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Free tech course makes teachers ’appy

14th August 2018

Teachers can log on to a free QUT short course in September that will teach them how to create educational apps to use in their classrooms.

The two-week course, Creating Apps in the Classroom, is a MOOC – Massive Open Online Course – which means it can be completed online by anyone around the world.

It aims to show teachers how to create their own apps via an existing app creation platform that doesn’t require coding skills or specialist knowledge.

It’s also open to anyone else interested in making educational apps, particularly other educators and university teaching students.

Educational apps are a huge growth area, with the global market predicted to reach $6 billion in 2020.  

QUT Faculty of Education’s Dr Vinesh Chandra created the new MOOC and hopes many people across Australia and the globe will take up the free challenge.

Dr Vinesh Chandra.

Before joining QUT as a senior lecturer in education (technology and STEM), he was a maths and science teacher in Queensland high schools for 20 years.

“Technologies on their own do not make a difference in classrooms – teachers do,” he said.

“Teachers do not have to know everything about each technology, but if they understand the basics they can create opportunities in the classroom.

“My course will explain how apps are designed, the free platforms that can be used, and how apps can fit into the bigger picture of learning outcomes.

“Participants will learn how to create a simple app with five pages, which gives them a taste of app development and the confidence to perhaps explore it further in a follow-up course.

“We use the MIT App Inventor which is free and easy to use, and enables adults and children to build fully functional apps for Android smartphones and tablets.”

Dr Chandra said QUT would offer a paid follow-up course later this year which would enable teachers to develop app ideas further.

“Continuing their interest in this area could also open new doors in entrepreneurship,” he said.

“If their apps are effective and useful, they could one day be uploaded to the Google store for teachers around the world to purchase and use!”

Dr Chandra teaches QUT’s Bachelor of Education students how to design, develop and implement classroom activities that draw on the Australian Technologies Curriculum.

“My own research focuses on how digital technologies can be integrated in teaching and learning, with an emphasis on both students and teachers,” he said.

“I’m excited about drawing on my teaching experience and research work to help educators worldwide.”

And Dr Chandra has this message for teachers who were a bit apprehensive about using apps in the classroom.

“Digital technologies are becoming far more user-friendly,” he said.

“Today, people with limited technological skills and knowledge can create websites. There is no need to learn skills such as HTML coding because the tools have become more cost- and user-friendly. Likewise, apps can be created with online resources that do not require advanced knowledge of coding.”

Registrations are now open for the free Creating Apps in the Classroom course, which will start on September 17 and be available online for four weeks.  Teachers can also upgrade for $79 if they want to have longer access to the course and receive a certificate of achievement.

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