Using an iPad for course management and language learning

JoAnne VanTuyl, Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Slavic & Eurasian Studies used an iPad during the Fall 2010 semester in her Russian courses. She explored how the iPad could improve course management as well as experimented with ways it might enhance language learning.

JoAnne used the iPad for a number of personal productivity tasks. She used Dropbox to access documents, reviewed items in Blackboard, and kept up on her email through iPad email applications. She also kept attendance for her courses with an app called Attendance. She found this app “made keeping attendance and homework records much easier than it’s ever been.”

For a class activity JoAnne used Doodle Buddy to create images of Russian vocabulary words written in Cyrillic cursive. Using Dropbox, each of these words were captured as an image and along with other relevant photographs, they were loaded onto a set of iPads. In-class students were given the iPads to practice tracing the cursive words and also to identify the images in photographs with appropriate vocabulary words.

Overall JoAnne felt the iPad was “hands down better in portability than my laptop and much better in size compared to my iPod Touch.” The iPad provided a better screen to access information, yet could easily be brought back and forth between home, the office, and the classroom each day. It helped JoAnne manage her course and holds potential as a tool for students to work with when learning Cyrillic cursive and new vocabulary.