Thing 14: App-palooza!

photo credit: César Poyatos via photopin cc
photo credit: César Poyatos via photopin cc


It’s App-palooza time! If you have an iOS device like an iPad of iPhone, you’re very familiar with the iTunes app store. And for the multitude of Android devices, the Google Play store is your app source. Are you deploying Chromebooks in your school? Then you’ll be searching the Chrome app store for interesting tools. But finding and choosing apps for your own use and for school use can be overwhelming since there are thousands of apps to choose from. This is why we decided to give you a “thing” on apps and time to explore. Apps can serve so many different purposes: access to content, tools for organizing content, assessments of student work, classroom management tools, tons of tools for creating content and so much more. This lesson includes articles about using mobile devices and apps in school, sources for reviews of apps and some lists of apps to whet your appetite.

Don’t feel left out if you don’t have your own mobile device. Can you borrow one? Or find a friend who is willing to explore this topic with you? At the very least, you can still explore the readings and check out the reviews.


There are lots of great apps that provide access to subject content that you can share with other colleagues. Librarians already do this with printed and web content, apps are just one more format. And what about apps that provide access to databases, research tools and more? Even though everyone won’t have access to a smartphone or tablet yet, these are still tools we need to be exploring, testing and sharing.

But first, why use mobile devices in school? You’ll find loads of articles if you do a web search, or better yet do a twitter search for “#edchat mobile devices“. Here’s just one to get you started! iPads in the Classroom

Articles, Background, Ideas

  • Content Apps : Are you familiar with apps that provide access to subject based content that you can share with other colleagues? Librarians already share lots of information about relevant resources in print and on the web, and we need to look at apps in the same way. Do a search for your topics areas in the app stores before your next big project. The Reference and Books sections of the app stores will unearth lots of interesting resources.
  • Create a “Library in your Pocket : This article by Shannon McClintock Miller details how they’re promoting apps in her school. Check to see if your commercial databases have apps? Gale has great ones, there are ones for colleges & K12 schools that require your local password. And the public library version provides users with access to any public library within 10 miles, so handy! Provide your students with both. And what about apps for your catalog, encyclopedias and other reference material? Do you share tools for creating citations, taking notes, organizing research, mind mapping and more.
  • A Library in Every Pocket: Virtualizing Your Library for Mobile Learning : Slides from terrific AASL Preconference, loads of great ideas.
  • iPads4Teaching : Kathy Schrock’s guide to all things iPad. TONS of info here.
  • 25 Ways To Use iPads In The Classroom by Degree of Difficulty : Nice graphic with some good ideas of where apps might fit in to your teaching.
  • Mobile Learning Futures – Interesting reading – “while schools do not always suffer from a lack of technology, they consistently suffer from a lack of vision in how the technology will be used.”

Sources for Apps and Reviews:

Some Recent Articles, Lists of Apps, Fun Ideas

Curated Resource Lists (to help you keep up to date)


This is a hard topic to assign a particular activity since each of you will have different access to mobile devices, or perhaps no access. With that in mind, here are some ideas for you to explore. As always, if you want to explore some other aspect of this topic, go for it!

If you don’t have access to an iPad or Android device:

  • Explore some of the lists of apps noted above and consider how you might be able to use them personally and/or in school.
  • Explore some of the articles about apps in school and reflect on what you might be able to do in your school.

If you do have access to a mobile device:

  • Compare the app versions of your favorite tools with the web or desktop versions. eg: Evernote is very different on the web, iPad and Android.
  • Test out some new apps that you might consider using in school.
  • Brainstorm a school project where you could put these apps to use.
  • Create a “library in your pocket” list of apps that your students, teachers and parents could use with their own devices. Share it via posters, your website, printed lists. Try your hand at creating QR codes for each app and including them on the list.

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