems for the students to do, waits until the class is done, and then goes over each of the five problems.  As soon as the   students do the first  math exercise on a mobile app, the the app immediately tells the students if they are correct or not. Students do not wait between doing the problem and finding out if they correct.  Very good apps provide specific strategies for the students to learn how to overcome their learning gap in any problem. They go beyond “Try again” or  “No, the answer is …” to explain how to learn the correct answer.

A mobile learning practice app can provide realistic and contextual  learning. Instead of students doing math word problems written on paper, a mobile app can show students real situations such as shopping in a grocery store.  Here are cans of beets, one sells for eighty eight cents and three sell for two dollars and forty cents; which is the better deal  and why? Very good apps simulate the real experience.

When students use a multi-sensory learning app, they go beyond just reading words on a screen.  They see critical images.  They hear pertinent sounds. They move things around the screen to demonstrate their learning.  They are involved in a total experience instead of just  completing electronic drill pages.  Very good apps involve many senses.

Mlearning apps can have students go from working individually to working collaboratively. Often mobile devices isolate students since each student is doing his/ her own work on his/ her own mobile device.   Students can work collaboratively on the same device or they send information back and forth as in an electronic peer review.  Very good  apps extend the collaboration to the another class in the same school, a different school, a school in a different state, a school in a different country or even multiple countries.

A learning app can  move students from practice to use.  The app can go beyond the lower levels of memorization and comprehension to application, evaluation and synthesis.  Students do not just practice irregular past verbs; they use these words in meaningful ways in a conversation.  Students apply math formula to measuring a house.  Very good apps take students to higher levels of learning, to real world use.

What does your mobile app do? Does it reach the very good app level?

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students  express themselves in the modern language and move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Group Texting Programs: The Next Big Wave?

Group texting programs fall into two categories.  The first category consists of teacher- to-student text programs such as Reminder 101, . In these programs, the teacher sends out  text reminders, announcements, notes, etc. to the whole class with just a click of button. These programs are teacher -centered since the teacher pushes out information but the students cannot respond. Some program may allow for the teacher to send out  surveys or polls.

The other category for group texting progams is student centered. In programs such as Cel.ly,, any  student can respond.  Any student can create a new topic for discussion.  The class can have an online discussion, create a collaborative story, contribute their individual reactions, etc.  Students can interact with each other about a learning topic.

David Murphy wonders if  group texting is shaping up to be the next big battleground between the Web’s social (or search) superstars.

I would like to see the following in any new  educational group texting program that allow all users to participate:
- Students  can  easily join the texting group without the teacher having to put in each students’ number or name Teachers can just give out a code.
- The class texting is self-contained, private and secure.
- Teachers or students can create distinct  conversation topics.

-The teacher or students can go back and review the previous conversations.
- Each conversation topic has its own name.
- Each conversation is self-contained.
- Within each conversation, there can be threads so students can follow a particular topic.
- The teacher can choose from an open chat to a moderated chat.  Some teachers may want to start out with moderated chats  to help students learn how to better communicate.
- The texting will be free.  Students and teachers will not be charged texting units against their data plan since the class texting generates  so many texts. For example, if twenty five students make four comments each, that is 100 text messages.
- The program will allow students with a laptop or desktop  to text.
- Students and teachers can send pictures or images.
- The teacher can sort the participants  or see an alphabetical list of all participant within a conversation to see if all have participated.
- The teacher can privately text students to offer encouragement or to offer suggestions for improvement.
- The group texting program will be free to use.
- The texting program will connect to or allow easy transfer to other social media.

If you know of a group texting program that meets those characteristics, please let me know so I can share it with my readers.

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students begin to express themselves in the modern language and to  move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Assessment and Mobile Learning Questions

Technology can play a critical role in the learning process.  Here are some questions about assessment and mobile learning to think about as you plan for your mobile learning.

Who/ What  will assess the students’ mobile learning?
A) the same mobile app that the student worked on
B) a  different mobile app
C)  the teacher corrects a paper and pencil quiz
D)  an online  program evaluates learning
E) the teacher assesses the students’ paper, presentation or project that incorporates learning from the mobile device
F) some one in the class, school,  or another school assesses the learning.
G) some one outside the school, from the community, an organization, etc. assesses the learning.
H) the students self-evaluate and reflect on how to improve

Will the assessment be?
A) summative ( a final grade)
B) formative with  specific feedback and an opportunity for improvement

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students begin to express themselves in the modern language and to  move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

How will students’ mobile device be used for learning?

How will the  students’ mobile device primarily be used? What other ways can teachers have students use mobile devices to engage in  learning?

  • to introduce the learning goal to the students  before the teacher does in class  such as in a flipped classroom
  • to introduce the learning goal during the class presentation
  • to present alternative ways of learning the learning goal
  • to practice the learning goal after a presentation (drill and practice)
  • to apply the learning concepts at a higher level of thinking (compare/contrast, synthesize, evaluate)
  • to incorporate the learning into an individual student’s  big project such as project based learning
  • to capture in class learning such as taking a picture of the whiteboard or video recording a project
  • as a written, visual, audio or media  prompt for a learning activity
  • to collaborate with others within and outside the class on a project
  • to compete against other learning groups
  • to get information from the web (websites, images, etc.)
  • to get information from others via texting, email, etc.
  • to  poll or survey students’ interest about some part of the  learning goal
  • to assess student learning  and provide feedback to the students (formative assessment)
  • to assess students summatively (final grade on unit, project…)
  • to collect examples of student work for a portfolio
  • My ebook, 90 M0bile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbookMy modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students begin to express themselves in the modern language and to  move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Compare Institutional MLearning to Your School’s Mlearning

Many institutions use QR codes. At the Cornell Plantations at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY),  they have put QR codes next to many wild flowers.  When a person uses his/her smartphone to scan  the wild flower QR code, the person hears a poem that mentions that wild flower.  Even though the person is outside in the “wild” area, he/she can appreciate both the flower and the poetry.   At the Etioje Museum in Indianapolis, they have a guitar exhibit; many of the musicians pictures or  actual guitars have a poster with a picture, words and a number next to them. The person borrows a smartphone from the museum and clicks on a specific  number to watch a video about a musician or hear a specific guitar being played.

