Virtual School Meanderings

January 9, 2012

Review of iPhone/iPad App – meStudying: AP Art History

Note that the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) provided me with a promotional code to download this app for free in order to write this review.

I had thought that I had already posted this review, but in looking through mu files it appears that I overlooked it before the holidays. I apologise to my colleagues at the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) for this oversight. The iPhone/iPad app in question is meStudying: AP Art History (which is one of about ten current FLVS apps, and is one of eight that were created by gWhiz).

 

When you begin the app, you get this welcome screen and then this menu.  If you select the GALLERIES option, you see:

 

This is actually quite a nice menu structure, and kind of appropriate for an art history app, as you don’t have a single list but a selection of galleries that you can access by scrolling your finger across the screen.  It almost gives the sense of walking along a hallway, trying to decide which gallery to walk into.  Once you select a gallery…

Essentially, the galleries are a selection of artwork.  If you touch the image you are presented with additional information about the piece.  In previous reviews, I’ve been a bit critical of these apps as being little more than test prep items (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I believe limits the potential of the app).  These galleries and the information provided about each of the pieces of art – while very flash card like in its approach (which still denotes test preparation) – it is a step in the direction of providing an instructional aspect to the app.

If you go back and select the PRACTICE TEST option, you get the option to select the size of your practice test.

Once you have decided on your size, you are presented with the first question.

After you select a response, you are provided with immediate feedback (at least in terms of whether you are correct or incorrect).  One of my pet peeves with this app was the fact that you had to slide your finger to move to the next question (which took me a minute to figure out, as I was expecting the next question to appear after a certain amount of time or for a NEXT or NEXT QUESTION button to appear somewhere).  At the conclusion of the test you are provided the opportunity to review the test you just completed.

Note that if you select an incorrect response, the app does not provides an explanation as to you why the item you selected was incorrect (not while you are completing the test or during the review). This is a feature that has been included in previous FLVS apps created by gWhiz, so I was surprised that I wasn’t able to do it with this app.  The final menu item was the ABOUT selection.

Overall, I thought that the app was specifically created with the subject matter in mind (at least in terms of the interface and how you navigated through the app – very appropriate for an art app). However, using the the Emantras taxonomy of mobile learning apps, I would still havethis is a test preparation app.

Test Prep
Mobile learning can be easily adapted to design multiple choice tests and fill-in-the-blank answers. By constant review of test prep material, students can ensure better preparation for exams.

There were steps taken to add more of an instructional aspect, and I thought that those efforts were more appropriate in this app than many of the previous ones that I have reviewed.  However, the lack of explanations as to why the incorrect responses were wrong was a major limitation to the effectiveness of this app (compared to previous ones).

As I’ve said in the past, I continue to tip my hat to FLVS for pursuing learning opportunities on this front.  At this stage, they are one of two virtual schools that I am aware of that are making any effort to create mobile learning applications.  For my reviews of the other FLVS apps, see:

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