What are Mobile Apps?

There is a revolution that is taking place in software development that parallels the changes in recent years in the music, publishing, and retail industries. Mass market is giving way to niche market, and with it, the era of highly priced large suites of integrated software is giving way to a new view of what software should be. Smartphones such as the Galaxy, iPhone, and Android have redefined what we mean by mobile computing, and in the past three to four years, the small, often simple, low-cost software extensions to these devices — apps — have become a hotbed of development. New tools are free or sell for as little as 99 cents, making it easier for people to develop apps. A popular app can see millions of downloads in a very short time, and that potential market has spawned a flood of creativity that is instantly apparent in the extensive collections available in the app stores. These retail phenomena provide an easy, fast, and totally new way to deliver software that reduces distribution and marketing costs significantly. Apple’s app store opened in July 2008; Google’s followed in October of that year. By July 2012, more than 50 billion apps had been sold or downloaded; simple but useful apps have found their way into almost every form of human endeavor. Mobile apps are particularly useful for learning as they enable people to learn and experience new concepts wherever they are, often across multiple devices.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • In art and design education, apps and gesture-based interactions are changing the game. Apps are also small and easy to actualize, thus make a good prototyping platform. - Mara Mara Nov 24, 2012
  • I posted this in the game-based learning area, but I think it might be more applicable here--it's now become much easier to create mobile-based learning experiences for iOS devices (not necessarily games) without programming. ARIS games from UW Madison (http://arisgames.org) has been around for a while, but it's now starting to see a more full array of features.- jasonr jasonr Nov 26, 2012 I have worked with the ARIS platform and find the technology to have a lot of great implications for engaging students in campus and learning - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Dec 2, 2012
  • This technology is fun and familiar, so it has the potential to further engage students in concepts such as interactivity and tactile media.They can bring their own devices to class, which also lessens the pressure on universities to purchase and constantly upgrade equipment. - Melissa.Langdon Melissa.Langdon Dec 2, 2012
  • We are developing apps that allow students to store evidence of language learning in an extensive ePortfolio known as LinguaFolioOnline. Apps seem to localize the learning experience and also the data capturing experience for students as well as afford higher levels of productivity from any device. The use of apps also is once gain leveling the playing field of education bringing learning opportunities to the underserved around the world. - deborah.heal deborah.heal Nov 28, 2012
  • We are using a mobile app for eportfolio building - adding reflection, caturing ideas, images etc on the move making it a part of the learning experience- DaveP DaveP Dec 2, 2012
  • The influx of free applications in education, is very powerful for finding ways to leverage technology use for educators who may be more apprehensive to jump into tech integration. Free Resource Fridays from the NMC on Facebook has been a terrific way for the Facebook followers to learn more about different apps that can work with their curriculum. - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Dec 2, 2012
  • With the growth of mobile gaming (http://www.boston.com/business/innovation/2012/11/01/mobile-apps-upending-video-game-industry/UnPw0t2ZBnyLJ83Iz6uHjK/story.html), game development programs have been faced with the need for continued adaptation to ensure game design programs incorporate the required conceptual and knowledge base requirements to stay current with industry trends. - Dougdar Dougdar Dec 2, 2012

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research, or creative inquiry?

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?