The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

More Educational Apps Needed

A study of smartphone application usage found users spend 50% of the time on their devices accessing digital media, while the 18-to-24-year-olds are the heaviest users. Smartphone owners also spend about three times longer using apps vs. browsing websites, according to the study by comScore.

While many colleges and universities are launching smartphone apps, are they missing the potential of apps in the educational process?

“Apps are purpose-built, so it’s not a stretch to imagine one app for Economics 101 and another for Psychology 110,” Ryan Craig, founder of University Ventures, wrote in a VentureBeat post.  “Apps are ideal for simulation and gamified learning experiences. They’re also perfect for incorporating real-world inputs (such as location of the student) into learning.”

Most schools aren’t using apps for mobile learning, focusing instead on course selection and campus maps. Even the Blackboard Mobile Learn product doesn’t access course materials, according to Craig.

“So, although most online degree programs are now delivered via learning management systems that claim to be ‘mobile platforms,’ believing that the solutions to the mobile problem is simply allowing mobile access to a course with traditional online architecture is tantamount to believing your institution’s online strategy is effectively addressed by putting lectures on YouTube or iTunes,” he wrote.

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