I’ve been sharing with my students this semester that they can use apps on their smartphone to help them stay connected with their courses in Canvas. These are the links to the apps:
All you need is your MEID and password to get it set up. The course URL you need to set it up is: maricopa.instructure.com. I’ve tried it both on my iTouch and my Android phone. It works pretty good for checking in on the courses. I also shared with them the apps for Piazza since we’ll be using that too.
Then there are browsers. So what’s the best browser to use with Canvas? I’d say Firefox. I’ve been telling students to download and install Mozilla Firefox. I warn them if they decide to use Google Chrome, they will need to give permission to view some content, like some videos. If you only see a black box or don’t see a video that is supposed to be there, you must be using the Chrome browser. For all flash content you have to give it permission in Chrome. Just click the shield up in the address box and choose Load anyway –>
I end by telling them to please stay away from Internet Explorer, although that’s a hold over warning from when we used Blackboard. I might just have to give IE 8, or whatever number they’re up to, a try.
What is everyone waiting for? Just about every students who walks through your classroom door is carrying a powerful computer in his/her pocket. We need to start using them and stop just talking about mobile learning. And we don’t have to make it all fit in the classroom. Put those phones to use outside the classroom too. I’ve surveyed my students for the last 3 years and look at how many have cell phones. Only 1% (3 students) didn’t have one.
Ninety-one percent of my students have text messaging on their phones and indicated that I may contact them via text with important information. Yet, I didn’t take advantage of that. No, I haven’t sent one important information text message to my students in 3 years. However, they’ve undoubtedly received text messages in regards to my classes. How is that you may ask. Well, let me tell you. Many of the educational tools many of us use today, including our LMS have built in tools that allow for students to set up text alerts. For instance in Canvas, students have the option to add their phone number to receive SMS notifications. And in Canvas there are a ton of notifications that can be set up. We just have to tell them about it and encourage them to use it. Read more
Workshop: Wednesday, Sept. 26 at the CTLE in HT2-139
Lunch and Learn with Dr. Alisa Cooper: Engage Your Students with Mobile Devices. 11:00 am to Noon.
This workshop discussed mobile apps that can be used to engage students in the classroom, although all three web apps demonstrated can be accessed via web browser on a mobile device. Both Socrative and Piazza have native apps for both Android and Apple devices, but GoSoapBox can only be accessed on mobile devices via web browser. This method can actually be easier and quicker for students as they don’t have to download the app first to get started using the program.
During the demonstration we noticed that Socrative was problematic for some users and was overall very sluggish and slow to load pages on the mobile devices. Socrative is currently free and probably still working to polish its product before they move to a paid model. At this point, despite it’s clear usefulness, it may not be ready for prime time. It is worth giving a look at for use in the class however. Just don’t rely too heavily on it just yet. I’ve had trouble every time I use it.
GoSoapBox, a $90 per year paid for applicatoin, worked flawlessly. I guess it’s true. You get what you pay for. They have an alternate pay model where students can pay $10 per year for use instead of the teacher paying $90. Many institution will not find that model permissible at their institutions. For the most part, the features in both apps are similar, with GoSoapBox adding a “confusion barometer” in their app. “The Confusion Barometer allows students to indicate when they’ve become confused with material, or need the teacher to slow down. The teacher sees a graphical representation of the number of students who are confused at any point during class.”
There are some more subtle differences between Socrative and GoSoapBox, but both will do the job to get students engaged in your in-class lectures. I really like the ability to do “Instant Polling” in both applications. This gives you the ability to randomly ask a question verbally during class and have students answer on the device without you setting up the question in the program. You can write the question on the board or just speak it aloud, then give students an option to choose A, B, C or D or a free response answer on their device. This is great for questions that pop up last minute. My favorite feature out of both products is Socrative’s “Exit Tickets”. “Check in on your students’ understanding as they head out the door.” This pre-designed activity is already set up, so you can just instruct students to do it before they leave.
