Birds-eye view of people drinking coffee around a table with laptop and tablet used to represent ecoffee at SGH.

e-coffee@sghDecember’s e-coffee@SGH explored some of the 12 apps of Christmas recommended by Dublin Institute of Technology and Regent’s University London. Both discuss how the apps suggested can be used in education, with case studies and examples.

Sway is increasingly being used to create interactive presentations that students can work through (or create) independently.  As part of Office 365, it is possible to log in with university details.  Presentations can include links, images, embedded video and tweets.  Although the app version offers fewer options, it is a quick means of presenting information in a visually appealing and engaging way.

Lensoo Create is an interactive whiteboard app, allowing users to create narrated videos to demonstrate or explain concepts.  It is a free app that is similar to the popular Explain Everything.

Another imaginative way of capturing learning is using Stop Motion Studio which offers a simple means of creating stop-motion animations – photograph a series of images, add audio or text as needed and the app does the rest.

Other useful apps to support learning suggested included Mind Node, a mindmapping tool, and MathPad, which converts handwritten equations into digital format.

We discussed free vs paid apps, talking about the fact that paying for apps for personal use is often valuable, although if students are being asked to download apps to be used in class teaching, it helps to have good free apps available.  One suggestion was to look at Zeek for discounted gift cards, or to look out for the iTunes free app of the week, for instance by following the Twitter hashtag #freeappoftheweek.

The other theme explored during the session was augmented reality apps, including Quiver which generates 3D animations from colourings, and Blippar, which scans and identify objects in your environment, leading to further information.

We will be picking up this theme in out next session on Feb 9th, Thinglink: the basics and beyond.  Thinglink is a simple tool for making images interactive using a range of existing resources, and the session will also look at using this to create simple virtual environments with one app, a couple of photos and a web browser.

ecoffee @ SGH: 12 apps of Christmas

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