The use of social media has become very popular among all age groups, and with it, the use of mobile devices has increased as well. A total of 234 million people age 13 and older in the U.S. used mobile devices in December 2009 (Live Science). It is no surprise then that schools and universities are starting to outfit their students with iPads. A recent article in the New York Times states, "A growing number of schools across the nation are embracing the iPad as the latest tool to teach Kafka in multimedia, history through "Jeopardy"-like games and math with step-by-step animation of complex problem" (NY Times).
Many adopters of social media techniques in teaching and learning are using iPads to investigate and better understand the innovative nature of tablet technology for their classrooms. How do social media affect teaching and learning? How can they shape communication to ensure a more engaged classroom setting? How can they provide a richer contextualization of the material being learned? How can they encourage collaboration?
These are questions that are also important for teaching of language, culture, and literatureand and worth investigating. Supported by the Hewlett Fund for Curricular Innovation, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences has initiated a multi-year, multi-departmental project with two objectives: to help the college and a subset of individual language instructors investigate and gain experience in the use and integration of the iPad, and to test students' reactions to the new technology.
The new interactive devices and their expanding possibilities force intructors to reconsider what teaching and learning means for them but also for their students. The mobility, enhanced hardware, and better software encourages new thinking on how to integrate the device and how to teach with the new technology in a way that guarantees better learning outcomes. This website detailes the efforts of each language instructor and their students and presents data about various learning outcomes.
If you are interested in learning about the use of Ipad technology and would like to teach a class using iPads, we encourage you to contact us or to come to one of the workshops or information sessions.