Lastly, I demo’d Piazza, a Q&A system that integrates nicely with Canvas. If you teach a class that could benefit from a place for students to hangout and ask questions and work together, Piazza is your application. Or if you find yourself saying, “if I have to answer that question one more time, I’m going to scream,” then Piazza if for you. Again this application works on a mobile device via app, but even better in a web browser. The mobile device does make it much easier to keep up with all the interaction happening on the site however. My class is not as active this semester, so once I get more use out of it, I’ll have report back about some of my favorite features. Until then take a look at all three applications below and play around with them for yourself. GoSoapBox offers a 30 day free trial and the other two are free (for now).
GoSoapBox: Instant Student Feedback App
The web-based application GoSoapBox allows teachers to gauge student understanding or confusion levels throughout a lesson, poll students and track the data for future reference. It can be used on laptops, tablets and smart phones, which sets it apart from some other clicker/student response systems. $90 per year or $10 per student per year. 30 day free trial.
Socrative: Student Response System
Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. FREE
- Video: http://vimeo.com/socrative/intro
- Socrative: http://socrative.com/
- Tour: http://www.socrative.com/how-it-works
- No Help
Piazza: Online Q&A Site for Courses
Piazza is a free online gathering place where students can ask, answer, and explore 24/7, under the guidance of their instructors. With Piazza, easily answer questions, manage course materials, and track student participation. FREE
- Video: On main page of site (no link)
- Piazza: https://piazza.com/
- Tour: https://piazza.com/sandbox/warm?close=fancy#
- Help: https://piazza.com/help.html
- PollEverywhere is another similar application to GoSoapBox and Socrative; however, until recently their pricing model was a bit steep for individual instructors, the number of students permitted to participate was too small, and there wasn’t a mobile option for the instructor, only responses. That has since changed a bit, and I look forward to checking it out again in the future. Check out PollEverywhere’s limited comparison of similar products.
We’ve been having a little exchange on our list about mobile gadgets and apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, so I decided to blog about what I have on my iPod Touch. Not so surprisingly, I have very little music. I have an iPod Video and Nano for that. The Touch is for mobile learning. I’m trying to see how this gadget can be used in education. The obvious is podcasts, both audio and video. It’s easy to find good podcasts to share and recommend with students, as well as create your own. So I have over 3 GB of video on my Touch, mostly video podcasts. One of my favorite apps on the Touch is iTalk. I can hook up an external microphone and record lectures right on the Touch. Then I can sync and have the podcast uploaded to where ever in a matter of minutes. Sound quality is really good.
- Remember the Milk (RTM)
- Twitterific & TwitterFon
- Bb Learn
These are all obvious choices. We haven’t had a chance to try out the Bb Learn app yet. District says we will be able to do so after the upgrade, which just happened, so I’ll check into that next week.
My second page of apps is a mixed bag. I have a few ereaders I’m trying out and some blogging tools.
- Kindle & eReader & GReader (Readers)
- Google Voice & GV Mobile (Paid)
- Google Talk & Skype (chat)
- Nike +iPod
These are some of the more important mobile tools for blogging, reading documents, books and RSS feeds, and communicating via chat, voicemail and text messaging.
As I move through my app pages, the apps get less and less relevant to mobile learning. So far we’ve seen lots of social networking apps and reading and writing apps. That trend continues, but I start to add more home automation and fun stuff. I mean, you never know when you will need to Tivo a show for class, right.
- myhomework (Keep track of classes and homework)
- Evernote (This could be a big elearning app)
- Shakespeare (Complete works on my iPod)
- i.TV & DirecTV & PhoneFlix (Schedule DVRs & Netflix)
- fring (IM & Skype in one/VOIP)
- Assistant (PageOnce – Acct Management)
- WSJ (Wall Street Journal)
- Ustream (watching only)
I found lots of apps that have created collections of works like the Shakespeare one. This would make teaching a lit class easy in terms of access to free books. Evernote has the biggest potential for impact in the mobile learning space. I will be exploring this a bit more this summer.
My last two pages are just a bunch of games and sports apps like for the Master’s and the NBA playoffs. Also MLB (At Bat) lets you listen to live game audio for $10 for the whole season. I also have the Stanza ebook reader, a dictionary, notes, and a calculator. That’s it. And like I mentioned earlier, I only paid for 3 apps. As I explore and try new ones, I’ll probably purchase more if they are worth it. We’ll see.
So what’s on your iPod Touch or iPhone? Leave a comment and let me know so I can add to my collection.