Virtual School Meanderings

May 5, 2014

K12 Inc. Releases 24 New AP® Exam Prep Apps For Mobile Devices

Some weeks ago, K12, Inc. announced K12 Inc. Releases 24 New AP® Exam Prep Apps for Mobile DevicesEssentially, they had produced the following apps:

  • AP Exam Prep Biology
  • AP Exam Prep Calculus AB
  • AP Exam Prep Calculus BC
  • AP Exam Prep English Language and Composition
  • AP Exam Prep English Literature and Composition
  • AP Exam Prep Environmental Science
  • AP Exam Prep European History
  • AP Exam Prep Psychology
  • AP Exam Prep Statistics
  • AP Exam Prep U.S. Government and Politics
  • AP Exam Prep U.S. History
  • AP Exam Prep World History

They have a good commercial on YouTube that tours the AP Exam Prep World History.

They described that:

“Full-function “Lite” versions of all 12 AP Exam Prep apps can be downloaded for free from iTunes, GooglePlay and the Amazon AppStore.  A one-time in-app purchase of $9.99 – 11.99 will unlock the full content. Teachers and administrators can also take advantage of the 50% discount available for schools through the Apple Volume Purchase Program, where a paid “Full” version of the app is available.”

I’ve downloaded all of the lite versions, but haven’t had much of a chance to play around yet.  If it is anything like their other apps, and I suspect that it is, you can get a sense of the style of these apps from my Review of iPhone App – Algebra I Study Review (which I downloaded when it was free for one weekend).

July 16, 2012

EDTECH597 – Image Entry: Review of iPhone App – Algebra I Study Review

Note that I was able to download the paid version of this app when K12 Inc. provided it to the general public for free for a limited time.

This is a review of the iTunes app K12 Algebra I Study & Review which was created by K12 Inc.. The app is available for the iPhone and iPad in the iTunes store and it cost $2.99 to purchase (note that there is a lite version that is available for free).

Using the Emantras taxonomy of different types of mobile learning programs (see 7 Learning Models for Mobile Learning), this app is a test prep (i.e., “Mobile learning that 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.”).

   

When you enter the app, you are asked to register so the system can track your progress and results.

The first time you start the app, you get the option to receive instructions or continue on, if you click the INSTRUCTIONS option, you get access to the following information.

Once you have gone through these initial instructions (all of which you can continue to access by touching the HELP option in the bottom right corner).

If you touch the REVIEW option, you are given six groups and each group has a number of categories, with each category having a series of potential topics.


The review itself is basically a text and image based, textbook-like material that also allowed students to write text-based notes.

If you touch the REFERENCE option, you get a similar series of groups, categories, and topics.

The actual content was mainly formulas.

There are five main TESTS, all of which are standardized in nature.

Students have the ability work things out, using the NOTES option (text-based, typing like the earlier image) or a simply scratch pad (which you can use your finger or a pen).

The test records how you did and allows you to review the questions after the fact, providing you with your answer and the correct response.

The PRACTICE is set up in roughly the same way as the TESTS, although you can select based on topics and then select the number of questions that you complete.

The PERFORMANCE and the ALG-O-METER options both provide you with an overview of how you are doing using different a variety of metrics.

The other options provide a variety of information about the app and K12, Inc.

Overall, this app did exactly what it was designed – and marketed – to do.  Note that while I, and anyone else who saw their tweet or blog entry, could have downloaded this app for free, it does normally cost $2.99.

As a side note, I’d be willing to review more of K12, Inc.‘s paid apps if they were willing to provide review copies.

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:

July 18, 2011

EDTECH597 – Image Entry: Review of iPhone/iPad App – meStudying: AP English Language and Composition

Earlier today, in my EDTECH597 – Week 7 entry, I indicated that I would post an entry with images in it to model for my Boise State students. While I try to include at least one thematic image in all of my entries (such as the Boise State University EdTech logo to the right), I wanted this entry to be a little more focused on the images that were used in it.

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.

It has taken some time to get around to writing this review, as I had promised to have it posted by the end of June. Florida Virtual School (FLVS) did provide me with a code to download this app for free I wanted to hold up my end of the bargain, so better late than never. The iPhone/iPad app in question is meStudying: AP English Language and Composition (which is one of four current FLVS apps [at least for Apple devices], and is one of three that was created by gWhiz).

When you click on the Start button from the main screen you are given a reading passage and presented with a multiple-choice question.

If you select the correct answer, it appears in green and you move are able to move on to the next passage, where you are given a new passage and another multiple-choice question.

Note that if you select an incorrect response, the app provides a brief explanation as to you why the item you selected was incorrect.  Once you have completed the quiz, you are given your overall performance.

At the conclusion of your quiz, you have the opportunity to go back and review each of the questions.  Note in the review screen that in addition to information about why the response you selected was incorrect, the app also provides the correct answer (something which didn’t appear when you were actually taking the quiz originally).

Unlike the other meStudying apps that FLVS and gWhiz have developed, there is no instructional aspects (such as a guide or audio lectures or anything) included in this app.  Using the the Emantras taxonomy of mobile learning apps, this 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.

Like the other meStudying apps, it does a very good job of providing students with the functionality of being able to access their responses (along with explanations of why the incorrect responses were wrong).  It is easy to use and the questions are quite consistent with the expectations found on the AP English Language and Composition exam.  For a student who was wishing to prepare for the AP English Language and Composition exam, I believe that regardless if they were an FLVS or not (and this also applies to students that have taken the course in a face-to-face format), meStudying: AP English Language and Composition is strong for exam preparation.

For my reviews of the other FLVS apps, see:

March 17, 2011

Review – Swamp Forest Virtual Field Trip

Since I have started to review mobile learning apps in this space, I’ve been asked several times (particularly after my initial reviews of the Florida Virtual School apps – and note those initial reviews were before I came across the Emantras taxonomy of mobile learning apps) of what I would consider a good mobile learning application. One of the first apps that I was impress by were actually three apps created by the SC Life Project at Clemson University:

All three of these apps are available from iTunes and are designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch, although they all run fine on the iPad.  For the purposes of this entry, I’ll use the Swamp Forest Virtual Field Trip as the example.  The app begins with a welcome screen that provides an introduction to each of the ecological areas.


Click on any of the images to see a larger version.

The content of the apps can be can accessed through a map that provides visuals for each of the items found in the swamp forest or through a list of all of the topics.

The content itself is kind of basic, at least in terms of presentation and design.  It is basically presented as as text with images.  At the end of each page of content there are a list of additional resources.

These additional resources can be more pages of text with images, but can also be videos.

The text has active links throughout and each of the linked pages also has a list of additional resources.


The app also provides guidance for teachers and parents/guardians that may be interested in taking their students or children to a South Carolina swamp forest.

The app concludes with credit and copyright information.

I have to be honest and say that I’m not sure why I think so highly of this app. It is basically a series of webpages contained in an app format. Something that could easily be created with any HTML editor (and something to create the image map). In looking at the the Emantras taxonomy of mobile learning apps, the apps doesn’t really fit into any of the seven categories.

But the way these three apps have been put together do speak to me.  As someone who has never been in any of these three types of environments, the content was descriptive and well put together.  It was informative and contained a good mix of text, images, and videos.  I just thought it was a good mobile learning app.

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