Technology in Education: Student Engagement Through iPods



I love speaking with human beings of a sure age who have never taught in a study room. The conversation generally begins with a line something like this: “You train high school? I do not know the way you do it!” Once that reality has been installed, my communication mate generally meanders via all of the ills which have befallen our public faculties within the beyond decade, me murmuring my very own critiques approximately my profession every now and then (which might be commonly countered with a “Well, back in my day… ” dismissal). We come to a quit of our chat with my new acquaintance sighing after which summing up the well-sized issues of adolescents these days by saying something alongside the traces of “Kids simply are not the equal nowadays.”

While I smile civilly through the maximum of the communication, secretly (or no longer so secretly) disagreeing with many statements, I do have a tendency to trust that very last statement: kids simply AREN’T the equal nowadays. It is nearly dizzying to think about how a whole lot our world has modified in just the past decade (use the size of a cell cellphone as a measuring stick if necessary). How should we expect our youths to stay the identical? Theirs is an international of texting, tweeting, Googling, and Facebooking, and none of these items were commonplace information (plenty much less not unusual verbs!) once I become in high college, despite the fact that that become only a brief ten years in the past. Instead of bemoaning that the students of nowadays aren’t responding to the usual technique of delivering guidance, we must meet them on their own playing discipline, integrating generation into our normal exercise. With this notion in thoughts, I established my classroom around the usage of iPods, and I fast learned that devoted educators have the opportunity of harnessing so much educational capability via one tiny device.


I have become the shepherdess of thirty iPod Touches as a type of fluke; I was a young English teacher, and my college district had simply acquired a grant to vicinity these gadgets in English, Math, and Science training that had been getting ready for our nation’s standardized assessments. The cart resembled R2-D2 from Star Wars, and it had a slot for each numbered iPod that got here entire with a cord that connected it to the cart itself; this allowed for mass charging and syncing of the iPods. Inside the cart, I found that I turned into additionally furnished with a Macbook, a virtual presenter, and a wi-fi hotspot.

Instead of the exhilaration, I’m certain I changed into meant to sense (oh the entitlement of being one of the first teachers within the district to be part of this new wave in training!), I become absolutely freaked out. Nothing in my constrained teaching experience to this point, not to say my training publications in university, had prepared me for dealing with or the usage of iPods with my college students. What in the heck become I presupposed to do with these items? Weren’t they only for being attentive to tune and gambling the occasional sport? What become I imagined to do if a student walked out with one? For that depends, what changed into stopping them from coming in after hours and wheeling out the whole cart? I become besieged by using thoughts of mass educational failure, accompanied by way of the inevitable termination of my teaching position, and I counted myself as very unlucky certainly to be selected for such an “honor.”iPods

I finally overcame my terror and created a gadget where every pupil becomes assigned an iPod by his or her seat inside the study room. Students and mother and father signed a waiver at the start of the faculty yr that had them acknowledge that they would be chargeable for half of the iPod’s value if theirs was to go missing or come to be damaged past regular wear and tear. Each table changed into supplied with an iPod “parking space,” which turned into sincerely a laminated piece of paper that had the outline of an iPod that blanketed the iPod range assigned to that table and the regulations for using the iPods; whilst the iPods had been now not in use, students were to turn them face-down of their parking space. Students were to select up their assigned iPods from the cart whilst first getting into the school room and return them during an easy-up time, approximately 3 mins previous to the bell ringing. Because I became teaching five separate sections of 10th and eleventh graders at some stage in the day, this system made management of the gadgets easy and also averted college students from truly gambling with their iPods whilst instruction become happening.

My first foray into using the iPods turned into very simplistic, however, it ultimately grew into an effective research venture. By virtually the use of the Safari utility, I had college students look up diverse information approximately our subsequent author and solution questions about a worksheet. This first assignment grew to become out to be a bit too simple (and a touch too much like searching up records in a textbook), so we delivered another detail to our next mission. When we have been starting our unit on Zora Neale Hurston, I created a changed web quest by way of virtually searching up informative websites and saving the hyperlinks to my PortaPortal website. I then created a shortcut at the iPods to my PortaPortal web page. Students had been placed into businesses and assigned the process of creating “Facebook” profile pages that needed to consist of posts, biographical statistics, and pals that could have been blanketed if Zora Neale Hurston had had a social networking website online like Facebook. Different variations of this challenge have become an everyday event in my classroom due to the fact my students felt like they were not doing “real research” because of the format of the final product, and they were lots greater amenable to finding the records the use of the iPods than they were whilst doing a comparable venture the use of published materials.

