What's the Meaning of Life? There's an App for That

Document Type


Presentation Date

Winter 1-2012

Conference Name

American Association of Philosophy Teachers

Conference Location

Austin, TX


The use of mobile devices is not for the kind of teacher who prefers to be the sage on the stage. Mobile devices allow the student to become a colleague in the content of the course, which results in higher engagement because they have a greater ownership in the content. This session will cover the use of mobile devices as a means to enhance student learning. Last semester I ran a proof of concept course where my Modern Philosophy students were all given iPads to use for the entire semester. In this session I will share my experience using mobile devices and explain why they are more transformative to the classroom than a laptop or computer. If mobile devices are used as a strict substitution model (replacing a text with an e-text) then student learning outcomes are not dramatically increased. However, if the mobile devices are used to re-design curriculum and re-envision course content, then student learning outcomes are better met with the mobile device than without it. I will show specific examples of enhanced student collaboration using iThoughts HD (mind mapping application) and Dropbox (cloud storage); student engagement using iMovie to produce a comedic two minute philosophy sketch and the use of digital exams that incorporated YouTube videos, critical thinking from the utilization flipped classrooms (assigning lectures as homework), and a multi-disciplinary approach to their final research paper, which was done as an iMovie. Attendees will participate in several hands-on tutorials in all the above-mentioned activities. 5 iPads will be used in a workshop.


technology, humanities, iPad, mobile, philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction | Philosophy

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