Computers and, later, Web 2.0 have changed the way young people learn. Now apps are set to do the same.
An “app” is short for software application. For example, Angry Birds and Facebook are popular apps on mobile devices. More than 30 million apps are downloaded to mobile devices every day. There are apps to help manage time, convert measurements, lead a healthier lifestyle, and for fun. A good percentage of apps are by nature educational.
Most teenagers have cell phones. And iPads are outselling personal computers. There are now an estimated 1.5 million iPads in U.S. classrooms, and with new digital textbooks introduced this year, that number will likely grow.
Before using apps, remember that learning objectives come first; recommend specific digital tools and communicate clear guidelines to help students meet expectations. Consider, too, whether apps should be used in guided instruction, or if they should be relegated to self-directed learning time. Many teachers now use the Flipped Classroom model, where class time is used primarily for discussion and collaborative work. Digital tools help students develop knowledge and skills prior to class, and help them contribute more substantively to discussions and project work.
So which apps can help build global competence? With a world of possibilities, what follows is a short list of mostly Apple iOS apps to help you get started. To download, go to the Apple iTunes store, search for the app by name, and click on the price button to synch with your device. Several of these apps are available for Android and other devices, too.