Yeah yeah, I know. It’s the middle of November, what the heck are you talking about Christmas for?
Well, a couple of my ETUG colleagues Leva Lee and Sylvia Riessner pitched an idea a few weeks back for a special Christmas theme ETUG event called the 12 Apps of Christmas that I have been working on.
Drawing inspiration from similar 12 Apps of Christmas events from across the pond, (and how fantastic that Chris Rowell thought to CC license everything and create a build your own 12 apps of Christmas tutorial website!) the basic idea is to put together some bite sized microlearning activities that gets our local edtech community suggesting, testing, collaborating and reflecting on the usefulness of different apps.
No surprise, but there are thousands of apps targeted at EdTech that are varying utility and quality, and the EdTech’s task of being able to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff is becoming increasingly important. Institutions, like UC Irvine, have developed processes around testing and assessing the usefulness of cloud based educational technologies, and rapid EdTech evaluation models are being considered and developed. We’re also seeing collaborative efforts to assess educational technologies, like the Common Sense Media educators portal which collects & aggregates information from teachers about the usefulness and pedagogical value of different learning apps.
The idea of 12 Apps of Christmas is that each day starting December 1st, we’ll release a new app via the (currently under development) 12AppsofChristmas.ca website. The app will include a description, some possible ways it could be used in a teaching & learning context, and a very short (15 minute) activity that gets people trying out the app.
The apps are being picked by various members of the BC ETUG community. Criteria for what apps to include are pretty basic; free, available on multiple platforms, easy to use, and lightweight in the sense that it shouldn’t take people a lot of time to figure out how to use them.
Once the activity is completed, we hope that you’ll spend a bit of time evaluating the app & leaving some review comments on the app post (I’m building the site in WordPress & will use the commenting feature). We’ll include a few question prompts to help frame the evaluation, but the idea is that the whole process should not be too onerous and should be flexible enough to allow people to hop in and out and take part with whatever time they have.
While the 12 Apps of Christmas is by no means an extensive review process, it will hopefully be a fun activity with a minimal time commitment will get those interested in educational technology collaboratively playing, testing and evaluating different apps and technologies.
Photo: Blue Christmas by Jamie McCaffrey CC-BY-NC