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 including the 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, and anyone can be a developer. A popular app can see millions of downloads in a 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 — themselves a new way of delivering software that reduces distribution and marketing costs significantly. Apple’s app store opened in July 2008; Google’s followed in October of that year. Since then, simple but useful apps have found their way into almost every form of human endeavor.

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

  • Distance learning must provide as much tools as possible to their students to help them learn and practice everywhere and in any moment. Thus, the use of free or un-expensive mobile apps within the formal educational process is becoming more common everyday. - Sergio Sergio Jul 22, 2012
  • because mobile apps can be created quickly and cheaply and shared with people easily, there is potential for a richer range of educational technology software to be made available to learners - and we could then see a faster development cycle than at present. Ultimately, I hope that we will see a much more creative market for learning tools. - Sarah.Porter Sarah.Porter Aug 10, 2012
  • there is also a more subtle point - because mobile technologies are becoming so integrated into individuals' lifestyles, they are blurring the boundary between formal educational content and entertainment. Game-style learning applications hold big potential to help learners to focus upon particular topics e.g. for spelling, mathematics - Sarah.Porter Sarah.Porter Aug 10, 2012
  • Students can build --not only use-- apps! Like it happened with Logo, app programming may help students understand the physical processes they pretend to model. Mobiles add geolocation, Internet and file sharing to regular instrumentation, thus enabling endless possibilities. A GPS plus instantaneous sharing means being able to crowdsource a weather map of a large region. - antonio.vantaggiato antonio.vantaggiato Aug 18, 2012
  • I also see a tremendous space of possibilities for SMS integration within mobile apps that can be used effectively in STEM education. - antonio.vantaggiato antonio.vantaggiato Aug 18, 2012
  • Considering many schools are BYOD - bring your own device - the time is now to leverage the power of these incredible tools that are in their pocket. Being able to connect to students using mobile technology is a goldmine for pushing content, reminding students about deadlines, accessing content outside of classes.- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Aug 25, 2012
  • Also thinking about mobile programming is a potential STEM area to focus on - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Aug 25, 2012

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

  • I'd suggest merging mobiles, mobile apps and tablet computing, as I don't think this separation it is helpful. - Nick Nick Aug 5, 2012
  • add your response here

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • STEM+ education is particularly suitable for practice-oriented activities. Mobile apps are very powerful tools to deliver this activities to our students allowing them to make use of them in any place and moment. - Sergio Sergio Jul 22, 2012
  • Agree! Also, apps can model many science processes... It is interesting to explore for instance the concept of network with a networked device, within an internetworked environment!- antonio.vantaggiato antonio.vantaggiato Aug 18, 2012
  • Mobile programming can hook more students into STEM - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Aug 25, 2012

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

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