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2010-2011 Banded Peak - iPod Touch Advantage Findings

We have had six iPod touches in our Resource Room this year. Our iPod project has been a great success and, at the same time, fallen far short of its potential. As we share our project in the course of this podcast, I will let some of our students tell you about how they have experienced the iPod Touch advantage in their learning this year.

We had the iPods available in the Resource Room. They were color coded and numbered, largely managed through myself, the Resource Teacher. Assistants had access to and used them in the Resource Room. A couple of grade 7/8 students had access whenever they needed them to use for note taking. As we had only six, it was easy to keep them charged and update them regularly.

There are plenty and various Apps available for learning and skills practice. We loaded a number of them on all six iPods. Dragon Dictation, Dropbox, Good Reader and Speak it! are essential tools for middle school use. We found that Dragon Dictation was a pretty good auditory spell check, as well. The video and photo capabilities can be well used by students for supplementing projects.

We found the translator and language practice was fun and helpful during Spanish option class.

Our grade 3/4 classes held an evening event for parents. They celebrated their learning with, among other things, an artist’s walk where parents could view their projects exploring famous artists. During the walk, parents could listen to the students discuss their learning and knowledge about each artist, using the iPods.

The possibilities that we did NOT explore fully or freely are numerous. This forms the basis for next years steps. We would like to use the iPods for podcast sharing for study, particularly to access online podcasts for teaching and review. Student generated podcasts, done for a previous project, can be used to reinforce concepts for students who need more repetition and review.

We hope to use iPods as study helpers, generating vocabulary practice through flashcard programs, allowing students to put their own notes into listening form for study and having classroom notes available as text files or audio files.

I would like to load selected ebooks onto the iPod for specific students to have access to literature for class projects and novel studies. At the beginning of the year we will download ebooks that correspond to grade 5/6 and 7/8 novel studies planned for the year.

We will continue to use the iPods for skills practice or literacy/numeracy learning.

I want to point out some of MY barriers to learning about iPod use in the classroom:

a) It takes time to learn about every new tool. Even Dropbox, simple and friendly as it is, took a number of conversations for me to understand and use effectively. I’m almost there.
b) Sharing with staff and parents was not strong this year and will also form part of next years journey.

Recommendations:

1. Set aside time every week to play, learn, try out and explore the possibilities so that your own learning curve is attended to and valued. This is not wasted time.
2. Give them to students and let them help you learn. They will use them in ways you hadn’t thought of.
3. Identify student leaders who can teach other students.
4. Share the project with parents at a Parent Council meeting.
5. Involve colleagues in your journey. Have a committee, or just a couple of staff members who share your interest, and talk regularly about potential uses, issues and plans.
6. Get hooked into various discussion groups on the web (a list is attached). These can be so useful in feeding your own learning. They can also be a waste of time and contribute to the general felling of overwhelm, so browse carefully and don’t overestimate your time and your needs.

Resource Sites:

Submitted by Marla Mulloy June 15, 2011

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