21st Century Education: Integrating Apps in Learning

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There are different kind of students; the academe, over-achievers, jocks, queen-bees and happy-go-lucky types, who are too cool for school until it’s almost time for graduation. I can find one thing in common with them:

“these students spend lots of time with their mobile devices”

and so educators must learn to peak their student’s interest and alter their teaching technique that is best suited for the current trend in learning but at the same time still be in accordance to the school’s standards. 59 percent of students use mobile phones to study, while 93 percent of them use their Smartphone to access study apps, so why not start adopting a few changes in your teaching strategies?

Mobile Learning

Some teachers gave-in to the TechEd evolution and tried the following:

(1)  Spearheaded (BYOD) Bring Your Own Device programs

Encourage your students to use of their gadgets in class to boost their learning productivity. Involving these medium for learning will help them utilize and optimize their usage other than just for social media and communication purposes.

(2) Integrated mobile & desktop applications to their lesson plans

  • DropBox: Free online back-up storage you can use to save your documents, presentations, photos and other files. Compatible with iOS and Android devices.

To facilitate file sharing with ease; everyone needs to create their own unique user ID then share notes, review materials and even homework to your students online. All the stored resources can be accessed online and through any device as long as you logged in using your ID and by adding files in the “Favorite” labeled folder, saved files can still be accessed even when offline.

  • Haiku Deck: Presentation software that’s simple, beautiful, and fun. Works for all types of presentations including enliven a to-do list, tell a story with words and pictures, and summarize a discussion.

Create a stunning visual presentation using your iPad. Making visuals for your presentation can be a breeze. Choose from a wide selection of elegantly designed background slide themes, fonts and color palettes and share your presentation on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. You should also develop your student’s visual literacy by making them a critical viewer of the media.

  • Edmondo: A free and safe way for students and teachers to connect and collaborate

A must have app for very classroom where every member of can create their own profile very similar to Facebook. It is especially designed to promote teacher-student engagement. Sharing resources and connecting with the respective instructors is made easier and seizing each student’s performance can be done in real-time.

(3)  Implemented the use of classroom management tools and applications

  • Teacher Kit. Be future forward and go mobile with this free app previously known as the “TeacherPal” app. Available for iOS and Android.

Start being techie and organized. Move on from the old-school class records and use this app for creating class lists, taking attendance, entering grades, managing student data, keeping seating charts, monitoring student behavior in class and more.

Seeking for the right mix of strategy in choosing the teaching platform you want take can be a bit tricky! So knowing your students well can be a great help in planning how to go about your lessons. Try the ideas above or share something that worked for you.

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Mobile Learning as an Effective Training Tool for Employment

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mlearningThe paradigm has shifted – access of information through mobile is considered as the driving force of many important industries across the globe. The advent of wireless fidelity, long term evolution, 3G and similar innovations created an omnipotent portal to knowledge.

Communication is made much easier; the world is continually shrinking, and the human connection is no longer measured in degrees of separation but friend requests, circles, or follows. Kristine Peters, a researcher from Flinders University in Australia, noted that “mobile information and communication technologies are important enablers of the new social structure.” She said that society is experiencing the ongoing rise of truly “portable” ICT (information and communications technology) driven by the consumer’s fancy of mobile gadgets such as tablets and iPhones. In the United Kingdom, news reports still show that sales of the iPhone 5 remain unfazed, driven by deals offered by network providers.  In fact, O2 is continuously attracting more iPhone 5 fans daily, especially with their current drop of prices.

Omnipresence

One of the greatest advantages of this shift to mobile is the decreased dependence to fixed work and to learning places. Data transfer through wireless networks paved the way for a more flexible working condition, and relaxed definition to the term ‘workspace.’ This affects all aspects of the business system – including training. Mobile learning is gradually being considered as a standard method or practice in many institutions.

In the past, corporate and academic training never meant teaching in the most classic set-up possible. Face to face meetings and online aids accessible at home used to be the standard practice. Training Magazine said that almost everyone has access to internet via smartphones and tablets, anyone can train on the go. The most effective training method today is the one that offers the least intrusion to a trainee’s schedule, the magazine added. What this means is that mLearning is the best possible way of training people. Training need not be scheduled at a certain time or day. Ubiquity means training is anytime, anywhere.

