Mobile Apps Foster a New Learning Experience at Stern

Challenge new students to step out of their expected roles

By Madeline Friedman

For most students, orientation means sitting through hours of presentations and speeches. At NYU Stern’s MBA program, it’s a little bit different. Since 2013, new students participate in the Langone Lab, a two-day experiential program. Students participate in a design-thinking experience where they use cutting-edge mobile technology and applications to come up with actual product prototypes that they present to professors and peers.

The Langone Lab came about through collaboration between a group of Stern’s faculty and administrators, and Stern’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL). “We wanted to engage students to think more broadly about their business education,” Associate Director of CITL Maya Georgieva said. “We worked with professor Diane Lennard, professor Luke Williams and the Office of Student Engagement at Stern,” she added. Georgieva and CITL identified that the best way to create these prototypes was to use an iPad app. “During Lab we challenge our new students to step out of their expected roles as passive recipients of information and make them active learners and problem solvers. We encourage creativity and ask students to prototype their idea by creating a short video. Using iPads, students are able to research, record, export, and share their videos, and it has to be simple enough for us to teach them in 5-10 minutes.”

In the most recent lab, students used Apple iPads and the ExplainEverything app to prototype their ideas and record a potential user experience. Students’ experiences throughout the weekend were recorded with Google Glass and the Narrative Clip camera. Georgieva and her project collaborators won the Education Futurists Award in 2014 from Campus Technology Magazine’s Innovator Awards for this innovative program.

CITL, along with the iPad and Tablets Working Group, worked with faculty to incorporate mobile devices into their curriculum and pedagogy, and guided students on using mobile applications for learning and creation. In addition to ExplainEverything, the Narrative Clip, and Google Glass, the group has also worked with faculty to use mobile applications such as Top Hat, which creates a student response system using mobile phones as clickers, and SimpleMind, which can be used for brainstorming and idea-sharing sessions.

In the past academic year, CITL has continued to offer workshops that focus on incorporating apps into teaching and learning. One of them is iPad apps for the flipped classrooms.

Students use the Educreations app to augmenttheir learning in an accounting course at theStern School of Business. Photo: Educreate

Students use the Educreations app to augment
their learning in an accounting course at the
Stern School of Business. Photo: Educreations

One faculty member who uses mobile tools in his course is Ian Stewart, Clinical Associate Professor of Management Communication who also works in the Stern Teaching Effectiveness Program. Stewart uses an iPad and the Educreations app in his accounting course. He recently participated in a video about how the mobile app has helped him. “Educreations enabled me to convert my iPad into a whiteboard,” he said. “That enabled me to capture my spoken comments and my diagrams, such as timelines and graphs and so on, and send it to the students.”

Stewart said students appreciate “both the audio and the video nature of the recordings, and this makes sense given that the human brain has two channels for processing information: One is the auditory/verbal channel and the other is the visual/pictorial channel.” He added, “The tests show very strong results that students learn and understand more deeply when we use both modalities rather than just one.”

For faculty not as familiar with mobile teaching, CITL hosts events that explain how mobile technology can make content more engaging, increase interaction, and allow for social media integration. Some of the group’s past events include “speed dating with apps” where faculty got to play with new mobile applications that enhance the learning experience, an “apps challenge” that identified particular applications to help with difficult teaching topics, and an “apps for learning expo,” where Stern students, alumni and EdTech professionals showcased mobile applications for the classroom.

CITL also hosts a series of workshops each semester and work with faculty one-on-one. For more information, visit the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning’s website. CITL welcomes all members of the NYU community to join them in the workshops.