EDU Mobile!

Using mobile apps like Slack, WordPress, Instagram & Snapchat to reinvent university general education for the 21st century

and Periscope… and Meerkat… and Blab…

Photo of Stephanie Mejia, Diana Martinez, Anna Joy Floresca, C-Dawg & Allison Wendell riding in a car on their way to a Graffiti Writing Activity at the Venice Beach Legal Art Walls

Stephanie Mejia, Diana Martinez, Anna Joy Floresca, C-Dawg & Allison Wendell, “The Homies,” Art110, Fall ’14

Mobility & Modern Web Conference
Wed 16 Sept 15 • 4:15 – 5pm
Upstairs Room • Track 1 • Mobile Strategy

• Talk at


In many ways our 21st century university classrooms are indistinguishable from classrooms of the 19th century. Marshall McLuhan noted the disparity between the ubiquity of information & rich media everywhere outside the classroom and the paucity of it inside the classroom 40 years ago. Since his observation the disparity has only grown worse. An iPhone 5 is 1,000 times faster and has 15 million times more memory than the Apollo Guidance Computer that landed humans on the moon, yet our educational system was designed a century before that moon landing.

In a world where Google can find any journal article, Wikipedia can explain any concept, and YouTube can teach any skill, what is the role of a modern educator? By siting instruction on accessible, agile environments students today are familiar with I believe we can leverage the skills and aptitude students have today, in the service of developing the knowledge and abilities that will serve their careers tomorrow.

Speakers presenting to an audience in a conference room at UCLA

MMWCON ’15, Mobile Strategy Track. Paul Schantz speaking before me.

Small Epiphanies

5 small epiphanies that set the stage for my increasing move to mobile in the classroom

It doesn't behoove an emerging generation to placate the world view of those who came before them.
-- Hennessy Youngman, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2011
  • UCLA Art History Professor
  • CSULB Art History Essay
  • CSULB University Library 1st Floor: 2005 – Books • 2015 – Starbucks, Computer Lab, and no books.
  • LGBTQIA Priest > Nike & Chipotle lead, not church

As Educators, are we leading? Or following?

What is Education in 2015?

Gen X & Baby Boom faculty teaching Millennial students.

What’s different between Baby Boom, Gen X and Millennial experiences, expectations & values?

  • Colonialism
  • Language
  • Mobile

Lets Prototype a Mobile App for EDU!

  • Groups of 3(ish)
  • 5 minutes

Things that are dead

Here are a few things that I think are dead:

  • PDF
  • PowerPoint
  • Player Piano Rolls
  • Writing in PageMaker, LaserPrinting it, waxing it down & photo-mechanically reproducing it

So, what’s alive?

Course Platforms

  • iClicker 2005 – 2014 (on & off)
  • LMS: Blackboard & Desire to Learn 2005-2015 (used sparingly)
  • The Big Wiki – 2006 – 2011
  • Facebook Groups – 2011 – 2012
  • Individual Blogs – 2012 – 2015
  • Tout – 2013
  • Google Hangouts – 2014
  • Slack – 2015
  • ePortfolios – 2014 – 2015

Activity Platforms

  • WordPress
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Periscope

The Moving Mobile / Online Target:

  • 5 years ago my students loved Facebook
  • 2-3 years ago they loved Instagram
  • Today they hate Facebook, like Instagram, and love Snapchat

Facebook = Boring (Context Collapse), Instagram = Sacred (Manufacturing Identity), Snapchat = Fun (Casual w Friends)

Like fashion or being the cool dance club of the moment, perhaps the cool platform will continue to evolve. What we see is that all of these platforms, besides being owned by, or had acquisition attempts by Facebook, are platforms that engage Millennials in the media of their time.

Course Formats

  • F2F
  • 100% Online
  • Hybrid or Flipped

Students do want interaction with peers and F2F access to faculty. Many report that they are less engaged by lecture format experiences.

Slack (Android, iOS, Win, Mac)

Here are a few screen caps from Slack Mobile

Screen cap from Slack Mobile Screen cap from Slack Mobile Screen cap from Slack Mobile Screen cap from Slack Mobile Screen cap from Slack Mobile Screen cap from Slack Mobile

Periscope (Android, iOS)

  • Lectures, Identity Projects, Bree Snow
  • Demonstrations, Travelogues, Lifecasting, Pass the ‘Scope
Screen cap of a Periscope broadcast Screen cap of Periscope Broadcast Screen cap of Periscope Broadcast

Blab (iOS, Win, Mac)

Worked great from my home studio, but had more issues than Periscope on “Beachnet+” our campus WiFi network.

Screen cap of a Blab broadcast in a Chrome browser window.

A successful Blab broadcast from my home studio

Instagram (Android, iOS)

Class Activity documenting a day in the life of 127 CSULB Art110 students. “Group Portrait” aggregated via Instagram hashtag #art110f15

Screen cap of index of Instagram hashtag Art110f15 Screen cap of index of Instagram hashtag Art110f15 Screen cap of index of Instagram hashtag Art110f15

Snapchat (Android, iOS)

Honestly, I was a little lost for a way to document an Art Activity with an Ephemeral Messaging platform. So I made the Activity for my students to design Snapchat Activities.

screencap from Snapchat screencap from Snapchat screencap from Snapchat

A few student ideas:

  • Janet Cardiff-like mini-tours
  • Snap every hour of a day and “chronologize” them with classmates Snaps
  • Pass-the-snap – take inspiration from classmates Snaps
  • Snap your street view and paint over it
  • Partner snapping, take a day-in-the-life of a classmate and write a story about it

Written by Glenn Zucman

BA, Psychology, University of Hawaii, MFA, Intermedia Art, Long Beach State. Host of American Public Media's "Border Patrol." Host of KBeach Radio's "Strange Angels." Interested in Identity Art that explores our Oracle-at-Delphi-like straddling of corporeal and virtual realms in our new media century. Civil rights in online space. 10 years...
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1 Comment | Sara & Marta

[…] couldn’t drive onto my street, but I was allowed to park my car 2 blocks away and walk home. My talk at MMWCON (Mobility & Modern Web Conference) at UCLA later in the day would manage to happen after all. […]


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