Using the iPod Touch in the classroom

I tweeted:

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Here are the responses I got. Thanks, Twitter network!

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14 Responses to “Using the iPod Touch in the classroom”

  1. I’m interested in following this discussion, as well. I’ve been an iPhone user for more than a year and I can’t find enough compelling ways to use a Touch in the classroom that would warrant the price tag.

    There’s a decent discussion going on at Gifted Ed. 2.0 about this, too.
    http://giftededucation.ning.com/

  2. I use my touch frequently around school. It can be used as a remote control for my computer via Jaadu and the Apple remote program. I live in iCal, FileMagnet, Mail and Safari. The crazy thing is I am a music teacher and I would say I spend most of my time using it for everything but music.

    The only downside that I see is the lack of Flash support.

    I haven’t tried to get a classroom set for the kids to get their hands on them yet, but I could see where the will be very useful for that in a couple of generations. Flash support would be my cue to look into this. One should be able to run simulations (Flash) to make this really useful for a classroom.

  3. Agreed, Russ. My school purchased a set of Touches for teachers to pilot with the idea that a mobile lab for students could be in the future.

    Yes, I can download a free graphing calculator app, but what good is a $250 graphing calculator? I think more apps would need to be developed before it’s feasible. Typing is also an issue. With the rise of netbooks (and their falling prices), it seems like the Touches may soon find themselves out of this market, in my opinion.

  4. Hi Scott

    This was a very interesting post. not because of the subject, but rather because of your twitter network. I recently started a twitter account and have started following several ed tech gurus, like yourself. The strange thing is that i only have one person that has followed me back. That person is Kevin Rose.

    How can twitter be used by educators as a PLN or resource if they cannot find others to follow them? What if i am the only teacher in my school that even knows what twitter is, trying to demonstrate it’s effectiveness with only one follower does not make an impact.

    Without being a speaker or having a great blog, how do you create a great twitter network? Can you tweet that?

    Thanks for the blog.

    Warren

  5. I teach high school English and I got a touch as part of a teaching grant. I use it in class for a number of different things. I use the touch as a sort of “small computer” where I play “books on tape,” use a flash card apps, and show picture slide shows where the students have to analyze the commonalities and develop a theory. I generally use it in group/station type activities in conjunction with a headphone bank so that multiple students can listen at once. The i-Pod is one station and the students rotate every so often.

    The best part has been how I’ve integrated I-tunes into my teaching–The Scarlet Letter on a digital file was a big hit. We also have the ability to connect the touch to my projector, but that’s not necessary since my computer is already hooked up that way.

    It would be even better if our school had (or allowed) a wireless connection, then I could use it as a sort of research station (gee, I don’t know that answer, how about today’s class researcher look it up . . .) alas . . .

  6. Scott,

    This question seems a bit technocentric. Isn’t it really a solution in search of a problem?

    For a bit more than the cost of an iPod Touch, kids could have a real personal laptop capable of being used to construct knowledge and explore intellectual domains otherwise off-limits to them.

    Seeking funding for gadgets makes it more difficult to get the funds needed to really empower kids.

  7. Gary is right about the cost and what you can buy with the money. There are laptops that can be had for less than the 32 gig Touch.

    On the other hand, solving problems with what’s in your pocket does sound like an interesting learning situation to me. But then, I used to fantasize about be dropped into a survival situation with just a pocket knife.

    It’s kind of like how the Mac/PC argument used to get settled. Does it run the applications you need? Will you have it with you when you need it?

  8. Maybe the answer is finding a way to incorporate whatever technology the students already have. Going to be challenging, no doubt, but if you are looking for something that is cost effective for both the students and the school, it makes more sense to work toward utilizing what you have, when possible, than to purchase the iTouch and only have a handful of uses in the classroom. I love the idea of portable devices and personally feel that netbooks are better investment for the schools and the students.

  9. I attempted to use the iPod touch in the classroom a while after it first came out. At the time, it wasn’t ready. (See http://tannervision.blogspot.com/2007/11/ipod-touch-as-student-computer.html for my summary of the limitations.)
    Since then, several teachers have made good use out of iPod touches as centers in an elementary classroom. It seems to be effective for them, though it wasn’t at all what I was initially interested in. I agree with Bri Brewer that the better approach is to find ways to incorporate whatever technology students bring. Some have iPod touches, but most have cell phones.

    Once we can get past the compulsion to ban such devices, we can be deliberate about using them instructionally. See http://tannervision.blogspot.com/2009/02/everyone-take-out-your-cell-phones-for.html for suggested policy steps to take to effectively use cell phones and other such devices.

  10. Adults see cost and then think that they could have a laptop for that same amount of money. Kids see the iTouch (and other similar handhelds) as a more convenient “laptop” without all the bulk.

    If I need to sit down and hammer out a 25 page paper, I want a laptop. If I want to look up an answer on a webpage, download a small application that will enhance my learning, view a map, listen to a podcast or music, play the piano/guitar/drums electronically AND record my composition, play a learning game… you name it: I want a handheld device. WHY? A few quick answers in no particular order:
    1. Battery life is better, lasts longer long-term, and charges more quickly.
    2. More options for applications than on laptops… OS is not as big an obstacle as laptop OS.
    3. iTouch vs. iPhone- removes the “should students have access to cell phones in school” debate. No calls coming in or out, but many of the same apps available.
    4. Storage for classroom sets of handhelds is a cinch, compared to laptops.
    5. Collaboration with these tools is more easily facilitated than trying to organize a bunch of kids with laptops, especially where space is an issue. Plus, laptops are heavy for smaller kids.
    6. Handhelds are more kid-friendly where accidents are concerned. If I drop my iTouch, chances are it’s not going to break. I can buy a cheap protective ‘case’ for it that still allows me to see and touch the screen. If I drop my laptop, there goes $800. I can’t use my laptop when it’s in its protective case.

    I’m sure there are concerns with smaller devices, such as the fact they’re easier to steal; but I think the benefits/positives far outweigh the negatives.

  11. I should probably have mentioned this as well– I use laptops, both Mac and Win. I have a Blackberry. I have an iTouch. When I am working, I am usually on my laptop. When I am LEARNING, I’m almost always on my iTouch.

  12. Interesting comment, Michelle- you work on your laptop but LEARN on your handheld. Could you expand? Do you think it’s because your handheld is mobile, so you can learn things anytime, anywhere?

  13. Hi – I am not sure about the school but, in our area schools doesnt even allow cell phone.

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