Learning is no longer consigned to the classroom. There’s a global information revolution underway. Universities in America are offering free courses online, iTunes contains terabytes of institution-rich video lectures and study materials, and mobile phones that we carry with us 91 percent of the time (according research by Gartner) now grant us access to almost all the facts known to man. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this new age of technological enlightenment and highlight some of the best learning-based apps available in the BlackBerry App Store. Truth be told, we’re quite excited about the forthcoming launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system. BlackBerry prices were slashed last April and BlackBerry World (RIM’s App Store) contains a number of extremely low-price or free apps – which means that BlackBerry smartphones are looking increasingly attractive to both educators and students. At the moment, on a platform-for-platform basis, it’s hard to see why finding an attractive BlackBerry price wouldn’t be their first choice.
In the classroom
No matter how advanced our education system becomes, teachers will always struggle to keep abreast of the very latest developments in their field of expertise. Enter Teacher Pro, the best of a new crop of apps that aims to streamline the very experience of administrating and organizing a school day from the perspective of a teacher. Less stress and less strain in the paperwork means more refreshed, engaged and inspiring teachers in the classroom. It’s a no-brainer.
Blackboard Mobile Learn
Few primary and secondary institutions make use of the Blackboard virtual learning environment, but it’s a staple at universities throughout the world. Keep up-to-date with class and assignment schedules and tap into the wider university community through this useful educational BlackBerry app.
Learn to Read
You cannot simply sit a child in front of a computer and expect learning to happen. Deployed effectively, though, computer-based learning tasks can add interactivity and theatre to lessons, and can help children learn more effectively. Learn to Read is not the most thrilling of literacy apps, but it follows well-established reading conventions in training young learners to decipher and understand written English.
Outside the classroom
‘Brain training’ or ‘brain fitness’ is a slightly controversial topic. Nonetheless, certain eminent figures within the developmental and educational psychology world believe that repetitive logic-based tasks can hone specific logic-centric skills. No matter what you believe, Twinoo is a great way to challenge yourself mentally. It’s an attractive app, and you really do feel like you’re learning something when you use it.
If the notion of ‘brain training’ hasn’t made you skeptical yet, Brain Driver’s approach to developing your mind might well do. Brain Driver claims that it can influence what it refers to as ‘states of consciousness’, placing you into Alpha, Beta, Theta or Delta state at will. While the existence and definition of these states of consciousness are backed by a weighty body of research, we’re still not clear about the impact of meddling with them – so do so at your own risk! The theory is that each of these ‘states’ is realised at a different fundamental brain frequency and may exist to help to alleviate strain on particular regions during sleep. So tweaking the settings while you’re awake to help your brain work better might be worth it, after all.