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Mobile Apps

An app is short for application software. Apps are designed to help a user perform a particular function. From writing and drawing to mapping and gaming, apps come in many forms. Apple's iPhone kickstarted the latest generation of application software known simply as "apps." At the Apple Apps Store, users can download thousands of these small, focused applications for the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad. Apps can also be used on other handheld devices.

readRead The Future of Apps and the Web by Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie from PewInternet (2012).

A 2010 PewInternet survey titled The Rise of Apps Culture found that 35% of adults have apps on their phones however only 24% have used them. This is likely to change as apps become more popular on tools such as the iPad, Mac, and Google Chrome.

readRead Rise of the Apps Culture (September 2010) from the Pew Internet Project. This article focuses on the rising popularity of applications on handheld devices and other portable devices such as the iPad.

try itWatch a video interview by Will Richardson with Children's Software Review editor Warren Buckleitner about the iPad.

Generally apps are free or inexpensive tools that can be quickly downloaded. They often connect to the Internet. For instance, there's a Google Earth app that allows handheld users to connect to Google Earth.

readRead What the iPad Might Mean for Libraries by Christopher Harris in School Library Journal (March 1, 2010).

Digital interaction and collaboration can take place in many learning spaces. For example, many electronic keyboards and other handheld devices have infra-red or bluetooth technology allowing easy information sharing.

Infrared allows devices in close proximity to communicate. Many handheld simulations and interactive games involve this type of sharing.

appsBluetooth technology allows devices to connect through wireless personal area networks. For example your keyboard, mouse, printers, and digital cameras could all communicate with your computer through a personal area network. For example, it's common for a smart phone user to share information from their address book with another person running the Palm OS system.

try itTo learn more about handhelds, explore Discover Handhelds by Annette Lamb. Many of these activities involve interactions. If you've never used infrared or bluetooth technology find a friend or visit a store and see how it works.

Mobile Apps in Learning and Libraries

ipadMobile Apps are increasingly common in schools and libraries. A growing number of apps focus on basic educational topics such as learning a foreign language or reviewing for the SAT.

Read Piloting iPads in Library Settings from Not Too Distant Future blog to learn about how one library is using iPads and other mobile technology.

readRead Essential Research Apps: Creating a Library from Joyce Valenza in School Library Journal.

Apple's iPad (shown left) is drawing the interest of schools and libraries as a way to provide many of the options provided on a laptop without the complexity and cost. The combination of Apps with iBooks and iTunesU is very powerful. The built-in tools to promote accessibility are also important.

try itExplore Ipad from Apple in Education and Apps from Apple in Education to find many examples of how apps are used in learning.

readRead 7 Things You Should Know About Mobile Apps for Learning (PDF) from EDUCAUSE.

QR Codes in Learning and Libraries

A QR Code stands for "quick response" and is a matrix barcode that is readable with a QR scanner or smartphone. The image consists of black dots in a square on a white background. Increasingly they are being with with mobile apps.

QR Codes can easily be places on signs, posters, and in handouts. Go to Lizards Are Cool for an example.

The use of the QR Code is free of any license so individuals can create the and use them as they wish. If you want to try it out you can find apps at the Android Market and iTunes App Store.

You can download a QR reader to your desktop or use a portable reader.

To learn how to create QR codes, go to QRStuff. It's one of the easiest to use.

Mobile Apps in Learning and Libraries

QR Codes are being used throughout the library for both informational and learning activities.

readRead QR Codes in the Library.

readRead Using QR Codes in the Classroom.

The YouTube video on the right talked about how QR codes could be used with library books.

For lots of ideas for using QR Codes in the Library go to the Scan Me! blog.

Read more about QR codes:

URL Shorteners

exampleURL Shorteners are useful when sharing long URLs in a display, handout, or anywhere else where a short URL would be useful. Keep in mind that not everyone has a way to access QR codes. It's a good idea to put a tiny URL under your QR code for people who can't use the QR code. Click the QR Code to go to the short URL.

Go to the Library Cloud for some examples.

Links to the materials in this section can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of this page. Continue to the arrow means an internal linkLearning Spaces: Interactive Technology: Augmented Reality page.

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