“Yeah, There’s an App for That”: Using Mobile Applications in Public Speaking Instruction

“Yeah, There’s an App for That”: Using Mobile Applications in Public Speaking Instruction

Matthew H. Barton (Southern Utah University, USA) and Kevin A. Stein (Southern Utah University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4482-3.ch003


To help students: 1) learn to use mobile applications as the basis for speech topic selection; 2) identify new outlets for using technology to acquire information and solve problems; 3) learn to use cloud based information management tools to identify and organize research; 4) explore public speaking tools that can improve presentation and delivery skills.
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Instructors should work through the process before presenting it to students to improve clarity in explanation and confidence in execution.

  • 1.

    Students are asked to find a speech topic for their first presentation that would interest class members or college students generally. This topic must be about a specific app (or group of apps). Students are encouraged to explore (e.g., play with) these apps and then write a list of at least three compelling reasons why other people might want to know about such an app. Reasons may include saving money, making schedules more efficient, etc.

  • 2.

    Students are required to not only talk about their chosen app in the following class session, but to demonstrate it. The goal is to show as many apps as possible, thereby generating ideas for topic selection. The instructor should include a brief discussion about criteria for assessing how this app might fit (or be shaped to fit) the speech criteria. For instance, how does this app impact the way people live on a daily basis?

  • 3.

    Students are then given an assignment for the next class – identify three electronic sources that appear to be credible, setting the stage for a discussion of source credibility. Students are also required to save these sources in Diigo, a cloud based storage format. There is a free plan that provides sufficient options for students to learn about and fully utilize the cloud. Once students have watched the brief tutorial and established an account, students are required to show how they have “marked up” the text/source using highlighting or sticky note features. Instructors may designate a time period for completing this task and provide proof (e.g. screenshots) that they grasp the procedure. Once the instructor is satisfied that students understand the basics, then they are required to submit a topic for formal approval. If the preceding steps are done correctly, students will not only have a topic already identified, they will have increased confidence in knowing their subject is relevant and interesting to their peers. The process can be repeated for each speech assignment, providing a tremendous variety of ideas that are tangible and much easier to visualize.

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