The iPhone and the iPod Touch are built upon a platform ideal for education - scaleable, secure yet still open enough to innovate with. In time I’d like to collate, review and categorise applications made for the iPhone and specifically designed for education. I welcome contributors to submit the education related apps for review and also for reviewers to write for this site.

iPhone SDKThese apps are all built on the Cocoa Touch API.  There were 100,000 downloads of this open-source Software Developers Kit (SDK) in the first 24 hours of it’s release last year.  It took Palm 4 years to acheive similar download.

Access to a Digital Education Revolution as it is called here in Australia means that in time students will be able to use an ultraportable provided just as text books were in the past. With this device they will connect with the 21C online world they spend much of their free time in. The all-pervasive Internet folks. And yes - it is easy to see the peril and expense and react with fear to this proposition - however there is a time to move beyond finding problems for integrating these all-pervasive technologies to a place where we find solutions instead.


The big question is - will schools be buying them for Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) access during excursions and outside work? You bet - at least those with money will. It wasn’t until I came across this video, I understood what the web community is so amazed about. Kindy kids will be able to understand and operate that GUI! This montage from Rojo sums the combination up for a visual spatial learner like me:

iPhone new

Unfortunately, being able to access rich media via the school WiFi network changes the boundaries for school ICT resources yet again. I’ve written about one possible solution here before and school district WiFi is certainly the way of the future.  With the new wireless capabilities of hubs like AirPort Extreme digital portability enters yet another dimension - can our school infrastructure and systems keep up? This sort of change in expectation displays the need for scaleable network and storage solutions. Instead of portable notebook trolleys will we see racks of iPhones in the library? I’ll check back on this post in 2008 to see where we are at. Lot’s of other bloggers are thinking about the gaping hole iPhone could fill in education:

Chalkface Project predicted: “that the iPhone, and its descendants and imitators, will replace desktops and laptops as the workhorse educational computing device.”’s Dr. Helen Barrett hypothesises: “Online simulations, games, learning objects, widgets, blogs, a built-in digital camera to collect images; the capabilities of this device could far exceed the way Palms are currently being used in education today. I could imagine many ways that this device could become the next 1-1 platform for learning. I also see a tool that will support the many stages of ePortfolio development, including collection and reflection.” McEducation proposes: “The power of the iPhone is its portability and connectivity. The way I imagine this working to support teacher education is prospective teachers are in a classroom to do observations in order to understand inquiry science pedagogy.” And via Hey Jude, as Ben Worthen points out: “In short, the iPhone does what the people who work for you want technology to do …… the iPhone captures in one elegant device the reason that most business people feel that IT is out of touch.”

I had a teacher ask me where one learns about the iPhone; “I was just getting used to XP”, she said.  So what better way to get the first iPhone in Ed post up and going than to have a digital native show us how to use one. Text messaging, watching video, looking at pictures, using YouTube, writing notes, or using the calendar feature… this young lass covers it all.

Educators are very interested in where we can go with ePortfolios where the iPhone platform will fit into the wider learning experiences possible within outcomes-based education.

Paul Reid - Jan 2007

Paul Reid