IEAR is all about taking a closer look at the educational value of ITouch / IPhone / IPods in the classroom.
The thing I have found most engaging and enlightening about the IEAR community is that it provides a forum to bring all types of stakeholders together on a common playing field. Teachers, administrators, students, parents and developers all are playing an important role in the discussion going on in this community. Opportunities to interact with a variety of creative people, all of who share a passion for the iPhone/iPod touch/iEverything are abundant. Whether you spend your time doing research on the IEAR website, socializing on the Ning or contributing to the wiki, it will be time well spent.
Let’s take a closer look at the IEAR.org online community and see what you can expect to find when you visit.
IEAR, or I Educational Apps Review is a website that does just what it says. IEAR provides insightful reviews which assess the educational potential of iPhone/iPod touch applications in the classroom. App developers can also request to have their app reviewed at iear.org. All the apps reviewed on iear.org are currently available at the iTunes Store.
When I came across this site, I was excited about my iPod touch, just like the day I got it. Finally a place to send those teachers who are ready to ask “what else could I use this thing for?” Finally, a resource for teachers that will assist them in making sound decisions on the apps they choose to integrate into their classroom. As of today, there were 15 reviews posted, which covered apps teachers from P-16 might be using. Each review consists of a write up and a video overview/demo of the app. Some of the software reviews available:
- Cute Math – Review #3
- Factoring – Review #11
- Homonyms 101 – Review #10
- TED – Ideas Worth Spreading – Review #5
The Ning is the social hub of the community. This site is really what brings people together to debate, discuss and share their ideas about the educational potential of iDevices. Discussion forums and special interest groups allow individuals to find their niche in the community and make valuable contributes to people around the globe. Members of the Ning each have their own profile page which they can customize using a variety of widgets. Profile pages also provide each member with a personal blog and allow them to post a variety of media for other community members to view. Some of the special interest groups you can join:
IEAR.wikispaces.com is a repository of lesson plans, activities, and projects for K – 12 Classroom Teachers.
While this portion of the online community is the least developed, it seems to hold the potential to become the most important piece. As iDevices become more ubiquitous in students lives, teachers will be looking for ways that they can harness the educational potential of these devices in their classrooms. Educators will increasingly be looking for resources that provide examples of iDevice best practice. This wiki is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building this important resource.
Currently, the IEAR wiki is organized into these main categories, Toddler, Early Elementary, Late Elementary, Middle School and High School. Further sub-navigation is provided in each category by subject area. Educators who are currently integrating iPhone/iPod touch in their classroom are encouraged to contribute their resources to the IEAR wiki.
Handheld and mobile devices are being put in the hands of more students with each passing day. The iPhone/iPod touch can take learning beyond the boundaries of the classroom to teach and inform students, parents and community members. While they are still not the prevalent technology in schools and classrooms, they hold the potential to overtake desktop computers in the coming years. Apple provides a platform for developers to use to build an unlimited variety of apps for the iPhone with their SDK. I see tremendous potential for widespread educational use of these iDevices as long as educators and software developers can work together to develop pedagogically sound apps. The key for the educational community is to become engaged in a collaborative effort with developers who are using the SDK to design standards-based learning experiences that are engaging, foster creativity, and relevant to the current and future needs of their students. IEAR.org provides a multi-facetted forum for this collaboration to occur. I’d encourage all educators, students and developers with an interest in iPhones/iPods/iPod touch/mLearning to join this online community and begin contributing today.