Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lesons Learned About iPods (and Podcasting) in the Classroom

This session focuses on a school district who has been using iPods in their classrooms for six years.  They have been using a variety of iPods including shuffles, nanos, etc. in their classrooms. They shared what they've learned in the past six years and where they plan to go in the future. The presenters were Amy Bramhall ( and La Donna Conner (

In 2005-2006, they started out with four teachers: middle school newcomers, a high school ESL teacher, and a high school french teacher. They used 100 iPods and 100 Griffin iTalks. At that time they used only audio and used Audacity to record and upload audio. One thing they learned, they had to have the buy-in from the curriculum and instruction department and the teachers.

In 2006-2007, the program expanded district-wide to all newcomer and ESL 1 classrooms. They went from 100 to 450 iPods. They had 450 video iPods, 450 Belkin Tune Talks and 150 iPod shuffles.  They used Photostory to upload videos on the video iPods.  The superintendent also started an iPod program for teachers.  1,800 teachers were selected to attend Podcast training and had to sign a contract where they received a iPod. Part of the contract was that they had to create 4 podcasts. The district learned that teachers didn't really see the value of podcasting for the students. Most teachers just wanted the iPod.

During 2007-2009, campuses continued spending their funds to purchase iPods.  Teachers continued writing grants for iPod projects. Teachers and students were creating content using iPods.

Some of the roadblocks Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD came across were copyright issues, network issues, theft/loss, C-FBISD Student Policies, students needing constant assistance, time constraints, technical issues, and maintaining podcasts.

They do have a student contract that students and parents have to sign.  Students and parents do have a monetary fine for losing their iPod. They also have a community service time for those who couldn't afford the monetary fine. They had policies for when and where iPods could be out. For example, students couldn't have them out in the hallways between classes at the high school.

From 2009-2010, the district used iTouches to focus on science.  They included four elementary campuses and included 200 additional iTouches. The content is pre-loaded by the instructional technology specialist.  They load science videos, apps, and songs.

Here are some student quotes about apps they use on iPods:

"In fifth grade, we constantly have projects in progress and sometimes even two or three at a time. Researching can take awhile what with waiting for available computers and going all the way to the computer lab.  We use apps on our iPods to research..."

"A week or so before winter break we had a 321 assignment on an article and instead of doing it on paper I wrote it up on my iPod and sent my teacher Mrs. White my work!"

"The Red:Green application is really good when we discuss something. We show the green if we agree and the red if we disagree."

In 2010-2011 so far, the district has added 200 additional iTouches to the classroom that focus on science in the fifth grade classrooms. The content continues to be added by the I.T.S. including videos, apps, and songs. Campuses continue to use their own funds to purchase iPods to meet their students' needs. They now have over 3,800 iPod devices in their district.

What currently works...

  •  content already loaded
  • "mainstream" use of iPods
  • wireless internet access
  • frees up class time
  • buy-in by ALL stakeholders 

I am currently using iPods in my classroom and this was a good session to sit in to hear what this district has done in the last six years.  However, I would have liked to hear some of the apps and programs they use with their iPods. This was geared more towards administrators looking at how to start an Ipod program in their district.

No comments:

Post a Comment