In addition to the iPod Touches, the school system's Special Education department has purchased several iPads, electronic tablets with Internet capability. Using the same apps as the iPods, the iPad, with its larger screen and keyboard, is uniquely suitable for certain students with disabilities. In some cases, the device can provide the help students need to communicate and learn, as was demonstrated dramatically this summer when a nonverbal autistic student was able to "write" a story about his summer vacation, using a special program that allows him to choose and string together symbolic pictures to make sentences—which the device then read aloud for him when he presented it to his teacher on his first day of high school.
At a substantially reduced cost over a laptop, both the iPod and iPad offer many possibilities for use in the classroom in the years to come. Already they can replace graphing calculators, CD's and DVD's. And, as textbook companies scramble to come up with interactive, 21st-century-ready digital texts, it seems clear that handhelds are here to stay in the schools of the future as well.
FYI...regarding questions #3...we are purchasing 200.00 worth of gift cards for app purchases.
I recently had the opportunity to sit in on Louise Celebi's ELL class and observe the students' use of the iPod Touch cart. It was the first day they'd rolled out the iPods, so the kids were excited to play with them. I talked to the class about the basic rules of use, how they were to be treated, etc. This was all pretty basic stuff, but I was surprised to see the students' faces light up when I began to go over the standard suite of apps. Kids were thrilled at the prospect of seeing the weather forecasts or times of their hometowns (via the Weather and World Clock apps, respectively). After I helped them use the Maps app to locate their old houses their minds were blown. They easily adapted to the touch-based Safari browser, and were quickly using bilingual dictionary sites.
I talked to Ms. Celebi about her intended use for the iPods. She said that prior to the class I attended, she had figured she'd mostly be using translation programs, but after seeing the thrilled reactions of the kids to even the basic app suite included with the devices, she decided that the horizons were much broader than she'd considered. She says she'll be on the lookout for apps that might not be language-focused, but have some sort of cultural or geographical value, such as Google Earth. This sort of app will allow her class to use current technology to explore each other's homelands to a very specific degree.
She will use iTunes to sync her ELL cart-exclusive account with the iPods as well. We talked about using a local iCal calendar specific to her ELL classes, which would detail schedule changes, test dates, etc. Relevant Safari bookmarks will be organized for use within the class. Louise is on the lookout for multilingual podcasts, too.
Erin Leith and Reid:
1. We are using the iPods on an almost daily basis in content classes--mainly ELA and SS, and Science and will begin using them in Math shortly. We use them mainly to preview a chapter or reading by developing a pod cast with pictures to illustrate the main points of the section or text that students will be reading. We have used the iPods to illustrate an experiment that was addressed on a test in Science.
2. The iPods are being used by all of the students in the content area classes. I (ESL teacher) am creating the pod casts and syncing them onto the iPods, but all of the students Ell and non-Ell have access to the pod cast previews. We have used them primarily with the 7th grade red team, which houses the majority of our Ell's. I have used them with my mixed ESL group, also in a pod casting format so that students could listen and assess each other's spoken word poetry. An Ell student on the 8th grade silver team will be using the iPods to supplement her presentation (she will be presenting Thursday 10/7)--also in the pod cast format--allowing her to participate in an oral presentation while providing a "safe" platform to express herself orally in English. I have used them in my ESL class by syncing bookmarks or songs to preview a piece of literature prior to beginning reading. This has allowed students to gain prior knowledge and successfully complete a KWL chart prior to reading.
3. We are mainly using iTunes and the playlists with teacher/student created pod casts.
4. I have subscribed to a few pod casts but have not yet worked them into the curriculum. We will be looking at Math dude in 6th grade Math class (blue team)
5. Yes, as aforementioned we are syncing teacher/student created pod casts to provide chapter and literature previews for students prior to reading.
6. Students are enjoying the use of the iPods, overall comprehension has increased and all students are gaining prior knowledge of the subject before reading or being introduced to a new topic.
7. I'll ask some kids--or record their responses--and send them along--
8. We have kept the use pretty structured to gaining access to the content...I'm sure they'd like to download music from itunes :)
So far we are using the IPodTouches approx 25% of class time with a goal of increasing the use of this technology to 40% of class time.
We have found many uses for these, initially beginning with an orientation by Peter Shields which explored the use of apps already available on the units.
-Clocks: World clocks for students to find and calculate time differences between local and country-of-origin
-Weather: Calculate temp differences (converting from Farenheit to Celcius) between local and country-of-origin
-Maps & Google Maps: Locate present locale and country-of-origin
Other free apps we've been able to obtain while awaiting funds to purchase apps:
-Dictionary.com and Spanish/French/Vietnamese dictionaries and translators to support vocabulary development in both the ELL and core-subject classrooms
-Today in History Lite
-Popular Phrase Origins Lite
-CNN Student News
-American English Pronuncation
-English Through Stories
We've also created Podcasts and downloaded them to Itunes to be shared with classes.
These units will also be used to supplement and modify core-subject lessons which will support the co-teaching model to be implemented this academic year at PHS.