Student-generated apps, animations, & infographics – can they lead to higher levels of understanding?

Session Title:   Student-generated apps, animations, & infographics – can they lead to higher levels of understanding?


Your Name:   Derek Barkalow


Work Title:   Biology Professor


School or Organization Name:   Stetson University, Deland, FL, USA


Area of the World from Which You Will Present:   USA


Language in Which You Will Present:   English


Target Audience(s):   K-20 Teachers, Technology Faculty, Higher Education Faculty, and Administrators


Short Session Description (one line):   Students of all technological backgrounds created their own mobile-device apps, animations, or infographics using free and publically available tools.


Full Session Description (as long as you would like):


{Preliminary versions of this project have been presented at ISTE 2013, San Antonio TX and Global STEMx 2013 online conference. Teachers of elementary, middle and high school students have reported success in use of these tools by their students.}

A pilot project is described where students generated their own apps that can be displayed on iOS or android smart devices or tablets. Other students created origaninal animations or infographics.

Students in 6 sections of various college courses at Stetson University were asked to generate or use a previously student-generated app, animation, orinfographic that focused on a very specific topic area.

The courses these students were enrolled in ranged from first-year seminars open to any students regardless of major, to general education courses, to introductory courses for science majors.

Students in this pilot project ranged from freshmen to senior college students.

Students were provided free, publically available resources that assisted their self-generation of these apps, animations, and infographics. Apps were created for use on iOS devices, such as iPad or iPhone, and android devices, including smart phones and tablets. Emulation software also allowed use of these apps on a Windows-based computer or laptop (AMD Appzone / Bluestacks).

Students had no programming background, yet successfully generated their own apps using the resources provided. Collaborative discussions & blogs assisted students that had questions about how to proceed or solve technical issues.

Examples of focused student-generated apps, animations, and infographics will be shown during this presentation, and have included:

1. What is the Singularity? (for a junior seminar on the Future of Human Health & Welfare)

2. What use may nanotechnology be for doctors of the future? (for a junior seminar on the Future of Human Health & Welfare)

3. Are Sustainable Fisheries Possible? (for a freshman seminar on Water & Life)

4. What is the snakehead fish (for a freshman seminar on Water & Life)

5. How do enzymes lower activation energy? (for an  introductory Biology course for majors)

6. Can increased mass transit use lead to conservation of water? (for a nonmajors environmental science course)

Assessment of the degree that generation of or use of a student-generated app, animation, or infographic assisted higher levels of understanding is being tested in this pilot project by pre- and post-assessment for three groups of students. These groups are: a. no exposure to a particular app (animation, or infographic); b. self-generation of an app in a content area X; c. use of the app X generated by student b.

Assessment continues on this pilot project. Preliminary results indicate that generation of an app, animation, or infographic best promotes higher levels of understanding, applying, and analyzing of concepts. Use of a student-generated app, animation, or infographic can also promote higher levels of student understanding, compared to students who did not use the app, animation, or infographic.


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