IPod Touches In The Primary School

At our school we have been using ipod touches for about 18 months now and have them all across the school from the Prep classes to the Grade Sixes. I do really believe that they are a very useful tool to have in a primary classroom. In a perfect world I would probably replace them with Ipads but alas budget restrictions! However I do think that the ipod is a great size for little hands to use when filming. I do also really like the model that some schools have adopted in which students manage their own devices from home and are given a required list of apps to bring to school. I’m sure sooner or later all students will be able to use their own devices in classrooms.
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I worked with the touches in a grade 2 class and now this year in my 5/6 class. How I use the devices has changed dramatically over the two years. Last year with the early years classroom it was mostly apps-based and used as a listening post. I have quickly learnt that handheld devices have so many other uses than just apps. We need to look at creative ways to use Ipod touches rather than just rote learning apps.
• Podcasts
• Filming
• Voice Recording and reflections
• Photos
• Researching on the internet
• Dictionary/Calculator
• Critique games/writing reviews

This year I have found that the devices are a quick research tool for my students. I encourage them to grab them whenever they need to look up a quick fact, image, dictionary meaning or spelling etc. It means that the computers are used for other projects and students don’t waste time while they wait for them to boot up. I am also really trying to shift some of my reading program to the Ipod touches. I am still trying to find some good online magazines/books/comics suitable for year 5/6 students. Any ideas welcome? I have a few reluctant readers in my class and they seem to be responding really well on reading on the IPod touches. It may seem a bit gimmicky but I do think that teaching students to read and understand webpages, blogs and other multi-media is extremely important. It also means that students can respond to videos and podcasts as well. I think it would be fantastic if someone created an app or an interactive newspaper for kids in which they could interactive with current news topics and stories; e.g. leave their opinions, vote on topics, connect with other kids from around the world, post surveys etc. If anyone knows of an app/site like that please let me know!

Recently another school approached our school for some advice; they have just purchased some IPod touches. They came on a tour of our school and saw how we are using them across the school. I am so grateful for the advice and assistance I got when I first purchased the IPods and have leant so much from other teachers through the web that it was nice to be able to help someone else on this journey.

My two main pieces of advice to any school purchasing handheld devices would be:
– Any app can be a great learning tool it just depends on how you use it
– Handheld devices are more than just apps – think creatively

Below is a short booklet we put together to give to the other school. It has some advice about getting started and also a list of apps/activities we use across the whole school. This list is just a basic beginning guide and is not exhaustive.
Getting Started With Ipod Touches

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