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Using Mobiles with Students

Modified on: Thu, May 28, 2015 at 3:00 PM


Students can work individually or in small groups on class assignments using mobile technology. Tablets can be used in or out of class for assignments. Instructors should consider different strategies depending on whether the devices are shared or BYOD (bring your own device).


Students need to have their own devices to participate. This can be BYOD (bring your own device) or tablets can be provided by the instructor. See tips below for purchasing large quantities of tablets for student use. Tablets can be used in small groups if there are not enough for everyone.

Recommended Apps

  • Web Browser (Safari, Firefox, Dolphin, Atomic)
  • Video Editor (iMovie)
  • Apps vary depending on assignment

Types of Assignments

There is an exhaustive amount of possible assignments that can be completed with a tablet. Here are a few:

  • Group Searching. A simple form of using tablets for classroom assignment can include putting students in small groups to use the Internet search feature for group research, webquests, web-based inquiry assignments.
  • Multimedia. Tablets can be used to create multimedia. With the built in movie and image tools, photos and videos can be created and edited on the tablets. The portability of the tablet also lends itself to being easily transported for capturing footage outside of the classroom. Presentation. In a classroom with Apple TV, students can project work on their computer to the classroom screen.
  • Experiential Learning. Tablets can be taken out of the classroom and used for writing, documenting, sketching, researching, etc phenomena in the real world. Similarly, students can FaceTime or use other communication apps to contact professionals in the field to talk to them directly.
  • Team based Learning. The tablet can act as a project management tool for activities that are designed using team based learning.


  • When purchasing large quantities of ipads to be used in the classroom, technologists and instructors must consider how these devices will be registered, whether students will be allowed to take them out of the classroom, and whether and who will have access to modifying and managing the updates and app installation on all of the devices.
  • Student work can be created on a variety of tablets, not limited to iPads. For example, activities that require images or video can be accomplished on any smartphone or tablet. The instructor should be careful to assign work in an app that is not available on all devices if they are not provided.
  • When sharing a small number of devices, certain pedagogies, like team based learning, project based learning or other small group project design may be the most effective.
  • Ensure tablets are all charged before class!

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