Monday, March 22, 2010

iPods in Class?

I am extremely excited about using the iPod Touch in class. I think they can be an incredible learning tool to all students in all subject areas. I see iPods as a way to bring the outside world into our classes at a very reasonable price. I have been trying to convince my school and district of the value of these devices, but as of yet I haven't had much luck. I managed to get a couple of iPod Touches from Apple on loan for a period of one month. I'm hoping that in that month I can show students, teachers, administrators and parents the value of mobile devices in the classroom.The best thing about these devices is that we don't have to buy an entire class set. Many students are coming to class with this technology. Let's provide some to the students that don't have access and put the ones that are already in students' pockets to good use.

I have two routes that I am going to pursue.

a) In my low-end math class we've used water conservation as a context for the math that we've studied in this unit. I've decided that I'm going to assess the unit by having students produce a public service announcement (PSA) in either audio or video format. The PSA will have to contain some mathematics to show that they have understood the content. Students creating audio PSAs will use the iPods to do it while students doing the video PSAs will use video cameras. I know that I could book a computer lab to do this but it seems like such a waste given that the different groups will be at different stages at different times.

b) I teach in a province that has a province-wide literacy test for all grade 10 students. I will prepare audio/video tutorials that can be loaded onto the iPods to help students prepare for the test. The students can use this material as they prepare for the test. They can pause it, rewind it (do you still call it rewinding on an MP3 player?) or listen to it again. The iPods can then be handed out to students who need some remediation. I think that the real bonus here is that the delivery method will be engaging.

If you have any other ideas about how to use iPods in a classroom please feel free to share.

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