I know!!

Well, my sister and her friends are on summer break now, so they are not being such a great help to my project. I tried talking to them, but it is summer, so they are not that excited about “learning through apps”.

But, my cousin is in high school in Brazil and she still has classes (until the World Cup starts). I asked her some questions, and what I have learned from her is that Brazil is not that advanced yet when it comes to educational technology, at least not in my small country town. In her class there are 20 students, and only 12 have smartphones, 7 iPhones and 5 Androids. But she told me about an app that all of them often use.

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“Eu Sei” translates to “I know” in English. It is an app about various topics, where you get a hint and guess the word. Most of the categories are trivial like movies, athletes , brands, characters, etc. But you cannot chose your category, you start playing and they put all these words together, one after the other, with no pattern.

 

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But I also saw state names with their flags and politicians. Of course those are Brazilian states and politicians, but it is good to know that if Brazil has an app like that, probably other countries have something similar.

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There are also world cities, and that was my favorite category.

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You get points by guessing the names right, and you can use those points to ask for hints. Small hints, or very helpful hints.

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Or to skip the question completely.

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You can also log in with Facebook and challenge your friends and compare results.

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I have not been playing with this app for that long, but I am already addicted to it. Even tough this is not an intentional educational app, and there are a lot of categories that are not very informative, some of them are. And if they are learning at least something, I feel like it is a good app.

 

Research Update – SAT Question of the Day app

So far I have asked high school students (mostly my sister’s friends) about which apps they use for learning. Only three of them said they use this tool to learn. Which gave me the idea of telling them after my project is done about other apps, and how helpful they are.

My sister and her friends said they use the SAT app and the SAT question of the day app (QOTD). Those are very focused on a specific test, the SAT, because that is what they are most concerned about in high school. So I decided to take a look at it.

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With this app, the student can answer a daily question that is either about math, writing or reading. The questions usually alternate, so if today you answer a math question, tomorrow you will probably answer a reading one. They can also answer the past 7 questions, so if they miss some days, they can just go back and do them.

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Today’s question was a math one. I answered and got it right (thankfully). After I answered they showed me the explanation and they way to solve the problem. I answered it wrong after that and they gave me the option of trying again, or just looking at the right answer and explanation.

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They also show the statistics on the percentage of people that answered that question correctly or not. In this specific question, only 63% of the students got it right. They show how long it took me to answer the question as well, so I can time myself.

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The SAT question of the day is a very good tool to help students to learn. It is also very quick, and a great way to practice without realizing you are actually practicing. And it is right there on your phone!

Research Plan

          My question for my 20% project is: which apps can be used to help high school students in their learning process? Especially in learning about other countries, their flags, capitals, people, etc. Also, how can we make learning fun through these apps? I hope to find a lot of apps that are games, this way the students will be more interested in it.

          My research plan is to spend a lot of time on the App Store, or the Google Play Store looking for apps for Apple and Android devices. Searching in these stores is not that hard. By using key terms, one can find a huge amount of apps that relate to what they want. But, because there is a huge amount of apps that relate to what one wants, this may take some time.

          I believe that I am going to be very excited when I find these apps. I already am, but I want to test as many as I can, and I hope they can help me as much as they can help a high school student.

          Another part of my research is going to be focused on asking students if they use these types of apps. Hopefully I can use twitter to answer this question. Tagboard helped me to find my topic, and I believe it is definitely a tool I can use for my research. I believe I can get opinions from teachers through this. “Googling”about specific educational apps usually generates great results, and will help me to get feedback on those.

          I also want to spend sometime asking my sister that is in high school and her friends if they already use apps that help them learn. If not, I want to ask them if they would be my “lab rats” for this month and tell me if they liked educational apps, and if they had fun using them.

 

Choosing a Topic

            Freedom can be great or hard. For my EDIT 200 class we have to create a blog and talk about something on the area of educational technology. I can choose whatever topic I want? Great! What I am going to talk about? This is hard.

            My professor Gretchen Thomas told the class about the genius hour hash tag, and it has been a lifesaver so far. Children have been doing amazing projects for their genius hour, and I am impressed. But being inspired by an 8 year old kid makes me rethink my academic choices.

            Through tagboard I found a survey that was done by an 8 year old on video games’ names and how interesting they sound (you can see it here). So I thought to myself “videogames are a great way to get children and teenagers inspired, maybe I should talk about that”. But then I realized I should probably include something that is related to my degree, which is International Affairs. So, I remembered an app that I used when I during my freshman year called ForcaCapitais, which means “Capitals Hangman” in Portuguese. This was an app where I used to play hangman with world capitals, and learn them.

            There was also another app called “QuizUp” where people can choose from a huge amount of categories and play against others. There are a lot of categories about movies, books, TV shows, but also about countries, flags, and school subjects.

            Last year when my sister was a junior in High school and was studying for her SATs, I found an app from College Board called “The SAT question of the day”. She would answer one question in the car going to school everyday, and this was the extra push that helped her to succeed in her test.

            With these apps and various others, high school students can learn through games that can be downloaded to their phones and tablets for free. These tap into their competitive spirit and without noticing, they will be learning. These are all apps that I have used and loved, so I believe teenagers will also be very excited to use them.