iPads in Education: What’s Missing?

Posted: June 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: EdTech, iPad, Uncategorized | Comments Off on iPads in Education: What’s Missing?

It seems like every passing day brings new announcements of schools adopting iPads in the classroom.  A lot of schools are experimenting with pilot programs in individual classrooms or grade levels, but the most ambitious programs are going 1:1 with the iPad, meaning that they’re putting an iPad in the hands of each and every student in the school.

The relative low cost of the iPad as well as its unobtrusive form factor make iPad deployments in schools fundamentally different from the computer labs or media carts that many people are used to seeing in classrooms.  iOS devices are well on the way to fulfilling the promise of ubiquitous computing, and education–where traditional computing devices risk ending up as distractions to learning–is benefitting immensely.

At the same time, the iPad is still very young and iOS represents a significant departure from the desktop computers that educators are used to using and that administrators are used to managing.  Because of these differences, schools will need to pick up some new computing habits and developers will need to build some new tools to truly make the best of these devices in the classroom.

Here are a couple of the challenges we’re seeing educators in the edtech community discussing in regards to using the iPad in the classroom:

  • Making app content work with an existing curriculum
  • Monitoring student activity and performance
  • Constructing workflows for students to submit work and receive feedback

None of these challenges are insurmountable, but they do require different solutions and different ways of thinking compared to the typical desktop computer deployments in schools.

Are you an educator using iPads in the classroom?  We’d love to hear from you about how you’re approaching these problems.  What other problems have you had to tackle when adopting these devices in the classroom?


How and why iOS and Mac devs should use the iTunes Affiliate Link Program

Posted: June 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business, iOS Development, iPad, Mac App Store | Comments Off on How and why iOS and Mac devs should use the iTunes Affiliate Link Program

Taking a small departure here from the usual content  of this blog, I wanted to write a bit about the iTunes Affiliate Link Program and explain how and why iOS/Mac developers selling apps in the App Stores should be using it as part of their marketing and analytics toolbox.

With the iTunes Affiliate Link program, you link visitors into the iTunes Store with a special affiliate link, and then receive 5% of all iTunes store sales for that visitor in the next 72 hours (unless they come back in through a different affiliate, of course).

An extra 5% on sales probably sounds like a decent selling point already, but it’s actually not the most important thing the affiliate program offers.  The affiliate program also enables you to collect additional metrics about iTunes Store sales, filling a gap left by Apple’s reporting which tells you how many sales you’ve made, but not where they’re coming from.

The affiliate program can tell you how many visitors are clicking through to your app pages in the app store, where they’re coming from and how much they end up purchasing.  Here are some of the interesting things we’ve learned from using the App Store Affiliate program:

  • a decent number of visitors click through our purchase link into the app store
  • relatively few of those visitors actually buy the app–not a surprise perhaps
  • many of those visitors do go on to buy other things from the app store (other notetaking apps?!)
  • some ad networks are great at delivering tons of site traffic, but almost never ever convert to sales
  • other networks are more modest in the visitors they deliver, but are much more effective in actually selling apps

Links into the app store can be customized with different tags for different traffic sources to help identify which sources are driving traffic to your apps in the App Stores.  Though the program doesn’t give exact sales information, it does tell you which traffic sources are driving visitors to the store and whether those visitors end up making purchases.

So while there are limitations on the information the program offers you, it still provides an extra level of valuable data on visitors coming to your site and viewing your apps in the app store.  The iTunes Affiliate Link Program should be part of every iOS or Mac developer’s analytics toolkit.  For more information, check out Apple’s page on the program or visit LinkShare directly.