Friday, May 25, 2012

App Developers

I am constantly finding new apps and trying them out in my room.  Some are an instant hit, and some should have never been downloaded.  However, it's not uncommon for me to have a question, and I'm not afraid to hit the "comment" section on a web site and ask.

The wonderful thing about iPad apps is how many of them come from seemingly small companies.  When you send an email, many times you wind up hearing directly from the app developer himself.  I've had a few friendly email sessions with app developers over the months, learning the intricacies of the apps or making suggestions for them.  

When we had a problem with Toontastic, I wound up in an e-conversation with Andy Russell, the co-founder of Launchpad Toys (ie the company that birthed Toontastic).  That led to me eventually getting published on their blog.

When I wanted to try out Educreations, I downloaded the app and created an account.  Within hours I received an email from Chris Streeter, the creator of that app.  He and I wrote back and forth a number of times and was interested in how the app was being used in the classroom. Even though I think Educreations is more user friendly, my kids like ScreenChomp better; it has more color choices.  Chris wanted to know what colors they wanted.

Math Evolve won numerous awards in 2011 and has all sorts of accolades.  Still, Adam Cocceri, the co-creator of Math Evolve, has been interested in every aspect of how I use it in the classroom.  He certainly doesn't need my endorsement, but he wants to know.  When I emailed him the picture below, he was so excited he told his students (also a 6th grade math teacher) and wanted to post it on Facebook.

Heck!  When I started to research Educreations, I posted a question on Twitter and mentioned I was a ScreenChomp kinda guy.  Within an hour, the official ScreenChomp Twitter account was following me and posted something like, "And that's why we love you." on my feed.

What's the point of this post?  I'm not really sure.  As I sum up, there are a couple of takeaways I have.
1.  Don't ever be afraid to ask questions.  We're in a new era of technology where we are not quite as dependent on behemoths like Microsoft and Google.  These are small companies that are trying to scratch out a living.  They want you to use their product.  They want your business.  They are there for you.
2. I love the excitement that comes from the app developers.  They are genuinely excited that I am using their apps in my classroom. You don't get that from the big companies.  They expect you to use their stuff.
3. I am not an app developer, but I can shape the future of educational apps.  By giving my input and sharing what my kids are thinking, I am helping to push educational technology to be something better than it is today.  I love that I can help in some small way.

So, find an app and hit the "comment" section.  See what happens when you do! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Craig. This is a great post, and I definitely hope other teachers/educators follow your lead. It was great hearing about how you use Math Evolve in the classroom, and I am sure the other app developers out there are equally as interested in getting feedback from teachers. Thanks so much for bringing Math Evolve to your school and sharing all the positive words from your kids.

    Adam Coccari