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Mobile Applications


Hurst Hall, Room 202

Mon - Thur: 9:30 am - 8:30 pm
Fri: 9:30 am - 7 pm
Sat: Noon - 7 pm
Sun: Closed

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

Tips for Mobile Technologies in Teaching

1. Most mobile apps are not best for use in the classroom. Faculty do not want students staring at the phones all period to watch something that probably can be shown to all on a projector. The only apps one might use in a class might be polling devices and the like.

2. Mobile works best for outside class work particularly for information gathering.

3. Not all students have cell phones nor use them frequently. Equity issues are important. Some students with newer phones might get through an assignment or exercise more quickly because of having better technology.

4. Assignments that use apps or mobile technologies need to be carefully crafted so that it makes sense for a pedagogical reason.

5. Some apps, like watching movies, pull tremendous amounts of data. Unless the student has a data plan, this could become very expensive. Watching them on a home computer however would be free.

6. Some apps cost money to purchase as others are free to use. Still others are “subscription based.”

7. There is a difference between Android and Apple (IOS) platforms, so if you can choose an application that supports both platforms for class activities. If you are using Apple or IOS platform, you will need to go through the Apple iTunes store, you will need to set up an account with them.  

8. Consider a “safe zone” from mobile technology that allows students to concentrate on the lecture and material to take a break from their everyday use of mobile phones. Students tend to be overwhelmed with all of the technology available to them unless there is a good reason for students to use mobile such as learner control (empowerment) or activity driven assignments.

These are tips without specific reference to iPads vs. iPhones:

  • The assignment is always more important than the app. They should be used in assignments where they can enhance and improve research in existing or similar assignments. This is not to deny creativity. Rather it is to keep the focus on pedagogy and not technology.
  • Before beginning use of an app for an assignment, you should first poll your students and see if they have any ethical or technological reasons that might prevent them from participating. If there are, then arrangements should be made to make up for the lack of a technology (and see some students don’t have cell phones) or ways to overcome any personal worries.