With big changes on the horizon, and teachers looking for all-new ways to engage students, we speak to Rob Xenos, the Group Product Development Manager of Clevertouch Technologies, about what the future holds for learning through apps.
Rob, it’s been five years since the Cleverstore launched – what type of feedback do you get from teachers? Are they using apps in their daily teaching?
Apps are now a critical part of learning in the classroom, whether it be on a front-of-class device, such as a Clevertouch interactive display, or a student’s BYOD device. Learning apps take many forms from Instructional to collaborative and can form part, or all of a lesson. Most educational apps have a vast amount of learning materials that are accessed within moments and feature pre-created content. Apps can be used to keep a record of results, deploy homework or revision.
What would you say to a teacher who is unsure about bringing apps into their lessons?
I would say that apps can only complement traditional teaching methods. They can save you time, help you create vivid lessons on a platform that students are using at home. Tablets and apps are now natural to children.
What’s your process for selecting apps, and how do you ensure they are suitable for the classroom?
We’ve always had a specific mantra for selecting apps. They need to be relevant (based on the curriculum or educational standards), free from in-app purchases, and contain no advertising. We have a team of testers, with a background in education, who rigorously explore all of the apps before they are published to the Cleverstore.
More and more children are starting school with an increasing amount of technical knowledge. Does having access to apps at school help in getting them settled into schools?
Absolutely. I recently went to visit my childhood primary school that has Clevertouch screens installed and the students were showing me how to use the screens! They were telling me what apps they wanted to see on the screens. When I asked them what they wanted to do when older, so many of the jobs were to do with technology, apps, or computers.
We’ve heard there are some exciting developments and a new version of Cleverstore coming – what can you tell us about this?
I can’t really say too much at the moment, but we will be taking the store to the next level, giving schools the ability to remotely manage the apps that they want to be available to their screens. We will be adding in functionality that educators have been asking for and well as many more apps!
What was your process to designing the new Cleverstore?
We have consulted teachers that use our store to ask them what they want to see and how they use the store. Our education team are with teachers all day, every day, and we take on board their recommendations - be it for the Cleverstore, or other features of the screens.
And finally, what app do you use the most often on your phone?
Probably Waze, the sat-nav app.
Apps can save you time, help you create vivid lessons on a platform that students are using at home.“