Zydney and Warner (2016) conduct a comprehensive literature review of the use of mobile apps for science learning. With increasing stress by district administrations on technology integration, BYOD programs, and school programs promoted by both Apple and Google, it is not surprising that innovations in the mobile and app industry “…have prompted educators and researchers to utilize these devices to promote teaching and learning” (p. 1). I have also experienced the excitement with mobile apps through peers in the MET program as well as through PD sessions hosted by the Manitoba Teacher’s Society.
Zydney and Warner (2016) explain the advantages of mobile apps as being, “…interactive and engaging…” (p. 1). Further, that apps “[allow] educators to teach without being restricted by time and place…” (p. 1). Other posts this week stressed the drawback of time spent in class learning new technologies for both teachers and students, especially in lieu of discussing curriculum during that time. Perhaps the use of mobile apps is a possible solution that in fact once adequately mastered by teacher and students, benefits from being used unrestricted of time and place. A great example of this is the use of twitter I read about in a previous MET course. A math teacher essentially tweeted interesting and complex math problems to students outside class and received responses from students thus facilitating learning beyond the scheduled math class during the day.
Zydney and Warner (2016) discovered 6 main features in their review that included, “technology-based scaffolding, location-aware functionality, visual/audio representation, digital knowledge-construction tools, digital knowledge-sharing mechanisms and differentiated roles” (p. 6). It appears all these features follow very closely support the T-GEM and LfU models we have explored in module B.
Technology-based scaffolding and visual/audio representation plays a role in the initial stages of helping students develop their ideas.
Digital knowledge-construction tools and sharing mechanisms help in creating meaning, recording observed data, and making thinking visible for students; especially in a cooperative manner.
With the plethora of apps available today for learning science in conjunction with the omnipresence of mobile technology both in and out of the classroom, it appears mobile apps provide a great asset to teaching science content and conduct science inquiry both in and out of the classroom.
Question for peers:
Is there a mobile app that you have some experience with that in your opinion is excellent in teaching content and leading science inquiry?