Making Android Apps for Student Learning


Android  Apps for all
What I've done
After creating various educational apps for teachers and parents, I saw the need to create an app for android devices that can access information quickly about the classroom. This way parents and students can view the latest news about what their child has done in class and comment on this instantly.
Why I've done it
With 900 000 android devices activated every day across the globe, it became apparent that there is a huge growth market for these devices. I enquired through the students whose parents had android smartphones and the result was roughly 50% of the class! I wanted the future proof the app by creating it on a platform that will become increasingly common amongst student and parents at school.
I made the app because the students wanted to have a place where all the information is readily available. By compiling all the latest videos from YouTube, Tweets, calendar, photos from Picasa and document storage websites together, the students and parents could quickly access the latest learning.
I also wanted to further enable authenticated learning experiences for students. Completing a writing task or writing for a particular audience suddenly becomes very open as this app shows people from around the world and within the local community can now view, read and comment on.
The other reason for creating the app is simply because of our school’s vision for eLearning. We wanted a system which would fit with the school’s purchasing framework. By creating android only apps, these could be installed on the various android netbooks, tablets and smartphones that students and teachers now have. These apps integrate into our system perfectly without an major hitch. If there is a required update the app is revised and a normal updated version is uploaded to the Google Play app store and downloaded onto devices.
Since the Christchurch earthquake, it became more evident that communication between parents and teachers needed to be in ‘real time’. By linking our class Twitter to the app, it is possible to keep parents up-to-date of any emergencies and urgent messages.
The processes I went through
First I had to think of what the app should have in it. I then asked the class what they thought were necessary components for it. Once I designed it, I offered it to the students to view. The feedback was fantastic and they were really excited to be able to find all the latest eLearning publishing in one place.
The first process was to sign up to ‘Google Play’. Once you have accomplished this you are able to upload apps that are available to download on various android devices. In order to promote real interest I make all apps completely free for users to use and download.
The challenges
The greatest challenge was to compile the various websites in order to make the app function correctly. Due to the various forms of android devices, compiling an app that is compatible with all android devices was a challenge, but it is compatible for both smartphones and tablets.
The outcomes
The final product was an app available for android tablets and smartphones. This product is available free to users of these devices. It provides opportunities for the students’ relatives living overseas to view the latest examples of learning and creates a platform for discussion. It also provides parents with instant information on their child’s learning and information given directly from the teacher.
Plans for the future
The future plan is to teach students how to create their own apps, based on their own interests. We have a robust Inquiry Learning approach at our school and this would work extremely well as a way of compiling all the student’s information and findings. Once the students have made an app, they will become more enthusiastic to promote their learning. Who knows, we may be even  fashioning the next Bill Gates of Steve Jobs!
App can be downloaded free here: http://goo.gl/hx9C6


Hadleigh Benson
Deputy Principal
Maraetai Beach School

2 comments:

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