You better watch out…12Apps is coming to town

12Apps of Christmas graphic

http://12appsofchristmas.ca/

I made a wish last year, just before Christmas (see the end of my Dec 20th, 2015 blog post http://educomm.ca/appy-holiday-fun), and it looks like it’s coming true!

BC is going to throw it’s own 12Apps of Christmas event (#12AppsBC)- yay!!!

Thanks to my ETUG (and BCcampus) colleagues, Leva Lee and Clint Lalonde,  and the rapidly assembling teams of “techies and teachers” from various higher-ed institutions, it looks as though BC is going to host a 12 Apps of Christmas event modelled on the Creative Commons licensed event developed by Regents University of London‘s Chris Rowell. And if you like the look of the event WordPress site, we had graphic design assistance from Robyn Humphreys (BCcampus). We’re gaining momentum and working out the things we still need to get done to make sure we can keep it fun but useful. Our UK colleagues have “set the bar high!”

Part of what made the 2015 UK-based events (six of them and I followed four!) so fun was the light-hearted approach and clean, straightforward design. Two of the institutions posted daily jokes or puns (I’ve added that to my list as it’s a feature that often made me smile.) I found the consistent structure developed by Regents University London made it easy to get involved in each day’s app and challenge activity. Some of the institutions played with the design but only to add a strong pedagogical focus or a particular insight (e.g., looking at how the app could be used to engage learners with different learning preferences).

As Clint mentioned in his recent post about the event, http://clintlalonde.net/2016/11/14/12-apps-of-christmas, there are literally thousands of apps targeted at education, and we all (educational technologists, faculty, administrators, students) need to become more conversant with ways to sort out the ones that have the greatest value for learning. Of course, evaluating apps seems like a Sisyphean task (IMHO) but exploring their potential uses in teaching and learning seems like a good beginning.

Although I recognize that not every educator will want to use apps in their teaching (for lots of reasons) I think part of the value of participating in an event like 12Apps of Christmas is to get more comfortable with creating – experimenting with the “maker movement”, hands-on, DIY kind of thinking that helps engage learners and strengthen learning.  I know I tend to “overthink” apps, looking for examples of how others used it, reviewing the terms of use, checking for tutorial videos or annotated, illustrated explanations of all the features, before I get to creating anything. The playfulness of the 12Apps event approach encourages everyone to just do something. It would be nice to build some of that freedom to try (and fail, and try again) into the way we design and deliver parts of our courses or the options we offer students to engage in learning. Of course we have to be mindful of the ephemeral nature of some apps and the potential privacy issues (under BC’s FIPPA), but should that  stop us from extracting maximum value for minimum investment?

Our BC-based 12Apps of Christmas endeavour will be a little different than the UK events I participated in last year as we’ve asked that each day’s app be free to experiment with, available on both iOS and Android operating systems, and to have some potential usefulness in education – and that can be anything from communication to content creation. We’re planning on focusing on fun, reflecting on learning and pedagogical possibilities, and getting inspired by participants’ creations, comments, ideas, suggestions.

Hoping that many of you will join in and try the challenge activities each day. Stay tuned for more about #12AppsBC in the coming weeks!

Sylvia

 

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  1. […] in teaching, learning & ed tech in post-secondary education. The event is being coordinated by Sylvia Riessner, Leva Lee and Clint Lalonde with contributions from the wider ETUG […]

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