Time for teachers to tune into iPods

Since all the kids have one, some educators are integrating digital audio and video into their curriculum.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

Students and their iPods are dragging schools into the next digital metamorphosis as the nifty device becomes more and more versatile. Educators who initially viewed the iPod as an annoying music player that had to be confiscated during classroom hours are now seeing it as a unique educational tool, reports Tech News World.

Due to its small size, big hard drive and easy portability, the iPod can carry a students music, audio books and now even video. It can become a recording device and download and upload audio and video content via the Internet. With added software products that link with iPods, students can edit, organize and publish photos, music and video.

...Forcing students to use outdated equipment and old technologies risks boredom and lower interest in schoolwork. In fact, "giving them the freedom to use current technology in what, for them, may be new and creative ways seems to create a sense of buy-in to the material," says Brian McElfish is the technology coordinator and a math teacher at Serrano Intermediate School in Lake Forest, Calif.

Educators are just getting used to the iPod's capabilities and designing lessons around the new innovations. From recording lectures to podcasts created by teachers or downloaded from other sources, students can access lessons from school or at home. These can include audio and video clips, all of which can be edited and distributed to other students.

"Kindergarteners go to the back of the room and read, practicing to see how many words a minute they can get. The teacher doesn't have to take class time to listen to each student read for a minute. He can listen to it later, store it, and have a record to show the parents every few weeks. At the other end, you have older students taking the iPods home and recording oral history sessions with their families," says Robert Craven, coordinator of educational technology for the Orange County (Calif.) Department of Education in California.

So what's stopping educators from incorporating iPods into everyday classroom lessons? One key reason: Many schools are notoriously slow incorporating new technology, and it is often due to a lack of a firm committment from school leaders and having the funds and instructional staff to implement programs.

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