After that preliminary fulfillment, I started out to research extra specialized apps. I soon discovered that a few simple (and unfastened!) games from the App Store can be used as short and green bell ringers (or heat-ups). Right earlier than our standardized exams, my remediation college students began using Miss Spell’s Class for the first 5 minutes of class each different day to check normally misspelled phrases. Students might report their ratings on index playing cards that I would gather for participation credit score at the stop of sophistication. We might additionally frequently start magnificence with Chicktionary, a recreation that calls for letters to be rearranged to spell exclusive words; I would ask college students to put in writing down one word from their sport that they were not acquainted with and then use their dictionary app to find the definition. Depending on the quantity of time we had in class, I should amplify this interest so that scholars had to use that word in a sentence or quiz an accomplice on the which means of the word. We additionally made use of the Grammar Up App as a way of reviewing ideas previous to an assessment.

For my more advanced students, I started out a class blog that allowed us to create “silent discussions” in which college students ought to use their iPods to respond to discussion questions. I might post a query on the website earlier than elegance began, and college students might reply in class via commenting at the publish after which responding to posts from their classmates. I molded this activity in numerous different ways, which include having students use positive sentence systems of their remarks (i.E. You must use a compound sentence on your post) and additionally having them publish their own questions for the class to “silently” talk. This pastime became a favourite of my college students as it allowed the quiet students (who wouldn’t talk at all in ordinary discussions however regularly had incredible thoughts) to explicit themselves, and it turned into additionally amusing to see simply how long a class of twenty-five 10th graders ought to sit in a room together and be verbally silent at the same time as they have been interacting with each other on their gadgets.

I also utilized the iPods as a smooth manner to distinguish training. My 11th-grade remediation elegance had students with who received unique education assistance in addition to students who had been just shy of reducing it within the regular stage path. Because of this wide array of capacity levels, it turned into frequently tough to cope with behavior control, as students might either be bored due to the fact instruction became too gradual for them or begin appearing out as a mask for no longer greedy the principles as quickly as the others. By placing an audio copy of the books that we had been studying in class on every iPod and developing analyzing courses that highlighted concepts that we had mentioned as a class, college students should work at their own pace at the same time as I circulated during the room and furnished help to people. The analyzing guides subsequently turned into an Easter egg hunt for kids, with questions along with “After reading Chapter 2, appearance lower back at page five and duplicate the instance of personification used there.”

In addition to the strategies I described in detail above, I implemented the iPods in myriad different ways. Google Docs helped me to create simple more than one preference (or even quick solution) checks that could be completed at the iPods; these gave me an immediate image of ways college students have been doing with concepts that we had been discussing in magnificence. iBooks’ PDF feature allowed me to add copies of my PowerPoint displays so college students who have been absent could come in and copy notes speedy. The pre-loaded digital camera app allowed my college students to take pictures and motion pictures of group tasks. The QR Code reader allowed me to create scavenger hunts where college students would test the codes, be despatched to sites or motion pictures, and solution questions for a task. The satisfactory element became, I became simplest on the tip of the iceberg; I cannot even start to consider what these devices may want to do in other disciplines and grade levels.

Now, with all this said, I am now not saying that the iPod Touch is the final word in student engagement; in reality, by the point that this article examines, this piece of an era can be absolutely outdated. IPads, Android devices, and different devices have just as a good deal capacity; I actually have simply spoken from my paintings with the technology that became made available to me. The factor that needs to be drawn from my enjoyment is that as educators, we have to also be innovators; we can not stick with the equal lecture room techniques and count on that engagement will come certainly. The classroom ought to morph and alternate with the relaxation of the world.Technology in Education

If a reader is searching out a place first of all generation within the lecture room, I desire that this text has furnished some beneficial recommendations in addition to a little thought. However, I am also hopeful that this article will become previous quick as instructors hold to expand fresh strategies. Using the media that scholars are already comfy with to engage the ones younger minds in the important work of the classroom just makes feel.