Piscitello, C. (2013, Summer). Teaching/Learning Matters ASA’s Newsletter for the section on teaching and learning sociology, 42(1), pp. 9-10.
Technology is growing at a rapid pace. Since the time I graduated from college, we’ve seen great advances in computer technology, specifically, the ability to make technology mobile. In, I was the only student with a laptop computer, taking notes, cross referencing what my professors taught on the web and maybe, some less productive activities when class seemed boring and endless.
Now, technology is everywhere and can take you anywhere.And students have a variety of hardware and software options from laptop to tablet to smart phone, from email to twitter to Facebook, to Google chat. This article will examine the use of the Apple iPad in an Introduction to Sociology classroom. In particular, I am interested in discussing the ways in which the mobile application Haiku Deck, an intuitive presentation application, helped support a learner-centered environment and initiate creativity,group discussion and interpersonal communication skills in learning and brainstorming complex sociological concepts in a learner centered environment.
In the classroom, teachers must compete with new advancements in technology. We can either ban the use of smart phones, tablets, and computers from being used in
the classroom, or we can find interesting and productive ways to employ these new forms of technology and actually improve learning in the classroom. Many school systems, colleges and universities are beginning to realize the potential opportunity in integrating technology into the classroom, allowing students the chance to learn using their mobile devices as opposed to banning their use altogether.
Many of us would prefer having a classroom of students learning, taking notes, researching ideas and collaborating with peers, as opposed to playing games.
As stated above, there are many options for both teachers and students when deciding on what technology fits an individual’s specific teaching or learning needs. I have chosen the iPad and Haiku Deck since my specific college has fully integrated iPad technology into the classroom, each student and teacher has access to and uses the iPad for pedagogical and personal reasons. It is important to understand that this is only one example of the use of technology in the classroom, and that there are many options to consider when integrating technology. In terms of choosing
a best practice of what works best in the classroom, an educator must assess the needs of the students. But, as mobile technology becomes more prevalent, more options will be available to both Apple and Android users.
Haiku Deck is a free iPad app that allows users to create visually stunning presentations quickly and easily (haikudeck.com). The biggest attraction to using this software in a classroom is the built-in picture database that allows the user to search pictures that are mentioned in the presentation text, creating an aesthetically pleasing slide with very little time searching the Internet for pictures.
In introduction to sociology, an elective class popular in many colleges and universities, the information can become dry for many students who choose not to continue as sociology majors. It is important for a sociology instructor to initiate class discussion and collaboration to ensure that the complex theory can be applied to everyday life. A student centered approach can be utilized to ensure that the students are the focus, applying the importance of the content to each student with hands on approach brought to life with the use of mobile technology in the classroom (Brown & Green, 2005). The specific assignment in my own classroom is given in two parts. First, the students are given a homework assign- ment to research a specific sociological topic to be covered in the class, “How popular culture defines American culture,” “How social control oversteps our freedoms,” or “How do you define family and how has it changed in your lifetime.” The students are instructed to break into small groups, and share their findings with each other, and to collaborate on a short Haiku Deck presentation that they will share with the class. The students quickly compile the presentation and share with the rest of their peers.
The use of mobile technology and the right applications allow students to utilize technology already familiar to them. As educators we can stifle their abilities by emanding that they “turn off their toys,” or we can create a student centered earning environment where they can learn from not only the teacher, but they can learn from each other. The iPad is a wonderful tool if used correctly, teachers
must keep up with the fast paced world of technology to stay connected to our students.
Brown, A., & Green, T. (2005). The essentials of
instructional design: Connectiong fundimental principles
with process and practice (1st ed). NJ: Prentice Hall.
haikudeck.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23rd, 2013, from
Haiku Deck Home Page: http://www.haikudeck.com/