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iPods good for the classroom? Yes! Check out how!

Most middle schools and high schools have strict policies regarding cell phone or mp3 usage on campus during instructional time.  Where I teach, for example, there's a policy where cell phones must be turned off during class time and iPods and other mp3 players aren't even supposed to be allowed on campus.

Recently, a friend called to ask my opinion about his son's 7th grade teacher allowing her students to listen to their personal iPods during independent work time in class.  My knee-jerk reaction to this was not just no, but "HECK NO"!  How can adolescents fully concentrate on their tasks with Lil Wayne bumpin' in their ears?!

Afterward, though, I wondered if there was a crafty way to tap into the pervasive desire for students to be connected to their mp3 players that could actually enhance instruction.  I did some investigating and found out some really cool ways to incorporate iPods and cell phones into instruction!  Here are a couple of ideas that you can implement right away...

Audio field trip (GREAT For ELL students)

An ELD teacher at my site had a great idea: why not use iPods as a personal tour guide for students when providing contextual background information on American History or other subjects.

Using a very inexpensive voice recorder attachment to the iPod (I've seen them for $30-ish), teachers can preview text and content for ELL students and introduce vocabulary through context.  The idea is to take a selection of photographs or images (easily searched and downloaded on the net) and narrate a sort of "museum tour" and save onto iTunes for students to download to their mp3 players.  The narration provides much needed modeling of language connected to historical context unfamiliar with many/most second language learners.  What a great method to creating anchors for future learning!

Podcasting for absent students

I look forward to finally starting this with my classes next week!

We have all struggled with the PERFECT method to provide students who missed a class period with all the information, notes, etc. that they missed.  Most of the time, whatever we give them falls well short of the actual classroom experience.  NOT ANYMORE!

Using a great digital media gadget like FLIP or VADO video cameras, teachers can select one student each day to videotape the class period.  Capturing lectures, questions and answer "banter" between teacher and students, student collaboration during guided instruction, and their own narration of what was going on in class brings any missed class period to life forever. 

Uploading is super easy and every teacher can post their class periods on their school's website or on a classroom website. 

Students can download these onto their iPods and revisit them as often as they want (even during the school day to revisit ideas presented in class, etc.- what a great way to build self-efficacy!).

Check out this article about using cell phones as teaching tools in the classroom.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: If you intend to capture video with students in them, be sure to check with your school's or district's policies on capturing and posting video or photos of students online, etc.

Any other ideas that are working for you in your classroom? 




Jeff Leber

I would love to host your audio field trips on our tour network to demonstrate to local teachers the value to their students and the community. Check out our website and let's discuss if you are interested.

Jeffrey T. Leber

The website is............ www.touranytime.org

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Inside Patty's High School Grade Classroom are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.