Are you simply marching to the beat of the App drum? Can you IEAR it? - Tech Learning

Are you simply marching to the beat of the App drum? Can you IEAR it?

 Community and collaboration is the most vital aspect for improving education by members of the ed tech world. Technology is really at a point where we can make a difference as a collective body in so many ways. Sometimes we
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 Community and collaboration is the most vital aspect for improving education by members of the ed tech world. Technology is really at a point where we can make a difference as a collective body in so many ways. Sometimes we just need a spark to ignite a movement ...

I started I Education Apps Review for a few reasons. IEAR.org was my attempt to start making sense out of the app revolution and how apps and mobile learning may or may not make a difference in the classroom. When I first began doing reviews, I was overwhelmed by the shear number of "bad apps" under the educational category. I still am to be honest ... I found myself overly impressed early on with weak apps because they had potential. As I became more critical and poignant with my reviews, app developers began to take more notice. Several applications were improved because of this feedback. There is a lot of potential there as we all want to make a difference. I repeatedly would state, "if only we could talk with the developers to improve the effectiveness of these apps!" IEAR.org was born ...

I Education Apps Review is now a community of over 500 educators, administrators and app developers. There is a lot of potential power in bringing these communities together and we hope to see a lot of growth within mobile learning because of the power of this community. We now have over 30 volunteer "educator" app reviewers who are taking a closer look at the overall educational value of "educational apps". We hope that others see the value of this collaboration and decide to join. We have some amazing people involved in this community that include some of our industry's most well known to classroom teachers who are just beginning to dip their toes into the online professional network world and there is a lot of potential power there!

Basically, IEAR.org has become a community and not an individual endeavor. Admittedly, my name is often associated with IEAR.org at this point but I am happy to report that this is changing rapidly. Members of this community have taken ownership in many ways as we are a true grass roots movement. Check out the list of members who are "featured for either being a community organizer, app reviewer or volunteer in some fashion". App reviewers and community organizers are free to use the IEAR concept for their own work moving forward. The community is completely embedded in an open creative commons license. While IEAR.org is not on the scale of the Classroom 2.0 NING (several others as well), it is an attempt to marry several educational communication tools into one community.

IEAR.org has a blog with the purpose of posting daily educational app reviews and to embed daily thoughts on how to use these apps and devices for personal productivity, as classroom tools, and other creative educational uses. We are almost at the point of having an app review every day! Every Wednesday, we are posting tips, tricks, and more for everyone. Additionally, we have done several "interviews" of people who are using these devices in some fashion or they are simply experts in their field. I look forward to this portion of the site growing as well. We do have a NING (pending NING's new pricing structure) attached for the community discussion piece in which we would love to see more teachers, administrators and APP developers! There is a wiki attached as well, but to be honest, this is the weakest link at this point. We hoped that the wiki would be a repository for lesson planning and creative educational uses.

Here is the basic disclaimer for the site. I Education Apps Review's goal and or focus is to take a look at practical, useful, and educationally sound ways to use mobile learning in the classroom. The iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and other similar devices such as Android phones are amazing pieces of technology. We believe that these devices have a place in today's classroom as long as they are utilized properly.

We do not intend to bash application developers or their applications with our reviews. We intend to take a closer look at these educationally marketed applications in the education category or the educational / game category in the ITunes Store to make a determination as to the value of their impact in education. We would also like to expand a little beyond this category and talk about applications not marketed as educational to see if they can make an impact in the classroom.

After discussing key information about the application such as who created them and how much, we intend to evaluate the application as to its educational value. Each application will get a "Grade Level" attached to it and a grade for "Purpose", "Program Functionality", and Educational Value. Finally, we will make a decision on whether or not to recommend the application for personal use and school use...

Can this community be improved? Absolutely ... Is there a lot of potential for arguments as to what constitutes good educational value for these apps and devices? Absolutely ... Are these devices and apps simply a continuation of "traditional teaching" methodology? Perhaps ... but ... Answering these questions is a lot of fun and the purpose of this community. IEAR.org is all about trying to have a discussion about the value of these devices and these apps without corporate involvement.

Here is the IEAR.org App Review Philosophy: Please keep in mind as we move forward, our overarching goal is to grow and improve a community that does not reflect individual contributions but rather a voice for all of us to use as a call to improve the use of this technology in the learning process for our students. We hope that you will take ownership of IEAR in some fashion. While I may have started this community and the initial IEAR movement, all recognition will ultimately fall on the community as a whole. I look forward to learning so much from you all as we work together moving forward. Your reviews are your property but they are to published on the IEAR site under an open Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license. We highly encourage you to cross post your review to your own blog as well. As an official reviewer, you can use the IEAR logos, name, and information created in any of your own personal work. This is a community and not an individual effort.

As we tell our new community members on a regular basis ... I look forward to hearing your feedback on how we can improve this community. Dive right in and give us your thoughts on any apps, these devices, etc. ... Let's help each other find a better way to utilize the potential of these devices as a community of educators, interested administrators, and concerned app developers ...

Well ... IEAR.org would love to have you join the community and take ownership of the process ...

 Crossposted at SMeech.net and IEAR.org ...

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