Don’t Start With The APP Start With The Gap

Yesterday was the first ever #UKFEChat Conference in London; I was following along via the hashtag when @furtheredagogy, (Dan Williams), tweeted this about Tom Starkeys workshop.

I instantly tweeted back…


Which then made me think about that phrase, a little more…

The classic line used by Apple and heard/read/seen by millions is

There’s an APP for that. Which has now been trademarked by Apple! BUT…

Image from-
Image from-

Do remember, there is no APP for Good Teaching!

I run a teaching and learning toolkit for teachers to dip into to engage, inspire, motivate and help their students learn. I plug it a lot on twitter and constantly tweet out activities that I have used in my lessons for others to use. I am even having an APP made for it!

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 12.55.55

However, I do know that there are many differing ways to engage and it is not necessary for a lesson to contain a variety of activities. I used to think a variety of what now appear completely odd things about education and teaching.

I wrote a blog post about the ideas I used to have here.

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 22.13.57

With that in mind and with the constant debate revolving around progressive versus traditional education thoughts alongside the necessity/complexity of using technology in education I felt it was important for us to all remember that the basic premise behind any activity/task should revolve around the aim of the lesson, the short, medium and long term goals that you are seeking for your students.

Lessons should never be designed around a new idea, or fun activity, or the latest APP. 

BUT, we know we have all done that right? We have planned backwards? We have planned a lesson with an idea we saw/read about or just had to try. Usually, we are good enough to then manipulate the lesson objective within and into the activity, however, when and if you are doing something in your lesson which can be done much simpler, quicker and more effectively, then why bother? I guess, I think that is the very premise of an APP?

If you click here it will take you to a Google doc with a list of educational APPs, explaining their use. If you google Educational APPs, there will be thousands of search returns with a variety of compilations of ‘Top 10 Edu APPs for 2015″ and so on…Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 13.00.44

So… looking through them I wonder, do they really enhance the learning? Can you do something else, instead? Cheaper? Quicker? Less intimidating? Less prone to a technical area? Less reliant on the services of others?

Well, that depends on the GAP! What is it you are trying to fill? What are you aiming to achieving? What is the point of the lesson?

Or is it enough to know that the number of students taking online courses has doubled over the last five years, according to a report carried out by an agency called Refuel. Is it OK to use APPS because the ITSE 2014 survey found that;

  • 50% of students  ages 10 to 18 go online for homework help at least once a week
  • 75% of students ages 5-7 regularly use technology to play educational games
  • students who study on mobile devices spend 40 minutes more per week studying than those who don’t

We as a nation are spending more time online now than we have ever… (Ref.) So surely, we need to keep up or lose track?

There is more technology in a students pocket than the computers many of us had in our classrooms when we were educated… so surely we need to enhance and develop this shift?

So, let me finish with a series of statements that I feel strongly about that tie together the necessity to use technology, but not for technology to replace what we can do… simply, start with the gap, not the app.


  • Technology has its place, but not for the sake of it. It may well make the learning EASIER, but not necessary less EFFORT. I wonder, should learning ever be effortless?
  • Does Technology deter us from distractions? The most mundane of APPs/games manage to hold our attention. Well, some of us!
  • How does the over reliance on technology fair for those disadvantaged students who do not have the access? The resources?
  • Technology can promote independence and interdependence! Catch up? Help other students catch up too?
  • What impact does more screen time in a school have on social interactions? On being able to look people in the eye and communicating?

Whatever your feelings are, tech is here, but does not need to be where you are. Yet.

Here are some posts on my toolkit specifically linked to technology!




  1. Thank you – this is fabulous ! I loved reading about reflections of what you used to think constituted good practice. Reading excellent blogs like yours inspires me to reflect in a focused way . Thank you for sharing your experience so generously.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s