Creative Chaos: Mobile App Development at UMD

In my first year at UMD I started a Mobile Languages Learning Group with some of my colleagues. A series of grants allowed us to purchase a fleet of 40 iPads for use in the language and culture classrooms with which we have sought to comprehend and articulate the challenges and opportunities that mobile computing presents for language learning. At the same time, we have begun developing our own applications across various platforms, in part to better understand the potential of mobile platforms and in part as a consequence of our broader interest in the intersection between digital technology and the humanities.

My work with the OIT-FFP represents the realization of this desire to explore mobile technologies and language learning. I am leading two app-development teams and consulting on two others: a pronunciation app, an interactive textbook, a grammar guide, and a study abroad app. The result of these projects has been a deeper engagement with student outcomes, more involvement from students, and new direction in my research. The organic nature of this endeavor has given rise to a growing Community of Practice on the UMD campus made up of people from various disciplines, who are invested in the questions posed around Mobile Learning.