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Striving for Excellence (a NISOD/Cengage Partnership Series)
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Applause for App-solutely Amazing Instructional Tools
Valued Contributor

Since the first apps were created in 2008, there have been more than 2 million apps created, and that number is predicted to be 5 million by 2020 according to projections from Sensor Tower. In 2012 approximately 20,000 of those were categorized as educational, and today there are 80,000 educational apps available. There are an estimated 2500 educational apps created every day. educational-773651_960_720.jpg


That certainly may explain the difficulty in searching for the best apps to use for a particular purpose in our courses, accomplish certain goals, or meet specific instructor and student needs.  It can be app-solutely overwhelming! 


The ability to learn from our colleagues sharing what they’re already using in their classroom, can be a huge timesaver and ensure that we’re investing our time wisely, as we struggle to find the time to learn new digital tools.  Some institutions share technology resources through an Adjunct blog, or have brown-bag lunch and learns where they encourage faculty to come and share. Does your institution have a process in place for faculty to share best practices and digital tools they use in the classroom? 


There are also online resources available, that can help you find the right app to meet your needs including the search engines and tools below: 


AppCrawler: semantic search engine for iOS and Android apps

Alternativto: provides multiple options similar to specific web-based software and apps, including user reviews

Padagogy wheel: categorizes apps based on function and Bloom's thinking skill level


Shawn Orr, the Director of Faculty Development and Adjunct Faculty Member at Ashland University, shares four of her favorite apps HERE (link to NISOD) and describes how she uses them in her courses.


She uses:


MindTap- to motivate and encourage students to study anytime, anywhere

Plickers- to collect formative and summative data

Kahoot- to keep students engaged with content in a fun way

Aurasma- to provide real-time information through pictures and videos



What are some of your favorite apps to use with students? 


Can you share your own examples of how you may have used one of these apps?