Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology

'App Factory' aims to enhance student learning

Mon Mar 30 13:58:00 BST 2015

Our Learning Technologist Keith Brown is developing a new way for students to engage with learning using self-made smartphone apps.

Example App Factory appsThe 'App Factory' uses an intuitive interface to allow users to drag and drop presentation slides into the app builder and customise the look.

The apps, which work on both iOS and Android phones, are then generated in minutes. Keith has created a video showcasing the technology and how students have used the App Factory so far.

Keith said: “If you can make a PowerPoint presentation, you can make an app.  It is genuinely that simple.”

Once an app is published, it becomes available to download for free from an internal repository.

So far the App Factory has been used by Pharmacy & Pharmacology students to create apps to help their peers revise certain modules, through lecture notes, interactive quizzes and related resources.

The team has recently been awarded funding from our Alumni Development Fund and they have plans to get alumni involved in developing apps in the future.  One graduate, recent Chancellors Prize and RPS Student of the Year winner Cristina Dumitru, has already been involved in the project.

Although still in early stages of development, the App Factory was recently mentioned in Times Higher Education and has also been included in the latest edition of the JISC Mobile Learning Infokit.

Pointing to recent research that shows 41% of students would like dedicated apps to help with their studies, Keith believes using mobile technology to reinforce learning is something that will become standard practice in the near future.

Example app for sixth formersOn his inspiration to create the App Factory, Keith commented: “I noticed how students are constantly glued to their smartphones, and wondered whether creating an app to help with revision would be more useful than traditional web-based learning that isn’t easily accessible on a phone or tablet.”

Feedback on the App Factory from users has been positive so far, and Keith is also working with the Department of Physics to develop an app for potential students, covering information that applicants to the department want to know, which he hopes will be available by the end of the summer. 

Keep up to date with the App Factory project via Keith’s blog.