This is a great topic for the me and the other Global Search for Education: Top 12 Global Teacher Bloggers to discuss as it offers us an opportunity to highlight to technical people that success for technology in education is about placing learners before technology.
Let’s first look at what the most successful apps education have in common. As examples from a long list of possibilities, I would consider:
- Explain Everything – recordable whiteboard
- Scratch – drag and drop coding
- Edmodo – educational social blogging environment
- Minecraft – 3D virtual world for building
- Notability – all purpose notebook
All five seem to offer very different outcomes and opportunities but to me they have 3 key elements that all software designers thinking of targeting education need to be aware of.
1. A Blank Canvas
All the successful apps offer a space to create and personalise the learning outcome. This makes the app adaptable to the learner’s need. As education moves away, or at least tries to, from a standardised delivery model, successful apps need to reflect a world where everyone expects to be able to personalise their own experience.
2. A Social space
All the apps that I like to use and recommend teachers try have a social element. Again, this is something that the world and its children have become accustomed to. Making connections and the building of relationships are simultaneously where the strongest learning takes place and are themselves key skills for young people to develop. My experience in using technology for decades, including hundreds of apps shows that students are happiest when their learning is connected and shared.
3. Student Driven
It is still the case that most people, including software designers, outside education are not fully aware of the quite monumental shifts in conversation about how education will operate over the next twenty years. The primary element in this shift is the move to student driven environments. Successful software in schools will always be that which allows the students to shape what takes place and allows the teacher to guide from the side.
Something I’ve mentioned many times on this blog is how New Zealand leads the world in the shift away from prescribed content delivery. As a teacher in this country, this has meant I have never had the need to download a ‘closed’ content delivery app and developers need to be aware that this should be the last of their design considerations if they want a lasting success.
Author: Richard Wells
Teaches grade 6 to 12 – Head of Technology at NZ High School
Top 40 in edublog awards 2013
Top 12 Blogger – The Global Search for Education
Known for Educational Infographics (see Posters)
and an International Speaker.
Twitter : @EduWells
This post is written as part of The Huffington Post’s The Global Search for Education: Our Top 12 Global Teacher Blogs: A series of questions that Cathy Rubin is asking several education bloggers. I’ll be sharing the link to her post that collects all of the responses. I’m excited to be part of this group of edu-bloggers.