It’s Raining Mobile Apps! Which Ones May Be Helpful for Teachers to Teach and Students to Learn in a Blended, Undergraduate Course?

Concurrent Session 8

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Brief Abstract

This education session will discuss how one undergraduate instructor used mobile applications in a blended learning course on instructional technology for pre-service teachers. Topics discussed include which mobile applications were used as anticipatory activities, to give direct instruction, to facilitate collaboration or cooperation, to study, to assess, and to reflect.


Dr. Kelly S. Rippard is a researcher of English and pre-service teacher education, instructional design, curriculum development, problem-based instructional models, technology education, and blended learning. After having a successful career as a secondary and postsecondary English educator as well as an instructional designer and curriculum specialist, Dr. Rippard is currently a lecturer in the department of teaching and learning at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Here she teaches future teachers about educational methods and technology in both traditional and online classrooms.

Extended Abstract

It has been estimated that there are over 140 billion apps in Apple’s App Store and 2.2 million apps in Google’s Play Store (“Facts on Mobile App Usage”, 2016). These numbers are astounding and suggest that twenty-first century people are using this type of technology in their personal life, professional obligations, and education. Given these numbers, one might expect to see research on how mobile app technology is being used in various learning environments. While there is recent research discussing implications on mobile apps within various disciplines in the postsecondary classroom (see Chen and Denoyelles, 2013; Vázquez-Cano, 2014), discussion about which pedagogical practices pair well with which mobile applications is rare. Research is also harder to locate on using mobile apps in blended learning environments. This session seeks to add to this body of research by sharing one instructor’s experience with using mobile apps in an undergraduate course on instructional technology for pre-service teachers. By using mobile apps, the instructor also used a blended learning model: students met and completed tasks face-to-face on particular days and met digitally and completed tasks at other times.

During this session, the instructor will use Canva to present a presentation walking attendees through the design of her blended learning course by instructional strategy, instructional topic, and free mobile application. Attendees will be provided a QR code that they can scan and view a copy of the presentation. During the presentation, instructor reflection will be shared via discussion of what worked and what needed improvement in terms of the aforementioned topics (instructional strategy, instructional topic, and mobile application). Also, the instructor will share scaffolding provided to students to aid in their success. Throughout the session, the presenter will ask attendees to text their thoughts, questions, and individual experiences on the presentation’s topics via a poll designed on the Poll Everywhere application.  The end of the presentation will include time to discuss implications for future research and what type of research study might be best to design around this type of approach to teaching. 

The presentation will be broken into seven parts based upon the course design. The first part of the presentation will discuss the anticipatory activities used in class and how these were done using mobile applications such as Poll Everywhere, Socrative, Google Docs, and Edmodo. The second part of the presentation will discuss how mobile apps were used to provide direct instruction both within the face-to-face classroom and in the blended environment (which can include asynchronous and synchronous sessions) using mobile applications such as Google Plus, Edmodo, GroupMe, VoiceThread, and LiveBoard. The third part of the presentation will explain how and when mobile applications such as Google Plus, Edmodo, GroupMe were used to facilitate small and large group collaboration or cooperation. The fourth part of the presentation will discuss assessment via mobile applications and what apps were used to help students study (StudyBlue, Quizlet) and demonstrate knowledge (Kahoot, Socrative, Google Docs). The fifth part of the presentation will discuss which mobile apps were used to help students reflect upon learning (Penzu, Google Docs, and Weebly).

Throughout each of the seven sections, the presenter will share the class schedule and which topics were either being taught, discussed, studied, or assessed. The learning environment will also be discussed (i.e. if the class session was face-to-face, asynchronous, or synchronous). The presenter will give her thoughts on what worked and did not work well, making suggestions for others who would like to use the mobile apps in similar ways.  Each area of discussion will showcase the apps and give relevant user information including which “store” the apps can be found on, what type of scaffolding students may need, and the best practices for the instructor to evaluate learning using the app.

At the end of the presentation, time will be given to discuss research implications with the audience. Here the presenter not only hopes to discuss questions, concerns, and opposite or similar experiences, but to also discuss how the method used in her initial research could be better developed into a research study.



Chen, B., & Denoyelles, A. (2013). Exploring students' mobile learning practices in higher education. Educause Review. Retrieved from http://www. educause. edu/ero/article/exploring-students-mobile-learning-practices-higher-education.


Vázquez-Cano, E. (2014). Mobile Distance Learning with Smartphones and Apps in Higher Education. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 14(4), 1505-1520.