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2010-2011 Banded Peak - Ipod Touch Advantage

We continue to seek ways to support a 21st Century learning culture and to find ways to help all students succeed as 21st Century learners. We want to ensure that students accessing specialized programming experience success in their learning journeys. ~ Banded Peak School

Key Understandings
All students can access learning. All students can be engaged and excited about their work as learners in our school. All students can become expert learners who know how to learn, who want to learn and who are prepared for a lifetime of learning.

Essential Questions

  • How do we remove the barriers to learning that some of our middle school learners face, particularly those with special needs (reading/writing inabilities, enrichment needs, attention difficulties, disengagement challenges, etc)?
  • How do we help these students see the possibilities that exist in our world today for overcoming their own learning challenges and allowing them to participate in the excitement of learning?
  • How do we empower our students to believe in themselves as learners, and then to become advocates for themselves in their school learning and in their lives, indeed to become self-directed learners?


The Plan
We would like to purchase 6 iPod Touches for our Resource Room as a supplemental digital resource for students. Our target group is our middle school students, particularly those who encounter challenges in learning – those with reading or writing disabilities, attention difficulties or engagement issues.

The iPod Touch is a valuable tool, a device that many students are familiar with and use daily. It is highly portable, fairly cost effective and allows access to an astounding variety of learning tools. It can be used as a recording device for project work, notetaking, exam responses. Accessing audio exams, textbooks and internet research becomes more straightforward and independently accessed. The iPod Touch provides interface capabilities, offering the prospect of online interaction with other students. The new iPod Touch has built in recording capabilities and video recording options, negating - or supplementing - the necessity for additional devices to record sound or visuals. However, I would also like to purchase 6 Thumbtacks – mini microphones that plug into iPod headphone port - so that students may make use of the recording strategies they are learning with their own MP3 devices – being able to use their own device to submit exam responses or create their own oral project work. And, of course, the iPod Touch provides access to a plethora of online resources for learning. There are many educational apps available, many of them very inexpensive or free. Initial App exploration for this purpose has shown me a number of tools that I consider worth exploring – TimesBy (math practice), iBlueSky (mind mapping tool), ReelDirector (planning movie projects), various tools for engaging learners in skills practice, Dragon Dictation (speech to text), just to name a few.

Budget
6 iPod Touch devices (4th Gen, 8gb) $1,494.00
6 Thumbtacks 90.00
1 USB hub (ie: Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 7-Port) 35.00
                                                                                                Total Cost $1,619.00

This tool can provide multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement. This will be a learning experience for us all. I am very excited to be able to further explore the Assistive Technology world along this path. All of us at Banded Peak who work directly with middle school students who have specific learning challenges will participate in this learning curve. I will talk and visit with others in the division who have more knowledge and experience in using this tool. I will share whatever we learn with those on similar explorations. It is my hope that sharing this tool with our students – particularly those who encounter challenges in their learning – can help them see the possibilities ahead and help to prepare them for a lifetime of learning.


Submitted by:

Marla Mulloy
Resource Teacher
Banded Peak School

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