Network

School of Economics of London study concluded that technology widens the barrier between generations. This ‘generation gap’ demonstrates one of the key points against mLearning as an effective training method. The trainer – trainee relationship might not go well smoothly when the trainee has more knowledge than the trainer. A separate research featured by FlexibleLearning.com found out that even if trainers use mobile technology for clerical tasks respondents said that they would very much prefer if they used the mobile device as a teaching tool instead. Fannon, the author of the said research, even said that almost half of the respondents were willing to be trained only with the use of a smartphone.

Smart Search

Mobile applications usually gather personalized information regarding the user such as current location, time, and status. GPS detection by apps created a very personal cloud of information that is as unique as the DNA makeup of its user.

As far as training in the workplace goes, a context sensitive device is practical when gathering data. Being ‘context aware,’ mobile learning is made extra dynamic. “When using applications in these [context aware] settings, a user has much to gain by the effective use of implicitly sensed context,” said Anind Dey and Gregory Abowd in their research paper about context and context awareness. Apps that are considered smart or contextually optimized provide invaluable task-relevant services and information to every trainee.

In conclusion, mLearning is the most practical and logical method in training people in corporate, academic, or institutional setting. The advent of new technology and the continuous upgrading of the human capacity to gather information have led to an era where learning can be made to measure. Clearly, the educational use of mobile technology brings many incentives, which traditional training methods cannot provide.

Using iOS Apps Can Boost Your Follower Count

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AppleYou could be running a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account or even a Tumblog, but if you’re not staying on top of how frequently you post, your followers and their reaching out to you, or keeping everything up-to-date, people will soon lose interest.

The reason people sit on roller coasters is the thrill, knowing that they’re not just traveling at high speed, but because there are rises and falls and loop-the-loops. Social media is no different – people want their social feeds to constantly keep their minds stimulated, and a lack of content or creativity can be really off-putting.

One of the mistakes people make is the assumption that if you’re really pushing your social media activity, you should be doing it in an almost office-like (or an actual office) environment. This isn’t a good idea – in fact, the more mobile you are, the more impressively organised your feed looks and the more content you’ll end up posting.

After all, all those apps on your iPhone can add a huge variety of media, rather than 140-character text posts. Think about using services like Vine – six-second video snapshots that can be cut and sliced up to look fantastic. Perhaps also YouTube, or Instagram – anything that allows people to look, and watch, rather than solely read. A multimedia feed is always going to stimulate more minds more than a constant flow of text.

There are also buffer services that can really add to your ability to constantly output content without having to manually do so over the course of the day. Services like the Buffer iOS app mean that you will be able to slowly push out fifty content-filled tweets over twenty-four hours to ensure it’s never quiet on your social front, even though you only spent a concentrated hour or two putting them all together. Doesn’t have to be fifty, of course, but at least twenty or so tweets that aren’t responses and manual, quick tweets are great.

If you blog, commit. In today’s environment, a burst of blog posts going onto social platforms for promotional purposes followed by a vanishing act don’t go down well. Social media is a double-edged blade, as it can make you look incredibly busy and incredibly lazy at the same time – often with the same tweet. The best way to avoid eventualities like this is to blog when you’re on the move. On a bus? Blog. On the train? Blog. Doctor’s waiting room? Blog. Even the WordPress app will work great.

Speaking of blogging apps, Tumblr’s official iOS app means a constant flow of content both to reblog and comment on, and also to put through other social media feeds. Don’t keep great things to Tumblr – a JPEG, a GIF, a Video, or even a blog post can be interesting to those on your Twitter and Facebook feeds, even Pintrest, so don’t ignore the potential for content being dropped into your Tumblap!

You can also make use of high-quality apps for platforms that aren’t going to shove anything special your way short of convenient shortcuts, like Tweetbot. But the big bonuses come in when you delve into the “power-user” section of social media apps for iOS. Invaluable apps include those like HootSuite that do Facebook and Twitter, with post scheduling and even analysis of how popular your linked content is.

Using social media is easy, but mastering it is an ongoing process that, like anything else, is impossible to do completely, but you can put yourself significantly ahead of the competition by staying mobile and making the most of iOS apps that are going to help you do that. Stay mobile, stay smart, stay productive, and stay renowned.

Facebook: “just the F, please.”

