Thing 25: App-palooza!

photo credit: César Poyatos via photopin cc
photo credit: César Poyatos via photopin cc


It’s App-palooza time! If you have an iOS device like an iPad of iPhone, you’re very familiar with the iTunes app store. And for the multitude of Android devices, the Google Play store is your app source. Are you deploying Chromebooks in your school? Then you’ll be searching the Chrome app store for useful tools. But finding and choosing apps for your own use and for school use can be overwhelming since there are thousands of apps to choose from. This is why we decided to give you a “thing” on apps and time to explore.

Apps can serve so many different purposes: access to content, tools for organizing content, assessments of student work, classroom management tools, tons of tools for creating content and so much more. This lesson includes articles about using mobile devices and apps in school, sources for reviews of apps and some lists of apps to whet your appetite.

Don’t feel left out if you don’t have your own mobile device. Can you borrow one? Or find a friend who is willing to explore this topic with you? At the very least, you can still explore the readings and check out the reviews.


There are lots of great apps that provide access to subject content that you can share with your colleagues. Librarians already do this with printed and web content, apps are just one more format. And what about apps that provide access to research databases, curation apps, assessment tools and more? Even if you don’t have access to a smartphone or tablet yet, these are still tools we need to be exploring, testing and sharing.

Articles, Background, Ideas

  • Should I Download That App? A Ten-Question Checklist for Choosing Tools Worth Your—and Your Students’—Time – Point #1 is “Put Pedagogy First” –  Yes!
  • SAMR Made Easy with Google Apps – The SAMR model is a way to view how technology fits into education. This article use Google Apps to explain this Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition Model
  • App smashing for teachers: The power of app cross-pollination – Sometimes one app won’t get the whole job done. App-smashing is simply the idea of using multiple apps to accomplish your goals.
  • The Art of App Smashing – some more examples, apps and ideas.
  • Create a “Library in your Pocket : This article by Shannon McClintock Miller details how they’re promoting apps in her school. Check to see if your commercial databases have apps? Gale has great ones, there are ones for colleges & K12 schools that require your local password. And the public library version provides users with access to any public library within 10 miles, so handy! Provide your students with both.
  • A Library in Every Pocket: Virtualizing Your Library for Mobile Learning : Slides from terrific AASL Preconference, loads of great ideas.
  • iPads4Teaching : Kathy Schrock’s guide to all things iPad. TONS of info here.
  • 25 Ways To Use iPads In The Classroom by Degree of Difficulty : Nice graphic with some good ideas of where apps might fit in to your teaching.
  • Mobile Learning Futures – Interesting reading – “while schools do not always suffer from a lack of technology, they consistently suffer from a lack of vision in how the technology will be used.”
  • App Task Challenge – Fun and useful guides to popular apps. Challenge yourself to a few of these!

Sources for Apps and Reviews:

Some Recent Articles, Lists of Apps, Fun Ideas


This is a hard topic to assign a particular activity since each of you will have different access to mobile devices, or perhaps no access. With that in mind, here are some ideas for you to explore. As always, if you want to explore some other aspect of this topic, go for it!

Some activity ideas if you don’t have access to an iPad, Android or Chrome device:

  • Explore some of the lists of apps noted above and consider how you might be able to use them personally and/or in school.
  • Explore some of the articles about apps in school and reflect on what you might be able to do in your school.

Some activity ideas if you do have access to a mobile device:

  • Compare the app versions of your favorite tools with the web or desktop versions. eg: Evernote is very different on the web, iPad and Android.
  • Test out some new apps that you might consider using in school.
  • Brainstorm a school project where you could put these apps to use.
  • Create a “library in your pocket” list of apps that your students, teachers and parents could use with their own devices. Share it via posters, your website, printed lists. Try your hand at creating QR codes for each app and including them on the list.
  • Do some of the App Task Challenges


  • Share what your explored and learned.
  • Be sure to include education related idea and discussion.


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL for the post.
  • Return to the lesson page on the CanvasLMS site.
  • Use the SUBMIT ASSIGNMENT button in the CanvasLMS page and paste in your URL.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Canavas LMS system.



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