During the last weeks I’ve tried to work with two different apps: GoogleDrive and iTunesU.
They are not developed for the same purposes but I used them for almost the same things in two different groups. My implication was to create an interactive platform for the students to look for exercises, to work, to create products and to give a chance to interact with each other.
The first group was a 9th grade in religion and the other an 11th grade in politics/economics. The first group uses GoogleDrive for the whole year, the other one iTunesU for some weeks.
GoogleDrive is not difficult to use and it allows to collect and produce different materials: text, pictures, presentations. Most of the programs inside the apps are well-known by the students and they can use it from their own computers and smartphones. The most important thing for you as teacher is to organize a good structure (use settings, security etc.). The wonderful app iTunesU, which we’ve used during the last paducation workshop, is better designed and it has got more useful possibilities for education. But there is a big disadvantage in our structure: if the iPads are not owned by the students, you can not really use the advantages of iTunesU. That is the reason why my iTunesU course only a nice platform for communicate my ideas and the excercises. This fundamental fault is the reason why I cannot use iTunesU in a school in which we only lend iPads to the students.
But in the end, there is a surprising winner: the best products and the most interaction in both groups were settled in a non-app-based environment. It’s “your part.eu”, which is a version of Etherpad. This web-based collaborative real-time editor allows the students to write texts together in a very simple way. It is easier to start the exercises and it’s easier to interact for the students than with iTunesU or with GoogleDrive. If it’s necessary they can continue their exercises at home or everywhere they like. Via the timeline-function for me as a teacher it’s easy to look WHO did WHAT WHEN. Or to recreate an earlier, but better version of a text. The timeline function maybe used also for reflecting the working process.
In my reflections about education I mostly think about efficiency and that’s it: neither iTunesU or GoogleDrive can be used truly efficiently at our setting – as long as not each of our students has their own tablet etc. The best way seems to be an easy way: using web-based products and take them to complete the teaching, but not to substitute the “classical” methods. And I’m still dreaming of a one-to-one solution…