In their 2013 book The App Generation, Howard Gardner and Katie Davis coin the terms “app-enabling” and “app-dependent” to describe two ways we may choose to view a world “permeated by apps” (p 9). According to Gardner and Davis, “apps that allow or encourage us to pursue new possibilities are app-enabling. In contrast, when we allow apps to restrict or determine our procedures, choices, and goals, we become app-dependent” (p 10). So how might these two ways of viewing technology look in the classroom? The table below contains some examples for you to consider.
|Math||Students use a calculator application to solve problems or check their work||Students are given a problem based learning scenario and must use a variety of apps and websites to formulate a plan and find a solution|
|Writing||Students attach their essays to an email for the teacher to grade digitally||Students publish their writing online and glean feedback from an authentic audience|
|Reading||Students access websites like Spark Notes to help them understand the themes, conflicts, and important passages in the novels they are reading||Students participate in a digital literature circle with kids they have never met. Together, they develop a shared understanding of the novel by bringing their various experiences to the reading.|
|Social Studies||Students access primary source and secondary source materials to learn about injustices in our world||Students use the power of the internet to network with others and serve their community in an authentic way|
|Science||Students explore museum websites or participate in online simulations||Students are connected to experts in the field via Google Hangouts or Skype in the Classroom|
|Languages||Students use a flash card app to practice vocabulary in isolation||Students create content in the foreign language they are learning|
|Art/Music||Students use apps to learn about or study the work of others||Students put their work in front of a genuine audience or turn their creations into profits by opening a storefront and selling their work online|
Technology in the classroom opens up so many options for students to engage in real-world, authentic learning experiences. I would encourage you to think about ways to move from a classroom of content consumption to one where creation, connection, and critical thinking are fostered by the types of app-enabling activities you engage your students in! References: Gardner, H., & Davis, K. (2013). The App generation: How today’s youth navigate identity, intimacy, and imagination in a digital world. New Haven: Yale University Press.