summer app exploring

OK, I have an iPad and maybe you don’t. Or maybe you have another app-using device/tablet, whatever we are calling them these days. Or maybe you have neither–but I’m going out on a limb and suggesting that we will all have such devices in the future. Here are a few education apps that suggest an interesting direction in development.

3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tool

This fascinating app, free from Invitrogen, lets you stain a cell according to what component of cell structure you want to see. Admittedly, I don’t know what I’m doing with these cells, but I lured a biologist friend to have a look at it and he was engaged, so I’m calling that a success. You can also view a 3D structure of a cell (hence the app name). and the recent update has added videos. I just watched Actin and Tubulin During Mitosis–cool.

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History: Maps of World v. 3.0.1

Another free app, this one from a developer using maps courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, is part of a series of historical maps. A great app to see how cartographers represented the world in different periods. In addition to periods and regions, you can view categories such as World War II. A great look at an earlier technology used to view the world–now available on the most recent technology.

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NYPL Biblion: World’s Fair

A free and complex app, and a huge download of 252MB, this app is a good example of how to present a mini-library of content on a single topic, here the 1939 New York World’s Fair. As the app description states, “Biblion: The Boundless Library is designed to take you — all but literally — into the Library’s legendary stacks, opening up hidden parts of the collections and the myriad story lines they hold and preserve.”

The file download is worth the investment, whether you are researching the event or just interested in a historical look at the future. Prepare to be lost in the images, but make sure you stop to read some of the great articles, too.

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The Waste Land

I’m currently smitten with The Waste Land, another large file to download (951MB), but this one will cost you $13.99, and I think it’s worth it. Professionally done, this app is a good resource for close study of what many call the most important poem of the 20th century. I’m not taking sides on that debate. If only this had been available in grad school, I might have taken more interest in the poem. You can look at Eliot’s manuscripts, listen to the poem being read by Eliot or Alec Guinness or even Viggo Mortensen.

There are captivating video commentaries from poets and critics, and even a full performance of the poem by Fiona Shaw. Much like that special box of chocolates you are trying to make last as long as possible, I’m trying not to consume it all at once.

I’m taking it in in pieces, listening to some commentary, reading, viewing the gallery. Good summer reading.

The whole experience is making me want to design some educational apps of my own–that would be some neat collaboration. Are you imagining how to use such technologies in education?

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Categories: communication, digital literacy, education, free stuff, mobile learning, technology

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