Musings from the Oregon Reading Conference: iPod Touch Session

This article has been printed in the Emerald Empire Reading Council Newsletter.

I’m interested in technology and getting it into the hands of students, so when I read the description for the presentation, iSpeak and iRead: Introduction to Podcasting and iPod Touches presented by Jody Bean and Jamie Semrad from the Oregon City School District in the Oregon Reading Association’s program I thought to myself, “Humm…I don’t have iPod Touches, but it would be interesting to see what someone else is doing with them to support reading.”

I trekked up to the Mt. St. Helens Room located on the second floor of the conference facility and walked in as the presentation was about to begin. Apparently, the WiFi had stopped working! Unflappable, the team managed to maneuver conference attendees and technology down to a room on the first floor. They seamlessly set up while beginning the presentation in our new location.

Jody and Jamie shared how they are using iPod Touches in their classrooms. They received a grant through Qwest to purchase the iPod Touches. Here is how they use them in their classrooms:
·         Listening to Reading: audio books and podcasts
·         Word Work/Spelling: apps
·         Recording Reading: used for fluency (self fluency reflections) and comprehension
·         Celebrity Readers: People who visit the classrooms are requested to read and record a story for students to listen to later.

The team prepared packets for each attendee. The packets included fluency reflection sheets for teachers and students, fluency checklists, podcasting in the classroom tips, and a sample podcasting script.

Additionally, they shared ideas about classroom management with the iPod Touches. A calculator holder seems to do the trick for one class of 30 Touches and plastic bags with support material for the other class. I like the names they used to keep them straight: Super Heroes, Batman, etc. Students are allowed to take iPod Touches home, and amazingly not one iPod has been lost or stolen!

The team discussed how to find apps from the iTunes store. A few of their favorites for language arts were Brain Quest, Idiom Dictionairy, Storyrobe, Spelling Bee, Proofreading, Chicktionary and Bookworm. (See the links on Jamie's and Jody's sites for additional recommended apps.) Their answer to the question, “How do you pay for the apps?” was to add a gift cards from iTunes to the classroom wish list.

Now as I reflect on the presentation, here is what I’m thinking:
  • “Great, kids would love this, but I still don’t have iPod Touches!”
  • “What tools are out there for classrooms and kids who don’t have this technology?"
  • “How can I adapt what Jody and Jamie are doing in my own class with only four student computers that are internet capable, a projector, an Intewrite board and a teacher laptop?"
Please let me know if you have any ideas to answer these questions. As we reflect and investigate, stay tuned for some answers in upcoming posts.

1 comment:

  1. If you continue to look at how you can use technology with what you presently have and not look at the larger underlying issue, lack of real technology tools to make a difference for your students, then you will not be able to overcame the underlying obstacle....lack of access to technology.

    Students at an early level need access to technology to understand how it will play a large integrated role in their future. Social platforms, mobile technology, new media, all these tools that are being introduced now are getting adopted at accelerated rates with many large companies. Small business are adopting these technologies as well due to their efficiency savings.

    Rather than give you a method on how to get by with 4 computers, a smartboard, and a laptop, lets explore how we can get the partnership and funds needed to get you iPod touches, iPads, etc. in your classroom so that your students can better understand how these tools need to start getting integrated with their lives to be more productive, efficient, and competitive in order to better their futures.