Your own app – WHY not?

5791320785_0af75e63e5_bShe is now 3 month old almost 4 month old, our little one. It’s a gift and I’m very thankful that I get to experience this journey. On the other hand I definitely miss my work at school and as much the professional input and exchange I always got from my colleagues, my PLN through Coetail, Twitter, etc. It’s time to get into it again at least online. Time will tell whether I can make it regularly but nothing wrong with giving it a try. Here I am again.

 

Photo Credit: César Poyatos via Compfight cc

Arriving here in Singapore at the beginning of the year as well as becoming and now being a mother can be a challenge but with the help of the Internet and endless apps on my iPhone it was and it is so much easier. I really do not want to live without technology anymore. Here is a list of only a few apps I’m using and why they are beneficial:

Google Maps
Useful for orientation, public transport connections and even for locating certain shops in huge department stores. There are other apps for the public transport system but Google Maps works best for me.

Grab Taxi
I like to use the public transport system but again with a little one life changes.

GoGoVan
Depending of preference you need to buy new / used things for your apartment. How to transport the new used outdoor furniture for the balcony if you don’t have a car? Call GoGoVan and a driver plus van will help you out.

WhatsApp / Facebook / Meetup
Useful for socialising with friends back in Europe and new people I’m meeting here in Singapore. Thanks especially for great pregnancy and parenting support groups on Facebook as well as the WhatsApp group from our preparation course. Now it’s Meetup which helps me to find like-minded mothers, playdates and maybe even like-minded educators.

Nursing Rooms
Somebody who grew up in Europe and visits Singapore for the first time it might be overwhelming. How many shopping malls seduce us to spend a lot of money. I like the shopping malls for two other reasons: the food court to try some new food and the nursing rooms which provide me a little bit of privacy during nursing. And here comes the app which tells me what floor I have to go and how they are equipped.

First Aid from the British Red Cross
Being a parent means learning which is great. But a lot of things happen and you are not prepared. It’s good to know where to get the information and knowledge you need. The First Aid apps helps although in this case I flip or I should flip through the app more often in advance to prepare myself in the case of emergency.

And there are so many more …

Not only the growing personal use of mobile apps makes it obvious, also the growing market of mobile apps let me wonder how school and teachers react to this development. Personally I haven’t meet anybody who gave it a try. Maybe because I worked in primary. Just for food for thought (By 2017, the App Market Will Be a $77 Billion Industry (Infographic)):

In 2015 1 billion smartphones will be sold.

An average smartphone user spends 30 hours/mth on more than twenty mobile apps.

Smartphone users are willing to spend at least 5$ or more for an app.

Wikipedia says that on June 8, 2015 there were 1 400 000 apps available for downloading. 1 Billion apps were downloaded.

Here are another 6 reasons why mobile apps will become as important for companies as corporate websites.

Anyways … Back to my question: How is school reacting to this development?

Since a while I was wondering how difficult or how easy it is to build a mobile app and whether is it possible to inspire students in school. It took me a while to find some information – Students Learn App Development (2012) / Want to engage students? Have them create apps.(05/2014) / Schüler lernen Apps zu programmieren (04/2015) / AppCampus.

Want to be impressed?

Here are some examples of apps created by students:

Rainbow Loom – How to make amazing things with rubber bands (More than 50000 downloads! )

Recommended for Readers – book recommendations for other students up to Grade 8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E_Vz5JpyYU)

iDesign – Let’s share fashion tips

Golden Doodles  Teach about dog breed

Here an example of an app developed by a teacher:

Tweechme – Want to build and grow your personal learning network? Go for this app. Everything about Twitter.

My patience was paid off. There are many Mobile Application Development (MAD) apps but I was most attracted by an educational program called MAD-learn by Crescerance which teaches students how to create their own apps. Mad-learn basically provides lesson plans and additional resources to encourage and support teachers teaching mobile application development. It teaches not only students but also me as a teacher which is a big advantage.

On their website you find the following information:

What is MAD-learnTM ?

