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Education Apps, Smartphones and Clickers

posted August 6, 2011  |  Appears in the September/October 2011 issue of EdTech Magazine.

 

The Summer of Storage

Users of Google Apps for Education received some good news in their e-mail over the summer – their inboxes were about to get bigger. Google Apps for ­Education, the tech company's free, hosted application suite that includes communication tools, collaboration apps, and a variety of administrative features, will now include 25 gigabytes of storage with each user's mailbox, a substantial increase from the previous 7GB of storage that was offered.

One Clicker to Rule Them All

Pennsylvania State University recently announced that it would support a single student response device (or clicker) for use across its 20 campuses. This standardization will help curb student costs (between $30 and $60 apiece for the devices) as more classrooms begin to adopt the technology. The single option will prevent a scenario of students having to purchase multiple devices dependent on the technological whims of the instructor. The California State University system student government recently passed a similar resolution that called for a standardized device for each campus.

Smartphone Smarty-Pants

Students are doing more on their smartphones than going on Facebook and playing Angry Birds. The Scranton Smartphone Survey, conducted in fall 2010 by University of Scranton's Weinberg Memorial Library, found that many students are using their phones for academic purposes as well, countering the common belief that most view their phones as primarily communication and entertainment devices. The most popular type of educational app used by students was a calculator or unit conversion tool, with 78 percent of respondents having used one for school-related work.

SOURCE: EDUCAUSE Quarterly, volume 34, no. 1 (2011)

Most Common Education Apps Used by Students

78% Calculator or unit conversion tool
60% Dictionary or encyclopedia
30% Subject-specific apps (such as periodic tables or literature guides)
15% Flash cards

Ranking Online Education

U.S. News & World Report editor Brian Kelly recently announced that the magazine's annual college rankings will be expanding to include online programs. Eric Brooks, a data analyst for the publication, blogs that the magazine and its websites hope to address three major deficiencies in today's online education data: The lack of a way to assess the quality of online education offerings; the lack of a universal standard of what an online degree constitutes; and the lack of a comprehensive listing of accredited online degree programs.

The magazine contacted more than 1,000 officials at online colleges and university-based online programs, looking to rank programs that are delivered at least 80 percent online.

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