Friday, August 3, 2007

Yes, You Should iPods in Your Classroom

Like all things technology, the market king known as the iPod is, and should be, making its way into your classroom. Not so that you can download the latest Crash Test Dummies remake of "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm", but to increase student achievement in reading and writing, as well as assisting those students with IEPs.
We all know that iPods are used to listen to audio (ground breaking, I week we'll talk about how the sun rises in the east...stay tuned). How that translates to the classroom is simple. For many years there has been a push to create a more "comfortable" atmosphere in a classroom, including but not limited to playing "soothing" music. Like all things in education, it doesn't work well for all kids. So why not utilize headphones? Do you need an iPod for that? Of course not. But it could be simultaneously used as motivation to write more. "You know, that's a pretty bad writing piece. Do you think it's because the iPod distracted you?"
Apple released a story about 18 months ago about a school in Iowa that made audio recordings of their assessments and had their SPED students listen to that instead of being pulled out of the classroom. Trying it in my own classroom, I found the regular ed students became jealous of the SPED students. SPED students met or exceeded their previous test scores, without having the sometimes-persuasive teacher or para assisting them.
Another common use for the iPod is recording fluency passages. There are a number of different microphone adapters that have been made by third party companies that will allow you to record onto the iPod (search the Apple Store for more information). This also comes in handy if you are doing writing revisions. Students can read their passage into the iPod and revise as they listen to themselves.
In science, which would you rather do? Record observations on a piece of paper or into an iPod? You're more like your students then you thought, huh?
As the iPods become more popular, more uses are being discovered. You can search on the Apple Learning Interchange for more information and ideas.
Also, Apple put out a pdf "white paper" last year with the benefits of using iPods. I used much of the research during presentations.

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