Ipods are devices that can store and play all kinds of information, not just music, they can even be used as external hard drives. Our school district distributed iPod’s to all ESL teachers in 2004. At first I was a little hesitant about what to do with it other than listen to music, but soon my eyes were opened wide! Below are some ideas for using the iPod in the classroom.
Music: Music is an important part of any early childhood classroom. I use music as a learning tool in my classroom, not as form of entertainment. There are so many great educational children’s musical artists out there to choose from. For educational music ideas see my music page. You can upload all of your classroom music to your iPod, and you can find inexpensive speakers to play your music through so you can get rid of your big, bulky CD player. The iPod and speakers are very small and portable so your class can have access to music wherever they go. You can create play lists for each of your units/themes so you never have to waste time searching for a song, switching back and forth between cd’s, or risk scratching your CD’s.
Here are just a few of the play lists I have on my classroom iPod:
- Classroom Management
- Many teachers are now using iPod’s in place of traditional cassette or CD listening centers. You can easily record your own voice reading the stories in digital audio format (Audacity) so any book can become a part of your iPod listening center. Read more info about how some kindergarteners in our district are listening to iPods both in and out of the classroom in the resources section below.
- iTunes as a listening center: This year we began using iTunes as a listening center in our classroom. Since all of our iPods are for homework use we couldn’t use them as a listening center too. iTunes works well as a listening center because every single recording is available every day. No more switching out books and cassettes or CD’s with each new unit or theme. Students have access to everything on your iTunes menu at all times. I have three student computers, two are dedicated to iTunes and one is for watching our Photo Stories or using our Activ software.
- In May ’07 our Pre-K team won a grant for iPod Shuffles to send home with our students. Below is a press release from our district, the four holding placards are teachers, the others are from the “Prize Patrol”.
We began the iPod Shuffle Pre-Reading program in October of ’07 and it was a roaring success. Students are highly motivated to take the iPod shuffles home and listen to the stories we uploaded to them. Parents were also very pleased with the program, they saw how much their children were learning with the iPods. I had 14 iPods in my classroom and 15 students signed up for the iPod program (parents had to sign a contract) so of those signed up, most got to take home a different iPod each night. Every few weeks I selected new books and made new audio recordings to go with them, then uploaded the new content to the iPods. The students were always giving me suggestions of what they wanted to hear next
Podcasting: You can create podcasts for a variety of different venues. I have created enhanced podcasts for parents who weren’t able to attend our “Back to School” orientation or other school events, and “How-To” types of podcasts for other teachers that could be used for staff development purposes, but in the comfort of their own homes. Ideally, parents can view our podcasts from their home computers, but most parents in my low-income school don’t have access to computers so we have them view the podcasts on our classroom computers. Many teachers also create podcasts with their students, I have not done this yet but there are lots of others who have. You can find links to educational podcasts in the resources section below.
In the technology resources section you can see the headset I recommend for recording your own podcasts or Photo Stories.
You can use the Belkin Tune Talk to record your students voices and then add into podcasts, iMovies, or Photo Stories.
More Early Childhood Technology Information