Monday, November 23, 2009

iPod Touch - a replacement for "Boom Boxes" for Listening Centers?

Does your School District's Traveling Resource Library still have "Boom Boxes" that teachers use with audio cassettes or cd's as a listening center for students?  Ours still does, but we are considering how to best weed them out as cassettes and cd's are going by the wayside.   Are electronic files transferred from a computer or recorded right on the music play unit the best fundable option?

Does you district allow music players in the classrooms? If not, are they perhaps ripe for finding a way to utilize these kid friendly devices to assist in student learning?

 Instead of stashing their iPods or Nanos with a groan at the start of each class, students in the Escondido Union School District K-8 use them as part of the IRead program. Kathy Shirley, director of technology and media services for Escondido, created a unique program using the iPod classic and nano, along with a third-party Belkin voice recorder, to record student reading fluency and comprehension practice. The student simply reads the passage into the recorder. The captured voice memo files are transferred to iTunes to create a digital record, or eportfolio, of their progress. Escondido data studies indicate the IRead program is a success, showing 2-4 times higher student fluency and accuracy gains in classrooms using the iPod. Second language learners also benefit as students can practice correct pronunciation of troublesome words. 
Because of the popularity of music players and music player apps on cell phones, mobile learning has an opportunity to effect education positively.  What if students listened to ecopies of books at listening centers that are ipods with a 5-way splitter for headphones?  Ebooks might also incorporate visuals through the video capabilities of the iPods or individual listening stations.

Has your district incorporated this option?  What about the cost comparison of using iPods and ebooks instead of "Boom Boxes" and cassettes or cd's.  How is your district going about switching all of their cassettes and cd's to efiles?  Are you starting over, utilizing a company to help provide the conversion and copyright compliance, or buying access to the efiles with new materials only.  Since we are in the planning for this now, I'd love to hear from others that have moved to using music players such as iPods and Nanos.

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