Creating a mobile app – a year later

It’s been a year since I shared our experience at the JI of creating our first mobile app.  Since then there’s been some great uptake on this, and an increasing demand from our users to develop for Android.  BCcampus has published 2 recent articles on our efforts: the first one talks about our developments including a HazAware app and an Emergency Social Services app, both of which will be paid iOS apps. These apps are complete, but our Finance department is still figuring out the necessary financial steps that have to be worked out in conjunction with the app store, US taxes, etc.   The second article mentions our approach to mobile learning in the context of our students and the type of education we do. There is an updated list of steps we take to develop, which include:

  1. Consider whether you are designing for a desktop or a mobile learning context.
  2. Map out the concept, purpose, audience and educational value.
  3. Identify the app developer.
  4. Establish the business model you will be using (eg. paid app, free app, both).  If you decide on a paid app, get your finance people involved as soon as possible so they can take care of necessary financial set up details.  Firming up these details takes time.
  5. Gather resources and create a storyboard.  Online storyboarding tools will help with communicating your design to the developer and save on meeting time. We’ve been using Cacoo for this.
  6. Work with developer on format, design, and content decisions.  Important things to establish at this stage are localization and designing for easy updating and editing, so it can be done in-house and you don’t need to keep running back to the developer to do this.
  7. Identify logo/branding, identify name, keywords, identify terms of use
  8. Get it in to the App store.
  9. Establish a review and maintenance schedule.

In addition to developing apps, we’ve been piloting the use of mobile technologies for our training.  Image

The Pacific Traffic Education Centre is piloting the use of G-force apps on car mounted iPad minis in its driver training.  Initial testing has found that this system is as accurate as the previous system that was being decommissioned.  As part of this project, we also had to test the ability of the car mounts to secure the iPads for accurate measurement.  As an added bonus, they can also switch from paper evaluations to iPad ready evaluations using fillable forms, which can then be submitted immediately following the test.  Since the driver training track is located in an area without wifi, iPads with 3G had to be purchased.  A part of this teaching experience has been enhanced in a pretty low cost way.

Lastly, in the School of Health Sciences QR codes are being used to give students access to just-in-time learning via JIBC-created Youtube videos that demonstrate difficult to learn procedures in our Paramedic training.  The QR codes will be inserted into simulation manuals and on equipment, and can be accessed via any mobile device with a  QR code reader. The nice part about this project is that the videos were created with two instructors and two paramedic students.  The effectiveness of this as a learning tool has yet to be evaluated but we are confident that it will be, since students have been requesting the availability of this type of information in a convenient way.

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