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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


TeacherCast App for iOS

by Carol Helton
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4.25 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: May 27, 2014 by Teacher Education
Overview: This app was redesigned in 2013 and is now TeacherCast Pro. It is an Educational Community for 21st Century Education. This app provides tools, methods, and online content to use in the classroom while engaging students. The app provides access to educational resources such as podcasts, blogs, screencasts, LiveBinders, App reviews, and links to social networking tools.
Learning Goals: The learner will be able to access educational resources such as podcasts, blogs, screencasts, LiveBinders, App reviews, and links to social networking tools.
Target Student Population: Grade School, Middle School, High School, College General Ed, College Lower Division, College Upper Division, Preservice teachers, K-12 teachers and college instructors, Graduate School, Professional
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: An Ipad, Iphone or an Ipod Touch is needed and the ability to download apps. There are fees for some features such as online courses.
Type of Material: The material is a reference, tutorial, course, and a social networking tool.
Recommended Uses: The app can be used for professional development. Teachers can learn how to use new apps and technological resources. Teachers who are expert users can teach other teachers by posting podcasts.
Technical Requirements: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: The resources included will allow teachers and students to stay informed with the most current technologies being used in the classroom. Online courses provide opportunities to learn basic skills, terminology and set up accounts to more advanced features. This is a one stop shop for your educational needs. There is a companion website at www.teachercast.net
Concerns: Some of the authors post content to the site based on their experiences using different apps and technologies. There are authors that are music teachers who do not necessarily have an academic background in instructional design or educational technology. Other authors are college professors who post lectures in their fields. There is some quality control because the site is hosted and potential authors must use a contact form before being able to post content to the site. The App has not been updated since redesigned in June 2013.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The learning objective for the site is for teachers to teach other teachers to use new technologies. The multimedia site has different tabs for different features. The learner must be willing to explore the app to identify those tools and models that may be used in the classroom. The material should provide teachers with new ideas for teaching and engaging students in the classroom.
Concerns: Material/resources should be updated periodically. The search tool was not always helpful.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: It is easy to use the TeacherCast site. The user clicks on the media of interest or topic. The site is visually distinctive. It has a green blackboard with an photo of an apple which is the symbol for teachers. Movies can be watched by clicking on the arrows or listened to using the audio icon. There is a pop up which requests feedback from users. The contact us button is oversized and on every page.
Concerns: The users has to click on a tab, a subheading, and then scroll through multiple pages to find specific resources of interest which is not an efficient way to locate information. In some areas, the content is a bit cluttered on the iPhone but easier to view on the iPad.

Other Issues and Comments: On the first screen content is from a previous year, but once you click the various resources you discover that the content is current. The TeacherCast staff should to work to ensure that current content is on the first screen you see when you access the app.