The New iPod Touch & Your Classroom

 Could this be the tool that we have been looking for?  What tech geek of a teacher wouldn’t love for their students to have access to a $230 device that is portable and easy to use plus provides access to iBooks, organizational tools, the internet, an HD video camera w/ editing capabilities, a digital camera, video conferencing, polling software, a multitude of educational apps, and a variety of tools (calculator, dictionary, thesaurus, note taking, etc.)?

The original iPod Touch was greeted by many educators as a welcome tool in the classroom; using it as an inexpensive portal to the World Wide Web.  The newest generation introduced September 1st opens all kinds of new doors to put students in the driver seat as the creators of content rather than the consumers.

Using this one device the students can film, edit, and post a class video project to the internet.  Can you fathom the convenience?  No checking out the video cameras from the AV department and then signing out the computer lab where you waste half a period downloading footage.  With the HD video comes a built-in microphone, combine that with the video conferencing software that Apple provides and your kids can connect with other classrooms around the world who also have the Apple FaceTime application in play.  Want to connect with others that don’t have the FaceTime application?  Download the Skype app and get in touch with the world!

The built in digital camera is a snap too.  Quickly and easily, kids can collect images on a digital scavenger hunt around the school searching for examples of simple machines, varying angles, or the use of adjectives on signs. When they are finished they attach the photos in an e-mail to you or to a Picasa dropbox and you don’t have to build-in extra class time for photo download or spend hours after class uploading photos off cameras wondering who took which picture.

With the internet at their finger tips, students can access information from a variety of resources (as long as it isn’t Flash based…ouch…well there is always at least one downside to every great tool, right!).  Want to gather some quick feedback from students?  Use Poll Everywhere as your bell work to kick the class off with a question from yesterday’s content providing you with a starting point for today’s lesson, review or move on.  Students can access online dictionaries to assist with their spelling or can quickly answer their own question when you are at a lose for an answer (build those life long learners)!

Tap into resources for your students with special needs as well.  The iPod Touch now has a built-in microphone, so students can use the app Dragon Dictation a speech to text app that will allow students to verbalize what they wish to type.  iBook has a read-a-loud feature that would provide audio books to the students who require additional assistance with their reading and classmates will simply think they are jamming to a bit of music while they read their novel.  Does the child’s IEP require that they have documentation from each class?  They can use the Voice Recorder feature to record daily lectures for review later.  You could also use this feature to attach audio to the notes you created in class and then post them on the internet for students to review.  Keep the unorganized, organized using iCal and alarms.  Even if you don’t send the iPods home with students they can sync their calendar with a Google Cal and check assignments at home or setup e-mail reminders.  Finally, use the Apps store to find tools for remediation that are engaging for students.

What are your thoughts and ideas for integrating the new generation of iPod Touch into the classroom?

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