Apps Taskonomy: Digging Deeper into the Application of Apps


Apps Taskonomy: Digging Deeper into the Application Of Apps
Educator Professional Development, iPad
Time Frame:
1 hour
The iPad (or iPod touch or iPhone) with its apps opens many new opportunities for learning. At the same time, it offers a slightly different wrapper for older learning opportunities. Both can be worthwhile, but it would be a shame if teachers missed the former for the latter. And, if past experience and research is any indication, educators are much more likely to co-opt the new technology to accomplish the status quo.

This activity is designed to help teachers think through both opportunities and to categorize those apps that lend themselves to either or both. Teachers will start by exploring a variety of apps, some that lend themselves to learning content such as math facts or spelling words and others that can be used in open ended content creation such as storytelling or photography. Then, teachers will examine a set of lessons that use these apps. Finally, teachers will use a "taxonomy" such as Bloom's Taxonomy, SAMR, LoTi, ETaP, Prensky, etc. and attempt to classify/categorize where the apps fall. Most likely teachers will need to contextualize the app to a particular use/activity. Ideally, teachers will realize that in most cases it is not the app itself, but the use that detrmines where it falls and that the apps belong in multiple places.
  1. Prior Knowledge - This session works best with educators who have some experience with apps. Consider using parts of the iPad Exploration workshop before completing the rest of this workshop.
  2. Pair - teachers examine an app discussing how to use it as well as its affordances and constraints - if you have time to explore a new app, check out the list of apps on the iPad page.
  3. Share - teachers present their app to the rest of the group. This can be done with a vga adapter and a projector, with a document camera, or with the Mac app Reflection.
  4. Select and (re) examine a taxonomy
    • Option 1 - Facilitator presents a short overview of the taxonomy to be used.
    • Option 2 - Decide on a taxonomy for the group to use, Bloom's probably being the most known, though we would recommend SAMR. Read/watch the resource. Summarize it as a group. Don't worry too much about the details, as they are likely to come out in discussions in the next steps.
  5. In new pairs, discuss and then place each app presented in step 3 in the (only one) category they think it best fits
  6. Pairs break up and groups of 4 are formed to compare results and attempt to reach a group consensus on where the apps fit best
  7. Whole group - compare results and discuss which apps were harder to place and why they think that was
  8. In small groups, teachers read a set of apptivities (listed in resources section below) and discuss where this app/apptivity should be placed in the taxonomy - at this point they should not reading anything into the apptivity and must judge it based solely on what they read
  9. Whole group - share how you placed the apptivities and why - reaching a consensus at this point is not important
  10. In small groups, teachers imagine a scenario for how the app/apptivity could be used/done differently to make it fall somewhere else
    • Is it easier to imagine an R activity if you think outside of the classroom/school/schoolday?
  11. Share modifications with the whole group (or post online using a discussion tool of some sort - Moodle, wiki, EdModo, Google Doc, etc.)
  12. Whole group, revisit affordances & constraints charts created in step 2, editing as necessary.
  13. Optional - visit this page with a variety of alternatives to a traditional activity type, the book report (23 iPad Alternatives to the Book Report).
    • Discuss whether these alternatives, as written, are more likely a S, A, M, or R.
    • In small groups pick one to flesh out and while doing so, make it one step higher. Present modified projects whole group and brainstorm other possibilities.
    • As a whole group discuss whether there any techniques that generally move an activity up a level? (App smashing? Publishing for feedback? Interdependent collaboration?)
  14. Optional - Create a wiki page listing recommended apps (or a blog). Then create a page that links to recommended apptivities. (These may be links to other pages with your own apptivities or links to apptivities written by others.)
  15. Optional - Most recommend starting with the content needed to be taught first and then selecting the app(s) to be used second. Sometimes it is helpful to examine the tool more generally first, or at least as a separate step.
  • Nuanced understanding of apps
    • Understanding of broad range of uses for many apps
  • Application of taxonomy to select an appropriate range for the classroom
  • Teachers select a variety of apps for a variety of uses in their classroom
  • Teachers envision a variety of uses for individual apps that change what students get out of them


Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
Apptivities to add/consider BalancEdTech BalancEdTech 0 305 Aug 27, 2011 by BalancEdTech BalancEdTech