Some things that happen during this institutional  mlearning:

- At both places, the visitor becomes involved in his/her personal mlearning.
- Each person decides what he/she wants to learn within the specific category. At the Plantations, the visitor selects which flowers he/she will scan.  The person may skip the QR code for any given flower.
- The visitor can listen/ watch any video as much as he/she wants.  A person may only view a few seconds of the video or the person may re-watch the video many times.
- Each person selects the order of his/her mlearning; at the guitar exhibit, a person may focus on the musicians in a specific time order or a person can randomly sample any musician.
- Each person does his/her own comparisons/contrasts with previous musicians or guitars; when couples or group of people travel together through the exhibit, they often share their comparisons/contrasts.
- Each new learning object broadens the learning or provides more in-depth details.  For example, the guitar exhibit covers many different types of guitar music while it also explains in-depth the development of the electric guitar.
- A visitor experiences variety and diversity such as the many different flowers at the Plantation Wildlife area while, at the same time, he/she encounters a  wholistic view of the category of wild flowers.
- Each place has a visual, print words and spoken words/videos  so the visitor employs different modalities of learning.
- Each person learns at his/ her own pace. A person may linger over a certain flower while his/ her partner goes ahead.
- Each person learns, not with a frown on his/her face, but with a smile.

How does this mlearning compare to mlearning in your school?

My ebook, 90 M0bile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students begin to express themselves in the modern language and to  move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook


RSS Education with Technology

  • Giving Students a Voice in App Selection January 8, 2014
    Traditionally, teachers research apps for their class. They assign apps to students.  The teachers assign a specific app or give students a choice of several pre-selected apps.  As a Modern Language teacher, I suggested apps to my students in the early part of the year. However, in January, I let my students select which apps […]
    hgtuttle
  • Considering Home Learning When Doing Mobile December 14, 2013
    Many schools are going mobile or one-to-one.  Schools sometimes make decisions without thinking about the full consequences such as mobile and home learning. If schools supply mobile devices to the students, do the students take the mobile devices home?   If students do not take the mobile device home, then mobile is only considered an […]
    hgtuttle
  • Good Apps vs Very Good Apps November 5, 2013
    Good mobile learning practice apps  facilitate and transform learning. Mobile learning activities can  increase students’ time on task.  In a classroom, a teacher calls on one student  after another but no student is active all the time; only those who are called on are active. Students remain  off task for much of the time since […]
    hgtuttle
  • Group Texting Programs: The Next Big Wave? October 10, 2013
    Group texting programs fall into two categories.  The first category consists of teacher- to-student text programs such as Reminder 101, . In these programs, the teacher sends out  text reminders, announcements, notes, etc. to the whole class with just a click of button. These programs are teacher -centered since the teacher pushes out information but […] […]
    hgtuttle
  • Assessment and Mobile Learning Questions September 10, 2013
    Technology can play a critical role in the learning process.  Here are some questions about assessment and mobile learning to think about as you plan for your mobile learning. Who/ What  will assess the students’ mobile learning? A) the same mobile app that the student worked on B) a  different mobile app C)  the teacher […]
    hgtuttle
  • How will students’ mobile device be used for learning? September 2, 2013
    How will the  students’ mobile device primarily be used? What other ways can teachers have students use mobile devices to engage in  learning? to introduce the learning goal to the students  before the teacher does in class  such as in a flipped classroom to introduce the learning goal during the class presentation to present alternative […]
    hgtuttle
  • Compare Institutional MLearning to Your School’s Mlearning August 5, 2013
    Many institutions use QR codes. At the Cornell Plantations at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY),  they have put QR codes next to many wild flowers.  When a person uses his/her smartphone to scan  the wild flower QR code, the person hears a poem that mentions that wild flower.  Even though the person is outside in the […]
    hgtuttle
  • Abundance or Deficit Thinking For Mobile Learning July 18, 2013
    Teachers and administrators think and act according to an abundance or deficit mentality. A few examples from mobile learning will explain the difference between the two ways of thinking and acting. In a deficit mentality, an educator  says the school does not provide mobile devices or that not all students have their own mobile device […]
    hgtuttle
  • A Protocol for Conference and Class Tweets July 9, 2013
    Conferences or educational events should develop a  protocol for tweets.  The conference can set up two twitter hashtags, one for social comments and one for content comments.  The social tweets  include references to the weather, the crowds, the excitement, the food, the desire to see a famous speaker,  how great a speaker is, where someone […]
    hgtuttle
  • Using a Mobile Device is Not Mobile Learning June 13, 2013
    Many schools are moving to “mobile learning” when, in fact, they really are moving toward using students using mobile devices. The students use mobile devices as they would have used a desktop or a laptop. Some characteristics of mobile learning (CLIP) Collaboration and Communication:  Students work with other students and adults in the class, in […]
    hgtuttle

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