Note: this is an assignment for a Master's course at K-State, EDCI 887: Professional Seminar I, taught by Dr. Rosemary Talab.
What, if any, mobile apps can be used for teaching at a distance?
Cell phones and other mobile devices, such as iPod Touches, are much more than they appear; making calls is only one of the thousands of uses for an iPhone. I found some Apple apps that could prove useful for Distance Education (DE). This is a small list and I'm sure there are many more out there.
This app translates voice-to-text. You speak, it types. According to its description, DD is "up to five (5) times faster than typing on the keyboard." Part of the reason an individual may be in a DE class is that he/she is separated geographically or travels often and a face-to-face class wouldn't be an option. This would be a great app for light traveling; no need to take a laptop just so you can type.
Sign 4 Me
Sign 4 Me is fairly specific in terms of the users it would benefit, but any opportunity to learn while mobile makes even informal distance education possible. Plus it's "The ONLY app that provides sign language instruction in 3D!"
PenUltimate (iPad only)
Taking notes on the go has never been so easy nor looked so darn good. The description says it all: "take notes, keep sketches, or work through your next breakthrough idea-- whether you're in the office, on the go, or home on the couch."
Many schools are purchasing "clickers": special hardware devices which allow for nearly instantaneous student responses. A friend of mine loved them for multiple choice quizzes and assessing student understanding. With ResponseWare, those "clickers" are unnecessary; those with an iPod Touch or iPhone need only access this app. From description: "allows students [...] to respond to interactive polling questions. Responses can be tracked by individuals for later reporting and point values can also be assigned."
This "reference" app allows the user to "access expert knowledge. Wherever you are. Whenever you need it." It's like having an interactive, constantly updated encyclopedia right on one's mobile device. Nothing personal, Wikipedia :)
The screenshots make this look like like a doodling app, primarily. And maybe it is. But it's also a "collaborative drawing app" (my emphasis). Often, distance education classes will require cooperative activities, but collaboration over hundreds of miles isn't ideal. Well, Whiteboard Pro allows for short, collaborative brainstorming sessions, potentially making the process a little easier.