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Taking it to the Top: From AppCentric Lessons to True Cognitive Engagement

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Sunday, November 29, 9:15–10:00 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Jessica Herring  
Dr. Michael Mills  

Apps usually become the focus of technology use in classroom learning, but in this session, you'll learn how to take what might start as app-centric lessons and take them to a higher level of authentic, contextual learning and cognitive engagement.

Audience: Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Topic: Instructional design & delivery
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use collaborative tools to expand students' authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation, Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

While mobile technology has the power to help teachers transform the classroom, the result is often a classroom lesson that looks more like an activity without opportunities for authentic learning. Engagement is critical, and mobile apps give teachers the tools to get students out of their seats. However, what real learning is happening? Does the engagement lead to academic achievement? How can we complement these activities with UDL strategies? In this session, participants will learn how to take what might start as app-centric lessons and take them to a higher level of cognitive engagement.


Participants will be learn how app-centric lessons tend to minimize deeper learning by focusing more on what the technology can do rather than on how learners can demonstrate authentic and contextual understanding of concepts and then reflect and connect what they have learned to their own lives and the global community. Participants will be guided through a series of lessons enhanced through mobile apps and shown how to take what might be a superficial app-centric lesson (however engaging it might be) and transform the lesson into a deeper, more immersive learning experience that challenges students to master learning objectives in creative and compelling ways.

Brief Intro & Purpose of Session - 5 minutes
What Does It Mean to Take It To the Top? Exploring the Triple E Model - 15 minutes
Showcase of activities that move beyond simple app usage to deeper/student—directed learning (along with UDL implementation tips to complement these activities) - 65 minutes
Formal Q&A and Final Thoughts - 5 minutes

Supporting research

Ciampa, K. (2014). Learning in a mobile age: an investigation of student motivation. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(1), 82-96.
Franklin, T. (2011). Mobile learning: At the tipping point. Turkish Online Journal Of Educational Technology-TOJET, 10(4), 261-275.
Kolb, L. (2017). Learning First, Technology Second. Arlington: ISTE.
Leinonen, T., Keune, A., Veermans, M., & Toikkanen, T. (2016). Mobile apps for reflection in learning: A design research in K‐12 education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(1), 184-202.
Rossing, J. P., Miller, W., Cecil, A. K., & Stamper, S. E. (2012). iLearning: The future of higher education? Student perceptions on learning with mobile tablets.

More [+]


Jessica Herring, University of Central Arkansas
ISTE Certified Educator
Dr. Michael Mills, University of Central Arkansas

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