EDTECH 597: Developing a Chocolate App Thats Good Enough to Eat!

These are three of the screens from my “Christmas Chocolate” mobile app. It’s likely that some features will change as I continue developing this app.

It doesn’t seem possible that we could be in week 12 of school, but I’m pleased to be here, because I’ve learned so much in my apps class. I’ve gone from someone who had no clue about designing apps to someone who now has enough background to move forward with confidence into the final weeks, even if I’m not completely certain about how I’m going to build one of the components of the app (my timer feature).

Chocolate on Google Trends

As I mentioned last week, I’ve decided on a chocolate-themed app to help promote my Examiner.com food column. I’ve done some additional research on Google Trends and found out that the most searches for chocolate are in the month of December. I’ve also searched on Google Keyword Tool and found that people are starting to search for terms like “chocolate app,” “mobile chocolate,” and “mobile phone chocolate.” This tells me that it’s not only a good time to roll out the app, but this research also gives me a clue about what kinds of keywords I should use in my article title and body. The more I’m aligned with what people are searching for on the web, the more successful this part of the app launch will be.

Below are two graphics of Google Trends, which show the results of people’s searches for the keyword “chocolate.”

This graphic shows a keyword search for “chocolate mobile apps.”

The graphic below shows how people have searched for the term “chocolate” over the period of a few years. Information like this is useful when you’re developing online content or trying to market something.

This graphic shows a Google Trends search for the word “chocolate.” As you can see, the term peaks at the end of the year, making a Christmas time roll out of a chocolate app logical.

Building and then Rebuilding

Right now, I’ve gotten most of the visual components worked out and some of the operational bugs. I was most concerned about creating the splash screen and making a functioning list feature for the recipe portion of the app. At the moment, my app has seven pages. There will be more, but the basic seven represent every type of page that I’ll be dealing with. It’s likely that once I get all the components placed, I’ll start the app from scratch, so that my file isn’t too large and so that I’ll eliminate any visual elements that don’t please me as much right now. But I have plenty of time for that in the coming weeks.

I’m really pleased with how much I’ve learned in this class. It’s surprises me, actually, considering that I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to program anything. But now I have this tool that I can really leverage to help me move my writing business to the next level.

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Digital Inequality Assignment

The digital divide addresses those who have access to technology and those who do not. It’s a common theme among not only those who work in the media, but also for people like me who look at educational technology. While on the surface it may seem irrelevant that a group of people do not have regular access to the Internet and to mobile technology, it’s become increasingly important. There are job and educational opportunities that a specific group of people will not have access to because they do not have access to online resources like job boards or lack basic computer skills like Microsoft Office, which is required for many jobs today.

The people who are usually the most affected by the digital divide are those who live in lower economic conditions, non-native English speakers, and other groups marginalized by income or location. The purpose of our assignment was to make proposals that would help bridge the gap in the digital divide. We opted to focus on Idaho, because three of the six people in the group live here and because we just had a huge bill on the election ballot that in part dealt with technology in the schools. It was voted down by Idaho citizens.

Working on the Digital Divide Project

Initially, it was difficult to come together on the project, because none of us are used to working on a project solely online. There was also some additional challenges in trying to reduce the amount of information we had to read into an intelligible report. This caused us to have a lot of starts and stops as we waded through the materials and hammered out the details for each idea.

We tried to divide the work up in terms of people’s strengths. We felt that this would save time and make the process more efficient. To that end, Bob dealt with graphics, Kathy wrote the information about the PSAs since she deals with marketing in her job. Brenda added the introduction, transition materials between slides, and the APA at the end. Greg worked on the computer lab information for both the schools and the libraries. Annie worked on this a bit, too as well as on the mobile learning unit and Internet cafes.

I did a lot of the organizational tasks—it helped that I used to be a newspaper editor, so I helped break the information down into easier chunks, set at least one of the conferences we had on Google Hangout and helped edit the overall presentation. I also contributed the information about the proposals we rejected. It made sense for me to do this since I live in Idaho, and I was following Proposition 3.

Hindsight Being 20/20…

I learned a lot about working remotely and about working in groups with this project. Everyone had a great sense of humor, which helped a lot! Also assigning tasks according to skill levels also helped. One of the things that I would recommend for the future is that the person doing graphics not be bombarded with information. Initially, everyone’s slide information was going to go through me, but in one of our meetings, we decided that everyone should have access to it. It made sense to do this since everyone brought great insight into each slide. However, it was a bit confusing to the person putting everything together since soooo much information was thrown his way.

I also would recommend looking into some project management software for future tasks. I use this kind of software for the magazine that I work for since a lot of us work remotely. It allows everyone working on the same account to access the material, but doesn’t clutter up the forum as our became toward the middle of the project as research information started coming in.

Finally, I’m not sure that two weeks is enough time to really get to know people’s working styles. I’m very adaptable, but it would be a nice luxury to know what helps people and how they work best so that we could tap into this even more and at an earlier place in our work.

Here’s our proposal.

This project aligns with the following AECT Standards:

Standard 2: DEVELOPMENT

Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

2.4 Integrated Technologies

“Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer” (Seels & Richey, 1994, p. 40). Integrated technologies are typically hypermedia environments which allow for: (a) various levels of learner control, (b) high levels of interactivity, and (c) the creation of integrated audio, video, and graphic environments. Examples include hypermedia authoring and telecommunications tools such as electronic mail and the World Wide Web.

Standard 3: UTILIZATION

Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations

“Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption” (Seels & Richey, 1994, p. 46). With an ultimate goal of bringing about change, the process includes stages such as awareness, interest, trial, and adoption.

3.4 Policies and Regulations

“Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology” (Seels & Richey, 1994, p. 47). This includes such areas as web-based instruction, instructional and community television, copyright law, standards for equipment and programs, use policies, and the creation of a system which supports the effective and ethical utilization of instructional technology products and processes.

Standard 4: MANAGEMENT

Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource, delivery system, and information management.

4.2 Resource Management

“Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services” (Seels & Richey, 1994, p. 51). This includes documentation of cost effectiveness and justification of effectiveness or efficiency for learning as well as the resources of personnel, budget, supplies, time, facilities, and instructional resources.