Many techies can only dream of a job working on product development for Apple, Inc . But starting next fall, some University of Minnesota students will get to do the next best thing.
A new application building class will allow graduate students the opportunity to try their hand at designing content programs for smart devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch and the newly-released iPad.
The course will be taught by Charles Miller, assistant professor of learning technologies, and will be offered through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction next fall semester. Students will mainly be building education-based apps to be used as teaching tools, but content may vary to allow more creativity and experimentation.
Miller said using technologies like the iPod Touch in the classroom are motivating for students because they capture their interest.
But regardless of the technology, Miller said it all comes down to how professors use it.
“We have to find ways to implement technology in meaningful ways that enhance learning,” Miller said.
The University of Minnesota is among the first to offer a course of its kind, with other iPhone development courses already being offered at Stanford , MIT and the University of Washington , Miller said.
Randy Baum , a second-year ESL Chinese grad student in the curriculum instruction department said he has used various apps and said they can be a useful tool in the classroom for those who know how to use them.
“For the experienced leader, I think it’d be useful,” he said.
Baum currently uses an app that helps his students write Chinese characters and said he would like to see one capable of evaluating foreign language pronunciation.
“If you have an idea for an app, it’d be good to know how to make one,” Andy Howard, second-year ESL Spanish grad student, said.
The class will be limited to 40 students and preference will be given to learning technology graduate students. Miller said he hopes to offer a similar course next spring semester.
“The future of app design and online learning represents an exciting opportunity,” Miller said. “I want to make sure that Learning Technologies and the University of Minnesota is playing a major role.”
Miller has not yet talked to Apple about any possible partnership, but said he wants the students to be involved in the process when it is discussed.
UMN students have traveled to Florida colleges to collaborate with students on various projects.
When UMN students plan for a vacation, having trip cancellation travel insurance is a worthwhile commodity to check out.
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