iPod Touch, part 2

iPod touch

The iPod Touch - a computer in the palm of your hand.

Miss part 1? click here…

Using the iPod Touch is not without its vices however. Banister (2010) suggests that one of the vices for integrating the iPod Touch is that “classroom management techniques for keeping students on task and using the applications that are deemed supportive of their learning, rather than a distraction, will have to be developed and practiced.”  This is true for ALL technology and discovery learning devices; once the excitement of a new tool wears off, then students want to explore and find out its limitations. In science that is part of the learning process. However, master teachers who are adept at managing their classroom will find that this is not really different from any other tool, and the benefits of using this powerful tool outweigh the challenges that arise.

With the Banister (2010) warning in mind however, let’s consider some techniques that teachers can use to keep their young scholars on task and engaged.

1)    Plan carefully and be organized. If you have planned an engaging lesson and know the value that the iPod Touch adds to the project, then the students are more likely to appreciate and reap the benefits from its use.

iPod touch charging dock

A charging dock can recharge multiple iPods from a single outlet.

2)    Be sure that the devices are all working before class.  Are they fully charged? Do they turn on? Are the cameras, internet connections, and apps all working?

3)    Technology is exciting yet it can be exasperating if you don’t know what to do. When the device is passed out, make sure that the students know how to use the tool or apps that are part of the project.  You may want to model and have the students practice before they begin the project.

4)    Ensure the students know what their task is and how the tool is to be used. Be explicit about your expectations – and what you do NOT want.  Document the information you want the students to collect. If you have specific photographs or content that you want the students to look for, be sure to review what these expectations are before the students begin.

Classroom technology

Insure that classroom technology use is appropriate.

5)    Monitor the students as they are working through the project. You will have to walk around and see what they are looking at on their screens. Part of this process, also, is to keep the class moving. Do not allow extra time for the students to explore if you don’t want them to. Pacing an activity appropriately takes practice.

6)    Keep your eyes and ears open for questions, concerns, or problems. When scholars get stumped, they find time to get distracted and the iPod Touch has many opportunities for exploration in that vein if the teacher is not watching.

Miss part 1? click here…


Image Credits

iPod Touch image by Torley  (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Charging dock image by  Colin Harris  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Classroom technology image by Jeremy Wilburn (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).


8 Comments to “iPod Touch, part 2”

  1. By Kat in the Hat, May 20, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

    I was intrigued by your comments. I do think that the use of the iPad and iPod has a particular appeal to children who are struggling with reading and writing. I was very fortunate to have been able to watch this occur first-hand when I was part of a group who awarded grants to teachers who had innovative ideas for their classroom. One teacher served students who were especially challenging. When he received a class set of iPads and developed engaging inquiry activities the students were receptive and very engaged. He found that assignments were completed on time, there were less discipline problems, and they began talking about what they were doing outside of class. This was motivating for the teacher as well!

    To further explain the comment that I made about children wanting to explore the limitations of discovery tools and technology devices — I experienced this in class when I was teaching (researching for Fakebook page and one group decided to Google all the answers rather than use the websites we provided), and I have to stop myself and ask, what are they doing — is this productive or could it cause problems…in this case, it was taking them much longer to complete the assignment.

    I recall reading a journal article about the company, 3M. They discovered if they allowed their employees time to “play” and pursue their ideas outside of the structured required tasks – that this offered opportunities for the employees to think outside of the box – for example, the post-it note and transparent tape were created during these times of innovation. So, while I am rather a control freak when it comes to keeping kids on task, I also am curious about what happens when you put a powerful tool like a handheld computer in the hands of the students, I want to see what they will do with it when left on their own to explore.

  2. By Sarah, May 20, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

    I think your outline of how to help keep students on-task when using iPods is a helpful review of basic good teaching practices.

    What I wonder about is whether iPods and iPads are truly like any other tool. Recent conversations with two teachers makes me wonder if there is some particular magnetism to certain tools that doesn’t exist for others, and if iPads and iPods with all of their aps have a particular draw for some students.

    I recently conducted an interview with a teacher in a Montessori school for another class and she spoke about the management issues she has encountered since introducing iPads into her classroom a year ago. In her classroom of 9-12 year olds, students have long stretches of work time during which they need to manage the time they allot to different assignments. Her experience has been that, “there are students who are so drawn to [the iPads] that they will go do that when they shouldn’t. Or they will spend more time on it than they should. And we give them guidelines on it so they know what the expectations are, but for a kid who is impulsive or who has a hard time reading or has a hard time writing, that’s something that is satisfying to them. They will choose that when they shouldn’t.” As a master teacher herself, she has a number of strategies she uses to deal with this, so I’m curious not so much about what one DOES as about the phenomena itself.

    In a related vein, can you explain more of what you meant when you wrote, “This is true for ALL technology and discovery learning devices; once the excitement of a new tool wears off, then students want to explore and find out its limitations”?

