Sunday 18 October 2015


RefMe Ltd

Available on iOS, Android

A perfect student tool to support student's ability to easily reference literature sources, including those text books purchased or burrowed from the University Library.  The app is the perfect study tool for capturing literature sources into a reference format; the app can accommodate books, journal articles, web pages, videos, newspapers, artwork, legislation and images.   In the case of hard-copy of books, newspapers and journals the app uses the mobile device camera to enable students to capture a sources bar-code and converts the information into a reference format. The app supports 7,500 different reference styles, including Harvard, APA and MLA.   The app could not be simpler, a valuable study tool as ensures and assists students in preparing their citations and referencing in the correct format in their coursework. The tool also supports exporting into numerous popular reference management tools for example Endnote, Mendeley, RefWorks, etc.   This app every student should install and use.

Monday 3 June 2013



Friends of The Web, LLC


Available on iOS

This tool shows the web link connections between Wikipedia articles.  Enables the user to gain an understanding of information is interconnected.  The user can see visual array of how pages and how each subject are interconnected to the original search, as well as the original Wikipedia page for the original searched topic.  Users can click on connections to reveal next layer of interconnections to sub-topics, see figure 1.

Figure 1: Example Wikiweb search results on iPad

Wikiweb is very similar to another concept mapping tool C-links developed by University of Braford, [1-2].  C-links is another concept linkage search tool of Wikipedia accessible from a web browser.   This is tool similar to Wikiweb in that shows interconnections in Wikipedia, but user specifies two subjects to be searched for the interconnections, but output only Wikipedia definitions not the original wiki page.   Therefore the user has to have some initial peripheral knowledge to be aware that two subjects could be interconnected.

The benefits of Wikiweb for students it provides wider picture of a subject area, concept mapping; an insight to what, where and which subtopics they need to read around to build up a broad and deeper understanding of a subject access to original Wiki page and references.  As academics per say Wikipedia is not something we tend to recommend as a primary secondary research source to be cited, however it is practical starting point.   I tend to recommend to students that they should read the original references cited in the wiki pages to layer and deepen their knowledge and understandings; these are the sources they should be citing as knowledge evidence to support to their communications.


[1] Cowling, P., Remde, S., Hartley, P., Stewart, W., Stock-Brooks, J., & Woolley, T. (2010). C-Link: Concept Linkage in Knowledge Repositories, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Spring symposium, Stanford University, Stanford, California, March 22-24, 2010, last accessed 3rd June 2013 at

[2] Hartley, P. (2013) Effective Learning Resources, in Producing engaging and effective and effective learning materials, Webinar 5 OcTEL, ALT, 6th May 2013

Wednesday 1 May 2013



CloudOn Inc


Available on iOS and Android

Another Office tool however it fills the gap of providing MSOffice like functionality (particularly the toolbar which very similar to MS Office applications) onto your mobile device in the absence of MS Office app.   Plus you can sync the device with Google Drive, SkyDrive, Box and DropBox, open, edit and save to the drives documents. 

The MS Office like functionality is much welcomed;
  1. it reduces the learning curve for users
  2. increases the user  ability to produces documents with polish on mobile devices
  3. increase the user ability to polish Google docs stored on Google Drive

In addition the app opens Open Office documents, a preferred application for word processing by tech' students, but consequently cannot be opened and read by their tutor when digitally submitted on the Institutional desktop or typically on their mobile devices.   Resulting in a delay in providing feedback as; the tutor bounces the document back; askes the student to export the document to a more accessible format; the tutor requires a format that can be opened in applications available to the tutor.   For a change I can open the document in CloudOn, subsequently read, edit, feedback, store and share the document on Google Drive (as at my employer's institution we provide every student with a Google account).  
CloudOn provides the opportunity for academics to increase our efficiency in feeding back to students, but also increases the ease of access of providing feedback.   The CloudOn technology is enhancing the learning process rather than hindering as making it;
  • easier
  • more accessible
  • more intuitive
  • more efficient

However again you are signing up to a Cloud service, which is not designed for under 18 year old and currently free.   Like all Cloud services their conditions subject to change, for example privacy policy.

Monday 29 April 2013



Summly (but just been bought by Yahoo, [1])


Available on iPhone

An app I have used for quite some time, the look and feel is beautiful, one can understand Yahoo buying this app out for several thousand, [1].   However it has meant the android app has been shelved.  

The app deliveries summaries of the news from leading on-line official news sources, for example The Guardian,etc.  The news articles are summarised down to typically to 140 words, so the news is easier to digest on your iPhone.   The app enables you to scan the news and gain an appreciation of the key world news. This is a useful app if you are an academic that uses news articles in your lecture to assist in making your subject area more current.

However unlike Flipboard and twitter news stream with an embedded web link, when you click on the summarised article in Summly it will not take you to the full article.  Just occasionally users may wish to read more and in more depth.. 