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FacebookFacebook has become one of the most famous brands on the planet. It’s completely unavoidable, far more so than Twitter – even your grandparents might be on it! A big part of the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people, Mark Zuckerberg’s college IT project has changed the social landscape forever and helped usher in the digital era. Out with the SMS, in with the Facebook message.

Their redesigned news feed has actually reduced the brand to something even more minimalistic than their existing site design: the Facebook logo is now just the famous “f” symbol. It’s great news for those who’d rather their feed wasn’t being partially taken up by the full name, but also proves a point that’s less than subtle – everyone knows what the “f” means, and new users are already aware of the service.

They’re also beginning to move away from text and focus on image sharing, which is definitely in tune with the view that today’s average internet user prefers pictures to words. A shame for those who love the craft of the written word, but for social, Facebook are bringing their A-game towards photos and other images, as services like Imgur continue to take off into low orbit in terms of popularity, while Facebook struggles to stay as valuable as it claims to be for its IPO.

They also want a better mobile experience, despite the app – an odd aim given that they already have mobile apps whether you’re tooling around on Android, iPhone or anything else – and feel like you should be able to access their social platform easily regardless of the device or software you’re using. Facebook are a company that really understands user desires, and while they do consistently raise red flags when it comes to data privacy/protection, as far as user experience goes, they’re headed in the right direction.

But are they becoming slightly too confident? Their IPO really didn’t go as well as they or anybody else had hoped, and their critics were proved to be right – their number of users is false given many accounts are fake, and the average Facebook user isn’t actually worth much money, if any at all. They were built on supplying services that are free, and as with Twitter, it has proven difficult to capitalise on their user base without being seen as extortionists.

They are however in the odd position of having no competition whatsoever for the service they provide, which, while something of a relief also means that it’s up to them and them alone to reinvent themselves and innovate. While the “f” move is more “look at us” than “here’s a new feature,” they’re definitely trying to simplify and streamline the reasons why people engage with the platform at all, and it’s an interesting step that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Facebook Heads arrives for iPhone and iPad

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After the long wait, iOS users can now enjoy the new Facebook chat option where you can see a picture of your contacts in a bubble-shaped icon whenever they message you. Although the Facebook Chat Heads is one of the primary features of the Facebook Home for Android, Apple device users will now receive this feature with the recent mobile updates.

At the All Things D mobile event held this week, Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer and Mobile Engineering vice president Cory Ondrejka made an official announcement that the quirky messaging experience on the Facebook Home will now be available to iPhone and iPad.

In the article published by Mashable.com, Facebook said that “iPhone users who download the update will start to see Chat Heads pop up over the next couple of weeks.”

Creating a more playful and dynamic messaging interface, the Chat Heads were designed to show the profile picture of your contacts that signifies a new message thread. The pictures appear in a floating bubble-like heads on your screen. Users will need to click on the picture in order to open the message thread.

So, what’s the difference between the Chat Heads for Android and iOS? Without the interface, the Facebook Heads will only work inside the application, unlike in Android, where users can interact with their Facebook directly on their Home page, as explained by the Facebook executives.

The new Facebook app will soon be available on the Apple’s App Store, although the Chat Heads might take a few weeks to reach other users. The new version will have bigger and bolder News Feed design and will introduce digital stickers to the messaging system.

The integration of Chat Heads to the iOS app does not indicate that the Facebook Home will be available for Apple devices. Facebook is sill focused on targeting the larger market of Android users. Recently, the new Facebook-centric UI become available in the United States, giving Android Smartphone users more access to their favorite social site. The new UI is now available for the Samsung Galaxy SIII, the Samsung Galaxy Note II, the HTC One X, and the HTX One X+. We will also expect the upcoming Samsung Galaxy SIV and HTC One to have the Facebook Home interface, but for now, HTC First, which will be out on the international market later this year, will be the first device to carry the full interface.

Facebook HEadsIf you enjoy accessing your Facebook profile and connecting with your friends to this social page, then the Facebook Home will be your best option, as long as you have an Android device. Since the Facebook Home for Android might take a few more months to be released, it seems you’ll find the upcoming HTC First with pre-installed Facebook Home, a great Smartphone to buy, although you might find its specs disappointing.

Although talks about the Facebook Home continue to spread, early reviews showed a bad start for the UI considering it only has an overall average of 2.4 Stars on Google Play since its debut. However, we cannot purely judge the interface just yet; Facebook Home still has a lot more to run with the release of its first mobile, HTC First.