After attending the December 5 iPad Project meeting, I was intrigued by the Simple Minds mind mapping app demonstrated by a colleague from the education program. Many developmental writers have trouble organizing their writing and are reluctant to engage in prewriting activities. I had already introduced concepts maps earlier in the semester, but as so many students are visual learners, I thought this app might make the process more engaging. I demonstrated the app in class, modeling its use as a prewriting activity for a departmental exit test sample essay. Several students immediately downloaded the app to their phones and began using it to prepare for their assigned sample essay. Others explored the app at home; some even printed their mind map to submit for credit with their essays. I think the ease with which topics can be moved and reorganized makes this an effective strategy for students. Next semester, I plan to introduce Simple Minds much earlier in the semester. I hope that students will use it not only as a prewriting strategy but also as a note-taking tool.
I have subscribed to audible.com and downloaded their app. Audible provides professionally narrated renditions of many books of various genres. I plan to use the app in conjunction with the novel my EBS 011 students will be reading. I hope to use the audio the introduce the novel in a high-interest way. If this is successful, I will consider using the audio throughout the semester to highlight interesting or important passages. In addition to engaging students, this activity will provide students with a model for pronunciation, tone, inflection, and pacing.