It is quick and easy resource to give oneself a quick overview of the news, but does not provide functionality to collate all the relevant news articles together in your own personal news summary, as you can in Flipboard.  However, it is Summly’s simplicity that attracted this student to the app, to support their learning of the mainstream news oppose to Flipboard;

“[Flipboard] at the moment it can sometimes feel like too much, it can feel like there are too many features compared to apps like Summly”

The app provides functionality that enables you to share individual news articles via Facebook, Twitter, and email.   The functionality is rather neat in design and practical, but you still can’t share collation of articles together like in Flipboard.


[1] Saner, E. (2013) " Summly creator Nick D'Aloisio: 'I try to maintain a level of humbleness'”The Guardian Friday 29th March 2013, last accessed 2nd ay 2013 at

Sunday 28 April 2013





Available on iPhone

The popular email management system for Gmail launched this year , ideal for students at out institution as the student email account is Gmail.   The app enables the user to quickly swipe through your emails to

·         bin junk mail,

·         file as done into archive (i.e. when read and acted upon)

·         reset to be read or act upon from later evening, tomorrow, next week, month, someday

·         set to buy, read and watch

·         see whole email conversation

Suddenly you can easily manage your inbox efficiently never lose the important emails in the sea of emails in the inbox, enabling you to organise them to be acted upon later when one has time to address appropriately and correctly.   Feedback from one student:

“Before downloading this app all my emails would permanently stay in my inbox and made the task managing and responding to emails misery.   Mailbox helps me to keep my inbox at zero, it makes my email work around me and the other way round”

Just need it to support Microsoft exchange mail please, to help my life easier and Android to support the majority students as they own Android phones, [1]


[1] Woodcock, B.  Armstrong, M. Nortcliffe, A. and Middleton, A. (2012) Smart-device potential for student learning, Mobile Monday Manchester: Mobile Education Event, Manachester, UK, 12th November 2012, last accessed 23rd April 2013 at

Friday 26 April 2013



By MacPhun LLC


Available iPhone and iPad

One the assessment tasks I like to set my students at second year, rather than presentation or pitch, is a standalone presentation.  This can use standalone functionality in Prezi or Powerpoint.   However I like to encourage my students to actually make a video, challenge themselves technically to communicate effectively to the audience.   My assessment brief state the presentation can be any genre.

Vintagio enables students to easily make a silent video, provides the functionality to record, edit and publish the films in formats from 20’s, sepia to 70’s yellow tinged footage.   The app equally supplies appropriate and a choice of period soundtracks for each film effect.   The pro editing facility is excellent you can:

·       add footage film, photos, to the timeline

·       add text cards (however you cannot change size of text, little annoying,  despite change font)

·       add transition of fade in or out at varying speeds

·       move footage along the timeline using drag drop

·       trim and split footage

·       duplicate, reverse, flip, and change the speed of footage

Finally you can share the video to array of social media You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, Cinemagram and mobile device camera roll.  It is a just a simple app to use and quite effective.

Wednesday 24 April 2013



By MobileTag


Available for Blackberry, Android, Kindle Fire HD, Windows 8 mobile OS and iOS mobile platforms

Reported to be the first mobile QRCode reader, admittedly I have had this app on my iPhone since 2009, when there was choice of two QRCode reading apps.   The advantage of this Mobile code reader is that it can scan QRCodes, Barcodes and Matrix codes, 3 in 1 app.

For learning purposes why would I recommend anyone ensuring they have QRCode app on their mobile device.   In reality it is now common place for magazines, newspaper, books and posters to have QRcodes.   QRCodes present publishers with the opportunity to provide additional copy on the web without the print and ddistribution cost or dynamic web based information for example a video, podcast, animation, live data stream or changing data resource.   Practical learning examples;

·      QRCodes could be used in a Maths text book to enable the reader to access video of showing a mathematical theory being applied, and assisting the learner to progress through Kolb’s learning cycle, [1].  

·      Equally modern History text book could use QRCodes to take the reader to a video recording of the historical event.

·      Universität Trier in Germany has been experimenting using QRCodes in text books to encourage and to take students to electronic display of tutorial exercises, the student completes the exercises on the mobile device, [2]. 

However, one has to question whether it is appropriate to use of QRCodes in printed text books when printed media is on the demise and digital books on the rise, and hyperlinks in digital books can be applied. 

QRCodes on posters and projected on the classroom screen would be a practical learning method.   The method would enable academics to take their students to learning activities with ease in class, without the error of typing in a URL address.   QRCodes are certainly practical and interactive method of taking students to an on-line exercise to complete and submit in a class.   I have used them on posters to take students to a dynamic website designed and developed by students on my behalf to show a different App each day for learning.

Mobiletag app is easy to operate, the opened app is ready to scan, once the app has been shown a code (good lightening conditions are required) it quickly scans the code, decodes and opens the URL coded in the code on the mobile device’s web browser. This is a simple and effective app, certainly must app for academics and students.


[1] Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

[2] Röpke, J. and Schneider, G. (2012) More: Mobile Referencing System for Printed Media, CSEDU 2012, Porto, Portugal, 387-394, last accessed on 24th April 2013 at