Working with applications and Edtech tools in the classroom always raises debates between teachers, IT professionals, and Edtech specialists. The discussion often centers around the best apps to use and how to integrate them into lessons, since one of the most widespread technology goals in education is incorporating more technology in the classroom.
This discussion signals one key point that schools and districts should reflect deeply about: the connection between tech goals and learning goals. This collaboration should not be limited only to content distribution, leaving aside classroom practices. It’s important to keep in mind how applications – and how the technology in general – can enhance the learning potential of students.
One way to make the connection between tech goals and learning goals clearer to everyone involved is building a strong application library. In this digital environment, teachers can select the applications they are going to integrate into their classes. In addition, students are allowed to see other apps suggested by the educational institution that might interest them.
This makes it easier to observe how students are interacting with apps related to specific learning goals, as well as the success of this particular tech goal we're talking about. To illustrate this, we're going to present one example – but it is relevant to thousands of applications.
In some cases, on-demand applications can allow for a more personalized approach for teachers and students. Let’s look at this example.
Literature teachers propose a project to tenth grade students. The project involves the students preparing a presentation about some classic literature. In addition, to demonstrate the knowledge they have about the novels, they should build this presentation using multimedia resources such as texts, images, and even videos. We can see here that there is one, clear learning goal: to develop students’ multimedia literacy skills.
This is a complex project, and several applications can be used – presenting a great opportunity to increase the use of technology in the classroom (our tech goal). The students can use the traditional Keynote app, which could already be installed on their devices. But they can (and should) use their creativity and use other applications as well, such as Book Creator, iMovie, Padlet, or even GarageBand.
What if the teachers want each group of students to use the applications they want, but also would like to suggest a few for them? This is what makes the application library extremely important! It does not make much sense to install all of the apps for all students, because teachers also want them to use creativity and choose their own. The best thing to do in this case is to make the apps suggested by the teachers available to students in the library.
A mobile device management solution (MDM) can help make the process of building an application library easier. The MDM helps you stream app distribution by installing apps remotely on the Apple devices. But, as we said, building the application library is not only about that.
If you are an IT professional working for an educational institution, an MDM designed just for schoolswill help you so much more along the way. By offering features built based on schools’ and districts’ hierarchies, a good MDM will provide you with the settings to distribute your applications in the best way. You can not only assign the apps to specific grade levels or class periods, but also add them to the application library or – as we like to call it – the self-service page.
By making applications easily available to students, schools encourage students to use the apps they suggest, while allowing for some creative freedom. The school and/or district has a digital environment in which learning and teaching practices using applications are organized, and this makes it easier to achieve both learning goals and tech goals.
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