January 18, 2019, by Joe Bell
Using Apps in Teaching
While life before the smartphone may seem like a distant memory, it is only relatively recently (2016) that mobile web browsing overtook other methods of accessing online resources.
Weiqun Wang, Chinese Section Lead and Assistant Professor in Chinese in the Faculty of Arts has recognised the value to her students of the smartphone in their learning and has been using apps with her students for several years.
Students are already very familiar with smartphones and so she encourages her colleagues to also stay ahead of the trend and explore what apps are available to support their students’ learning.
Weiqun explains that while students in her classes may initially believe that learning the Chinese language is difficult, by using apps she is able to help them to understand that the language is different rather than difficult. Writing Chinese characters can be challenging for students due to the unfamiliar writing system, so she uses apps that give students guided practice forming the characters. The repetition and visual prompts are very useful in effectively helping them to learn how to write the language.
There are many powerful apps available for this purpose as well as apps that help students learn and practice pronunciation, listening skills and grammar.
The fact that students are carrying very powerful devices with them into the classroom can be used to benefit learning rather than being seen by the teacher as an undesirable distraction. Once mobile technology is embraced in the classroom rather than being excluded, it’s easier to introduce apps like WeChat for classroom management too.
Are you using mobile apps in the classroom? Would you like to share your story?
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