Saturday, 2 April 2011

mLearning History - setting the scene 2

IPod Touches

Following the Handheld Learning Conference in 2009, and the pensioning off of the EDAs the team bought a set of iPod Touches. Almost immediately my colleague who was setting them up discovered that the ports we needed to access the iTunes store were blocked – after all someone may want to buy music whilst in one of the educational establishments :-( The kit consisted of:
•    Class set of 30 ipod Touch (8GB)
•    Two Parasync docking stations (take up to 20 ipods each) in a ‘suitcase’
•    One Mac Book for synchronisation
•    One wireless router (Netgear) (is robust enough to allow 30 ipods onto Google Maps)
•    A selection of apps

Eventually they were ready for use by children and they were loaned to a Year 5 class of a large primary school based in Witney, Oxfordshire. The Class teacher was fairly new to the school and was very keen to try new things.  This teacher was willing to let the ipods be used as classroom learning tools as well as for directed tasks. The iPod Touches had general class tools loaded such as - dictionary, internet look-up, Quick Office linked to Dropbox, mental maths games as part of maths lessons, a copy  of Dragon story as a literacy text and the use of Google Maps for Local Study project.
Class Teacher

“When the iPods arrived, the children were so excited. We played and  explored the apps downloaded. The children have now got used to them  and use them to help their learning. They use the thesaurus and  dictionary in literacy. In geography we looked at map work which was  great to plan a journey using google maps. In literacy we created a Martian and then wrote a Description. The children use their iPods as they would pick up a pencil and it is not very often they are not available.”
“The parents are very keen and have embraced the experienced. A parent said she liked the fact that the children were able to work at their own abilities in the lessons. The children's favourite apps are spelling bee, hangman and touch pets. We have used the books for guided Reading. The only disadvantage is that if things go wrong (which does happen with ICT!) and sometimes when looking at images or paintings the screen is too small... Now if they made one with a bigger screen - now you’re talking!

 For more information on the apps and a video clip see our project page

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