    Thanks for your post,

  3. By Paula, May 20, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

    Douglas, thank you for sharing your concern. You have made a good point which led me to ask a librarian on the proper way to cite. http://librarianbyday.net/2009/09/28/how-to-attribute-a-creative-commons-photo-from-flickr/

    While my immediate response was to remove the courtesy of (as the lawyer suggested) I will be going beyond that later this evening and following the guidance of the librarian and will be contacting the author of the photos to let them know that I have posted their photo on my blog and attributing their photo with the proper title, name, license and the place of origin. I have no problem “going above and beyond.” I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

    I appreciate that you have caused me to do this research. Thanks! PS

  4. By Douglas Haman, May 20, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    I read your entire article and yet I get stuck on one little thing – your photo attribution. I can’t help but to think like a lawyer ….

    Your used several photographs on your posts, and attributed each one of them to their respective authors. (Since this was fair use in my opinion, such attribution was legally unnecessary, but we’ll ignore that for now). You attributed them by writing:

    [name of image] image courtesy of [author].

    Certainly, you go above and beyond what many people would by actually attributing and linking to the author of the image. But “courtesy of” bugs me a little.

    “Courtesy of” seems to imply that the author actually supplied the image, and perhaps approved your use of it. If that is the case, then you are actually in violation of the Creative Commons license, which states:

    “Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).”

    Certainly its harmless error, if an error at all.

  5. By Ginny, May 20, 2012 @ 11:33 am

    Paula –

    This is a wonderful blog! I think you make some wonderful suggestions to ensure that we’re integrating technology in the best way possible for both ourselves and our students. I especially identify with numbers three and four. During my student teaching, I used the iPad quite frequently, and it was extremely important to make sure that a) students know how to use the tool and b) students know what they’re supposed to be doing with the tool. Modeling helped a lot when we initially started using the tools. What eventually happened (much to my delight) was that students began helping each other. Higher order thinking skills and constructivist learning! Explicit directions were also key. I often presented directions in multiple forms: telling students what the expectations were, giving students lists of steps to follow, describing the task during modeling, etc. If there was a question about what to do, students could probably find the answer within one of the direction formats. The fact is, if we set up the environment properly, we won’t have (as many) management issues. Management alone would not keep me from integrating these devices into my classroom.

    Again, awesome blog!!

  6. By Kelsey, May 20, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    First, I enjoyed that you pointed out that today’s teachers are making a shift from “waiting in line for a computer lab to how do I effectively use extremely powerful technology in my classroom”. You clearly summarized what it like for teachers today and how they are tackling technology in their classrooms.

    But, back to whether or not iPod touches are a distraction in the classroom. I agree with you. There is no difference in students getting distracted with iPods or from computers or any other technology. This is not to say that every time a technology is used in the classroom, that students will get distracted or off track, however it is a best practice for students to understand the rules of the device and practice those rules properly with use.

    In addition to your suggestions, I also have a few suggestions for keeping students on track during their lesson. First, applications are fairly easy to download and delete. It may be slightly more work than anticipated, but having only the applications that are used for the project on the iPod will be a sure way to keep students on track. I know there are some applications that are not able to be deleted, like the internet browser Safari, however, teachers can have their students turn off the wireless internet connection before use. As always, like you pointed out, teachers simply to need have clear expectations for iPod use and relay those expectations to the students. They need to plan engaging and time filling lessons that further decrease student distraction. Too many times students get blamed for getting distracted when teachers do not fulfill their duties to prepare a well thought out and time filling lessons. Maybe we should start looking to teachers for reasons why students get off track or distracted? Finally, the teachers simply need to be present in their classrooms. Teachers can walk around and monitor student progress and use of technology, answer questions and make sure students are not taking advantage of the technology. There are many options to help students stay on track, and I don’t think there is one best option, but it will take a combination of many options to use the iPod to its maximum potential.

  7. By Carrie, May 18, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    This is such a great blog!

    I really like how you’ve delineated the techniques that can maximize the effectiveness of using such technology in the classroom. Looking at those six items collectively, I clearly see that preparation is clearly the most important component of making iPod Touch-based instruction work. I completely agree with your statement about the opportunities for distractions arising from “ALL technology and discovery learning devices.” I’ve personally experienced the challenges of subbing in a classroom where students have been allowed to freely use iPod Touches and other “smart” technology to look up definitions, spellings, etc. The only problem was that not all the students had a device and not all the devices were the same. In addition, there were many instances in which I had to intervene due to misuse (i.e. playing games, texting, etc.). I think that had some of the above suggestions been applied to the plans, and students had only limited, purposeful use (they had them available to use during an open work period) then perhaps there would have been less issues with distractions.

  • iPod Touch – a great tool! Part 1 | Katz and the Hatz — May 19, 2012 @ 9:15 am

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