Free Brainstorming Apps

A common theme explored on this site is the fact that nearly all college students have mobile devices, and that increasingly those “phones” are smart phones. Why then, are we not taking full advantage of this fact to more effectively connect student learning to the community?

The post, Let’s Brainstorm with Mobile Devices! 15+ Free Apps for IOS/Android, from Teacher Reboot Camp, gives a pretty good overview of a category of mobile apps that people aggregating ideas in a community might find very useful.

Lee Iacocca quote

Recording a better quality of audio on your mobile phone

I am a big proponent of capturing the voices of all the players in civic engagement activities. Now that most people are walking around with pretty high quality digital recorders, it seems to make sense to understand how we might make the best recordings possible. If you want some good fundamental advice, check out the following piece by Lindsay Kalter, on the International Journalist’s Network blog, “How to record clear audio on a mobile phone.”

Smartphones: Teaching Tool or Brain Candy? — Campus Technology

The article Smartphones: Teaching Tool or Brain Candy? by Mark Frydenberg, Wendy Ceccucci, Patricia Sendall at Campus Technology, really helps bring home the point I am frequently trying to make in this blog. That is that not recognizing the potential value of portable, digital technologies in our campus community partnerships is a big mistake. The authors even include examples of civically-engaged teaching.

“. . . The smartphone’s potential as a learning tool is rapidly being discovered by faculty. Paul Wallace, assistant professor of instructional technology at Appalachian State University(NC), taught his students to use the Scvngr application as a way to apply their classroom knowledge to benefit the local community. Students partnered with Watauga River Conservation Partners, a local community organization, to create mobile scavenger hunts to help the community learn about wetlands and conservation. Not only did students learn to use mobile technology, they were also able apply their classroom knowledge in the field. . . “

Read the rest here.

Record quality audio reports and interviews with your phone

Just about reportereverybody has an audio recorder in their pocket these days. If you are involved in projects related to citizen journalism, oral history, advocacy, or key informant evaluation interviews, you might want to check out this post by Melissa Ulbricht, on MobileActive’s, Mobile Media Toolkit site. It contains links to a number of case studies and training guides that will help you use audio in a compelling and effective way.

Another innovative mobile phone use

Looking for more innovative uses for mobile phones?

Here’s a story by Lourdes Aceves, from LISC‘s Institute for Comprehensive Community Development site that tells how Pittsburgh’s, Community Technical Assistance Center, has been mobilizing local teens with smartphones to inventory properties and vacant land in several of that city’s neighborhoods.

Mobile Phone Webinar Recap

Here is the presentation from our webinar on using mobile phones as a tool for community engagement. You can download the actual presentation at (requires free registration).

Other Follow-up

There was a question about using texting to advertise a volunteer event to a volunteer list.

I think your best bet might be Broadtexter. It’s free, you can manage it all from the Web, and there are no size limits to the number of people on your list. The hardest part might be opting people into the list. That can be done a couple of different ways. You can get more details on their website

Here are some sites that participants mentioned in the chat.

  • The site was mentioned as a fundraising model.
  • Someone mentioned that some of the mapping examples resembled
  • The volunteer management site was recommended.

Also, if you have recommendations for smartphone apps that should be developed to promote social good leave your ideas in the comments below.