Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Ipod Experiment

Last Friday our school was officially out for the summer. Like all good teachers I am taking a few days to decompress from the year, but I also have made a list of things that I would like to do. One of the things on the list is to devote more time to this blog. Hopefully this summer I will be able to write down all of my ideas and things I am doing in the classroom.

Let me talk a little bit about my entry for today. As most special education teachers can tell you we are always strapped for time with all the things we need to do. I always felt like I was neglecting the students because I wasn't able to give them all the modifications I should and I was always confused on what I could do to help my students learn the material better. Then one day I was sitting with the other special education teachers in my building and someone asked if there was a way we could incorporate Ipods to help students learn. That was when the switch went on and an idea was born.

Now I know there are going to be some skeptics out there about using Ipods in schools, but hear me out. Let me explain how we are using these devices:
  • We are reading tests out loud to the students, so when it is time for them to take the tests they just put on the headphones and listen to the test in the classroom. So basically instead of having to read the test to 30 different students at 6 different times during the day, we only have to have one teacher read it once and then place it in the Ipods.
  • We have many students that are in a CWC language arts class and when they are reading novels the students are expected to go home and read between 20-30 pages a night. For a child with a reading disability this is nearly impossible. What we have done is bought the audio versions of the novels and we then download the chapters that need to be read into their Ipods.
  • We were finding that many students were not fully listening to teachers lectures. So we made a point of putting an Ipod in the science classes and audiotaping the lectures. Then during the school day if the students didn't seem to understand the assignment they could listen to the lecture again.
  • Finally we also decided to do review sessions the day before the test. This is basically a special services teacher going over the study guide and then putting this review on the students Ipod. What better way to study for the test than to look at your study guide and also having someone explain it to you at the same time.

Right now out setup for this is pretty primitive. Our 3 LD teachers all have their own Ipod Nano's. This was bought for each of us through our special education budget. We were also worried about some students not having an Ipod, so we also used our building budget to purchase 3 Ipod Shuffles. At the beginning of next year we plan on purchasing 5 more. The results we have seen so far are really encouraging and we are hoping that next year this will really take off. As the summer rolls on I will show some examples of what we have done. If you have questions for me please email me at