I love having a few iPods in my classroom. I love even more that I have a partner that is an excellent sharer and allows me to use her classroom iPods whenever I need them!
Of course everyone knows how much of a ‘plaything’ they can be, we have managed to find more than a few educational uses.
1. Research – I like to hand out an iPod to a table of researchers after they have had a few minutes with a traditional source. For example, we studied the Turn of the Century this year. They had a few printed pages from an online encyclopedia as well as the social studies text and a few nonfiction books to be shared among the groups conducting research. After they were engaged in their activity I walked around and placed an iPod on each table. I simply said this maybe helpful as you are learning about the people and their important contributions. It seems to work that the iPod is not viewed as toy once they have been working for a period of time. We talk extensively about using out school search engine to find creditable and reliable information. I always have an iPod ready to hand out when students are asking questions. Figuring out how to find the correct information is the ultimate learning!
2. Assessment - Socrative.com – This is by far the best use of the classroom iPods I have found. This site allows me to load a test and have the students take the test on a computer, phone, iPod, or iPad. I am able to see the results as they are happening. There is an option for multiple choice, short answer, or true/false. Teachers can share test and all results are quickly downloaded to your computer for timely feedback. My fellow reading teachers and I have used this for weekly vocabulary and end of unit social studies tests.
3. Blogging & Reading - Kidblog.org and Edmodo.com – Using the iPods for work on blogs and various assignments posted on Edmodo has worked well. I am blessed to have 6 computers in my room that are functional and busy – the iPods and iPad are faster, portable, and fun. They are so easy for the kids to manage and maneuver. It is amazing how they can type an entire blog, read an article, and reflect on questions and comments from anywhere they are comfortable working.
4. Test Practice - Studyisland.com – This is a CRCT prep program that tends not to be the favorite activity on the computer. But if you tell a student that they can login using an iPod, iPad, or iPhone, you will have much more participation.
Since all of the things listed above require that the students have a tangible piece of written work or response of some type, I am very aware when they are off task. I have not loaded my iPods up with many applications this first year. Most of my effort has been on using them as a tool toward a paperless classroom. They have also been great tools for gaining knowledge and teaching an already proficiently technical group how to correctly and safely research and learn.