Apps for mobiles have been available for a few years and the market is ever expanding. Both academics and students are struggling to appreciate which apps to purchase to support their learning. The mobile apps for learning blog aim is to provide a review of mobile apps for learning. The blog reviews whenever possible will provide academic and students reflections on the rationale for using a particular apps to support their learning.
Free if your institution Blackboard License Agreement includes Blackboard Mobile Learn
Available for Android, Palm WebOS, Blackberry and iOS mobile platforms
Provides access to all your module/organisation blackboard sites whilst on the go. Enables you organise your favourite module/organisation sites to provide ready, quick and easy access to module/organisation resources, that is your learning material, announcements, assessments, discussion boards, groups and staff details, etc.
In fact many of the resource functionality on the app is more intuitive and quicker to use than on the desktop. For example to add a thread to discussion board takes two clicks, you can add files from Dropbox, photos or image taken with your Smart Device camera. Bb discussion board finally meets Twitter/Instagram/Facebook to provide a social media functionality that is familiar to learners and academics alike, but in safe closed shop learning environment. Functionality that has been somewhat missing with the desktop version; the ability to social network and post images at any time and any place.
Even how academics configures a Blackboard site on a desktop can be designed as to how you would like students to interact with the learning resources uploaded as attachments. Attaching a file using paperclip in an item description will result in the mobile user being required to open the attachment in browser window in Bb mobile learning app and the user not being able to open the resource further in any other app on the smartdevice. Whereas files attached using the attachment tool in the item, the file will open in its own window in the Bb mobile learning app and will enable the user with the functionality to open the document in other apps installed on your Smart device, for example word document can be opened in Pages app (if you have your have this app installed on your smartdevice). The app is just so simple.
This app on the iPad has revolutionized how I interact with Blackboard and my students. The app is so beautiful, accessible, user-friendly, inter-operable with other valuable apps. The functionality of the mobile app makes the desktop version in comparison feel clunky, dated and tired. The app is just so simple and has provided me with impetus to and mechanism to want to use our VLE again. It is shame that I have to use the desktop version to configure and populate each year the module site resources, also to view and edit student grades and feedback. However all module management; announcements, discussion contributions, email communication , opening and reviewing student e-assessment submissions then the Blackboard learn mobile is the app of choice.
The app is available for the android platform, the app is not quite as refined as the iOS version, however the following Students’ reflections operating android mobile systems are still quite impressed;
“The Blackboard mobile app allows me to simplify my work setup and, as all my documents are at my fingertips, aids my leaning during lectures, seminars and labs. The BB mobile app is one of the biggest innovations in student experience, ever.”
“The Blackboard mobile app represents the final phase of integration into the lives of students. A one touch solution to learning services is exactly what the students of today are looking for. It doesn't get much more personal than having it in your pocket.”