On Teaching Fashion: Smart Phones in the Classroom

I was 25 when I first started teaching fashion.  Leading a college course at such a young age comes with pros and cons.  It can be frustrating when everyone pegs you as a student, and not the instructor.  However, being close to many of my students in age gave me insights on using technology in the classroom.

Image courtesy of the Associated Press.


I quickly noticed that smart phones were a major point of contention in higher education.  Many other instructors were adamant about not using phones in the classroom.  They took the stance that students were distracted, and either zoning out on Facebook or stealthily cheating on an assignment.  While these scenarios undoubtedly take place, I felt differently about utilizing phones in my classroom.

I have an iPhone, and use it very frequently.  From setting appointments, to blogging, to paying bills, my phone is like a personal assistant.  It’s the way I organize my life and keep track of things I want to accomplish.  Most of my students use their smart phones in this same way.  They would photograph parts of my demonstrations as a reference for their homework.  When an assignment was given, many of them would program it into their virtual calendar and set reminders.  At first glance, it may have seemed I had lost my students to cyberspace.  But in reality, they were using their phones responsibly to record the content for my course.


Image courtesy of hstreet.blogspot.com


I decided to embrace smart phones in my classroom, and curated a list of helpful apps that I encourage students to download.  Here are my recommendations, all of which are FREE:

1) Boopsie for Libraries: This app is much like WorldCat.  It allows you to search catalogs for libraries across the country

2) Dictionary: Dictionary.com offers an amazing app that lets you access it’s resources OFFLINE.  Download once and done.

3) Typefaces: Typefaces is a font viewer for iPhone and iPad. This application shows you all the fonts in your device and all the glyphs included in those fonts.  This is particularly a great app for assignments when students have to create a brand identity.

4) Evernote:  Evernote can be accessed on the web, and allows you to take notes, capture photos, record voice reminders, and make lists – then stores them in one place.  You can access the information at home or on the go, making it easy to stay organized and improve productivity.

5) Fotopedia Heritage: This app was created in cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and compiles hundreds of high resolution photos from every corner of the globe. Bookmark favorite images, filter pictures by region or tag, or shuffle the entire collection of photos. If cultural heritage isn’t your thing Fotopedia also has apps for other locations.

6) Chicfeed: Pulls photos from some of the Internet’s most respected style blogs, including The Sartorialist.  Lots of great fashion images in one place.

7) Selvedge: Yes, Selvedge magazine has an app that offers exclusive information on textiles.  It features selected pages from the magazine, as well as unpublished content.

8) Pintrest:  I’ve posted about the merits of pintrest.  Now it’s available for smart phones.  Could it get any better?

9) Ruler: Sometimes, a quick measurement is required.  But what do you do when you’ve left your ruler at home?  Now you can just download one.  Keep in mind, it is only good for small measurements.

10) Befunky: This app lets you edit photos you’ve taken on your phone.  You can crop, adjust exposure, and so much more.


The best part of utilizing smart phones for teaching is that learning continues outside of the classroom.  Give it a try!


Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Monthly Archive


Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.