ENG 120-325 Works of Literature - Higl

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About This Article

This article describes how mobile computing, specifically tablets, was piloted in Prof. Andrew Higl's ENG 120/325 Works of Literature to transform teaching and learning.

Intended Audience

WSU instructors interested in past faculty experience with tablet devices in the classroom.

Summer 2013 iPad Pilot

Students in this course had access to an iPad tablet to use throughout the summer semester along with several apps selected by Dr. Higl for use in class and in the field.

How the iPads are Used in ENG 120/325

The iPads were used on a travel study to Italy. While traveling through Italy, the students used applications to explore particular historical sites and learn more about works of art. For instance, in the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous art museums in the world, students used a special Uffizi app to “take apart” a selection of the most famous works. Students could stand in front of the painting, and use the app to learn about the various layers of the work. Also, students used the apps for 3D guides to Florence, offering them a unique way to revisualize the city. The iPads served as audio devices, so we could listen to audio guides to particular historical sites. The best part of the iPads was just how much students could use them in the field on this trip.

The best part of the whole project was how multimodal it all was. Students used audio guides as virtual tour guides (often an extra expense at most museums and historical sites); they could explore and revisualize some of the most famous cultural artifacts of Italy; they could then use the iPad to photograph the object themselves; finally, they used the iPads to share their experiences through their own Wordpress blogs chronically the trip.

The major objectives for this pilot included:

  • Take advantage of portability. Professor Higl wanted students to take advantage of the iPads' portability, so they could easily bring the device with them to the historical sites.
  • Revisualize and explore. Particular apps were very effective at showing the students the things they were experiencing in new ways. Maps also helped them find their way around.
  • Use audio guides. When one goes to museum, one may usually buy an audio guide to use as they explore. Often, device rental is not very cheap. We used the iPads instead, and we had far more options and guides available to us using the iPads in this way.
  • Immerse in the language and culture. Language apps and food guides helped students have a more meaningful experience with the people and culture of Italy.
  • Record and Share Experience. iPads were used to take picture and narrate experience on Wordpress blogs.


Changes in the classroom

  • Students used the apps to explore independently, research for presentations, and familiarize themselves with the history, geography, and culture of Florence and the other Italian cities we visited.
  • Students were thrilled to use them and found the applications very useful in making their experiences more informative and meaningful. Students were particularly excited by the apps that allowed for revisualization and imagination of famous works of art by artists such as Michelangelo and Botticelli.


  • Professor Higl recommends using tablets in the field like was done in Italy. The iPads' portability and usefulness to provide depth of experience and knowledge really proved invaluable to the travel study.
  • Explore new apps or alternative apps to ensure students are able to use their tablets to learn more about the cultural artifacts and works of art that interest them the most.

iPad Applications Employed in ENG 120/325

Professor Higl used the following applications in his ENG 120/325 iPad pilot:

  • Accademia Gallery
  • Busuu
  • Dante’s Inferno Illustrated by Botticelli
  • Eat Florence
  • Firenze Virtual History
  • Florence City Walk
  • GiraCitta
  • Google Maps
  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Siena City Walk
  • Uffizi
  • WordPress

Additionally, the Camera application and podcasts from Rick Steves' Audio Euraope Guides were used by the students.

Descriptions, pricing, and links to iTunes for each of these applications is available on the iPad Pilot Applications page.

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