There seem to be more and more staff at Northampton getting their hands on a mobile device. It’s either something they’ve bought themselves, or they are borrowing an iPad or iPod from stock purchased by their academic school. This is great news. We think these devices have real value as tools for learning and teaching, which is why we’ve started our monthly App Cafe sessions.

On the first Monday of the month between 1-2pm in the tPod at Park Campus, we come together to share apps and examples of good practice, drink coffee and even snaffle a pastry or two. The agenda for these sessions is intentionally loose. We don’t know what level people are at, some might be very comfortable with their own device, others are totally new to mobile devices. We want to try and focus on a single app each session and look at the learning angle on it. We’ll bring along some of our devices for staff to play with, and make the sessions practical and active.

Our first session focused on iPad Essentials, which was hard to nail down as there are so many apps to choose from, but we had a go and here are links to our small selection:


Accessing your University emails from your mobile is something we find essential, it’s not strictly learning or teaching but it’s pretty much an essential in our eyes.


When you set up an email account, you can also choose to sync your Outlook calendar to your mobile, which is something we’d find hard to live without. The thing to be aware of with both email and your calendar is to if it’s not your machine then you need to delete your account when you’re finished with it. Speak to use if you need help setting it up.


You can use iNorthampton to find staff in the directory, check timetables, browse the library catalogue and access your NILE modules via the Blackboard Mobile Learn app. It even has a map of the campus if you ever get lost on the way to class!



More and more staff are recording their lectures for students to access outside of class and this app is a great way to view many of the excellent video recordings available.


Finally, my favourite. Flipboard is a superb way to pull together into one place all the latest news from websites you’d like to follow. It’s hard to find time at your PC to trawl through dozens of websites, twitter feeds and personal blogs which focus on your teaching interests. Flipboard brings all these sources together and can keep you updated on professional issues, relevant discussions and current trends. If you’ve been avoiding Twitter then get an account, install Flipboard and you’ll never look back.

Okay, that’s all for now. There are so many other apps we could have chosen, but I wanted to keep the list short. Apple produce a range of apps which include word processing and presentation tools, and though they’re not free like the ones I’ve listed, they are great ways to stay productive.

Come along to an App Cafe, if you have time, or bookmark our blog for updates if you’re not free on each first Monday of the month. We are also happy to run small school-focused group sessions if you’d prefer so get in touch with us at




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