Best Smart Phone apps 2017

Because we all need new smart phone apps! We do. Developers are highly productive and becoming more creative and so it pays to check from time to time to see if there are apps which will improve and enhance your life and productivity. Phones are becoming more the must have device because they can now control and manage so much as well as serve their function as a communications device. Both android and iPhone are offering some really good new apps this year. PCMag has 100 new apps for android phones you can have a look through . popularmechanics has 23 iPhone apps for your consideration and then the video offers some more. Have fun!

Free audio books

 

Being read to at bedtime is no longer the privilege of a good  childhood. Now anyone can be read to and there are plenty of free audio books online. YouTube is one of the places you may not have thought to look for audio books. Some sites offer reasonable free trials of free audio books and then you have to pay something like $15-20 a month for unlimited access. That might suit some people. I listen to audio books sometimes in the car and there are times when people are too sick to actually read but would welcome being read to.  thebalance offers 15 sites where you can get free audio books online. It does mean you can use your phone or other mobile technology to listen to books if you are on the move and it does save carrying a book or reader around if you need to do it that way.

Educational app evaluation

Image: pain rating app

It’s pleasing to discover that the world has become very serious about rating mobile apps for educational purposes. There should be some solid reasons and explanations for using apps in an educational setting and there ought to be a well considered way now for rating apps because we have had mobile technology for quite some time . As an educator you need an approach to apps which will guide well thought out decisions about apps’ use. You also need a way to include learner opinion of apps because they are at the receiving end of it and need to be encouraged to be more than passive users. Education apps won’t improve unless we are all working together as a team and rating apps is a good way of identifying strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement. With some apps you have no choice . They are introduced into an educational environment and you are expected to use them. If you can then go though the process of rating them then there is solid evidence and data to help inform decisions for negotiations about the use of an app or to be able to contact developers and ask if they can work on certain aspects of the app. Those who work in technology usually like a challenge and so are very approachable if you can be clear about what you are asking. Digital teaching and learning is a constant improvement environment and way of being where clarity is important. There are some very helpful evaluation sites which show how you can go about rating apps:

Mobile app rating scale

App evaluation checklist

Ways to evaluate educational apps

I always involved students in app rating and it was a very helpful and interesting exercise for all of us:

The great iPad app review
There are also two useful pdfs to download if you click on the links:

Evaluating apps for Teaching and Learning

Rubric iPad Apps v0.4 Department of Education Western Australia

Google Translate for Teachers

Lex Prin is very popular on YouTube and he only put this clip up on 23/9 and he is already getting to his 50,000 views. Living proof you can teach, learn , share and connect from anywhere , even your car. We have mobile devices and connectivity. The thought , though, you could use your mobile phone to rewrite and filter your thoughts into something which is more socially acceptable is a great one. One we all wish for. Teachers are not  the only people employed in a position where they have to sometimes rephrase what they are thinking to couch it in a more dulcet way. Why can’t our phones do this for us? Why isn’t there an app for that? We have all sorts of apps for productivity, time management, learning, skills development. We now need apps for personal and social capability! I thank the Teachers Registration Board of South Australia for sharing this video on my Facebook feed this morning.

10 Apps for studying

Jess can be found on Instagram and Twitter as @studywithJess. In the video she is recommending 10 good study apps for students. She is cheerful, positive and likes to be productive. Students can find their own resources these days. It is very easy for them to go on the internet to find resources which will keep them active, positive , go-getting students.It makes good use of their mobile devices.  The study with Jess channel on YouTube has plenty of videos to keep students in control of their learning.

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