A program that brings Mobile Application Development into the classroom for students to learn programming at a very young age. MAD is short for Mobile Application Development. MAD-learn is a rich, end-to-end program for teaching cross platform mobile application development. The program includes:

An Online Graphical Mobile App Development Platform

Live Educator Support

An Expert Coding Community

A Full Programming Curriculum.

Curious to get more information?

Website of the program: https://mad-learn.com/

Youtube:   Students become Creators of Technology with MAD-Learn

Crescerance Videos

MAD-learn Webinar by Julene Reed and Connie White

I contacted the company but unfortunately they couldn’t give me a test access to the system (because I’m not working at a school at the moment and I’m not a potential customer?). The contact person sent me a lot of additional information though. Such a bummer though! Maybe somebody can give me an access just to play around a bit and get an impression?

If I had a chance to create apps in school with students I would give it a try because it’s the future of using technology. So far a lot students consume apps but after identifying a personal problem or need they would get the chance to actually create an app and solve a problem. It gives the students an authentic learning opportunity. Besides that many other aspects of education like language learning, team work, perseverance, communication, thinking skills and so many more are part of the learning experience (HTEA Administration Speaking about MAD-learn.) The contact person of Crescerance provided me a collection of ideas for an app.

As a next step I’m going to watch the Webinar about MAD-learn which I mentioned above.

And then unfortunately I have to research further to find a program which allows me (maybe) to develop and app privately. Or just play around a bit. App Inventor? Maybe I will go for a German version with the company AppCamps. Can you recommend any other?

And … even more important … If I want to realise something I should think about an idea? Maybe it’s something related to being a parent or living in Singapore. Let’s see.

And … If I won’t program my own app maybe my daughter will give it a try.

4 thoughts on “Your own app – WHY not?

  1. Vivian

    Hi Verena!

    It’s great to see you posting again. I hope you’re settled into your new life in Singapore. Having your first child is a crazy rollercoaster ride, but it is a priceless time of your life. Enjoy it as much as you can. Don’t feel shy about paying for help with the apartment and/or childcare. It’s one of the big advantages to living in Asia so take advantage of it, while you can.

    There was a workshop on how to “build your own app” at the ECIS Ed Tech conference in Munich, this past spring. I didn’t attend it but maybe you should find out who that teacher was and connect with him.

    Take care and keep blogging!

    Vivian

    Reply
  2. Profile photo of Alexander TabunetsAlexander Tabunets

    Hi Verena,
    It’s a coincidence as I myself applied for MAD a week ago to use it in our school and Larry sent me many links to explore all the options and see how it works. I did not get a testing access yet as we are in the process of examining all the information to decide whether to go with this (I actually did not expect they would provide a test access so I am even more excited about it now). If we decide to go with MAD, I will keep you posted so that you can try as well. I am trying to see more about what can be done in this aspect with the lower primary students (grades 2-4). MAD states that this program is tailored for grades 2-8 which works for me. At this moment I am examining the existing evidence of how grade 2 students can create apps using this program. We did a lot of Scratch programming in our school but recently started thinking about moving a bit further towards creating apps for ourselves. I think students would love the idea of creating an app for their personal use, exactly the way they envisioned it and at this age they do have awesome ideas. We are inclined to test it first as an ASA with different age to see how it goes and then bring it into the classrooms. Let’s keep in touch! Maybe our kids will start swapping their apps soon!

    Reply
  3. Verena Zimmer

    Hi Alexander,

    Thanks for sharing. Yes, let’s keep in contact.

    Due to the fact that I’m not working at a school at the moment, I ask my nephew whether he wants to give it a try. He was extremely enthusiastic. I still have to think about how we will communicate the best way because he lives in Germany and I live in Singapore.

    At the moment I’m following documentation of Samsung:

    – GUIDE TO TEACHING CODING
    link to scholastic.com
    – GUIDE TO TEACHING MOBILE APP CONCEPTING
    link to scholastic.com

    Definitely something to start with. The idea finding process will be the start. For this I created a padlet:
    link to padlet.com … Let’s see how everything will go.

    Verena

    Reply

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