There are a number of posts from individuals interested in using iPod Touches for teaching and Learning. At Culbreth Middle in Chapel Hill, NC we began a pilot this past August to place the iPod Touch in the hands of staff and students.

Our staff development for faculty to roll out the new technology centered on teacher coaches leading their groups in exploration through professional learning communities.

Our AVID students use the iPod Touch in the AVID classroom and in all other courses. They have piloted this program, using the iPod Touches daily for note taking, keeping individual agendas, translation for world languages, and accessing research through the Internet. In addition, our AVID students use many of the apps that teachers sync with these mobile devices. As student leaders, they’ve understood their responsibility to work and share this learning tool in collaborative groups.

This winter we were able to add iPod Touch labs for each of our seven interdisciplinary teams and two labs for our exploratory and resource teams. The interdisciplinary grade level iPod Touch labs are housed with each team and shared among the four content teachers (math, language arts, science, and social studies). These teachers plan together so that their students have access throughout each day. They access the internet as needed and use many apps as well.

Teacher current app favorites include: WordBook, Thesaurus, USA, Countries, Brain Tuner, Blanks, Whiteboard, CoinToss, Lose It!, Word Warp, FlipBook Lite. Of course they are using the included apps: Calendar, Calculator, Notes, Clock, YouTube throughout each day.

We held an iPod Touch Day last week with visitors from all over the state and from across the country. We even had a group from the UK come see our students and teachers in action with the iPod Touch. With almost 400 iPod Touches now in use at Culbreth, we’re happy to share what we’ve learned and what we’re learning.

Tags: Touches, iPod

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New educational app to a look at: SentenceSpin. It allows an elementary or middle school student to "spin" for a sentence they like, draw about it, and then save it for a teacher to place in a portfolio. Wonderful for formative assessments. It came out in the store this week. I'll be sharing quite a lot more information soon about educational apps available on the iTunes store as we look toward our 09-10 classrooms.
The rumors were sure flying before the WWDC started, but I read on one blog that iPod releases usually occur in the fall. We may see an update then. I think the big issue would be maintaining the form factor with a camera or other capabilities. Although if anyone can do it, it's Apple.
The school I teach at has 1:1 iTouches that are owned by the students.

Susan - it sounds like your school owns the devices - I'd be interested in hearing how many have been damaged or have needed to be replaced for any reason.

We are a new school, with only years 6 and 7 (in Australia, so kids are 11 - 13 years) so only 90 kids at the moment. We will likely have 200+ next year, and have maintained that students must 'own their own'.

We feel that this places a bit more accountability onto the kids.

I read that you have 'labs' - does this mean you have them used in a particular space? I can't imagine you would have, as one of the key things with handhelds is their mobility... maybe I misinterpreted...

How do you distribute apps? Do you use an online learning environment?

We use Studywiz at the moment, and when we get our upgraded deployment next week, the kids will be able to sync their iTouches with an online 'eLocker' via an app that can play media files, and display all manner of image and documents. This way, students without wireless internet access at home can work offline by downloading required files at school.

THIS IS VERY EXCITING FOR US, as equity is a key factor.

I, also, would love to see iTouches have a little more functionality - camera/GPS - even built in microphone would be incredibly useful!

As far as apps go, I haven't found anything that blows me away in terms of educational function. There are plenty of online applications (I used CoverITLive today with a small group, which was awesome) that are very powerful.

I, like you, think the Wordbook app is great - and I intend on getting the kids to use iFlipr to create their own card stacks for study.

One of the challenges is getting all teachers (4 class teachers and about 6 others!) to get the kids (or allow them!) to use them effectively. There is some resistance in the community, particularly from tech-minded, Apple-phobes, to their use and I sense that some people are waiting for them to fail, or to be useless so they can moan about it.

I ought to point some of them to this discussion!!!

My blog (which is only very small at this point) is deonscanlon.edublogs.org

I look forward to following this discussion, and your own blog!

Ciao

Deon
Very interesting ideas - thanks Deon. (Studywiz seems to be a great platform.) I'll be following with interest (in Aust too!). Any issues with families being able to afford an iTouch?

If the iPod touch had a built in microphone and camera it would be even better!
Families were given the option to pay for their iPods in instalments over time, but we likely will have some who don't pay.

Next year they have to purchase them on their own (we aren't providing them like we did this year), so I bet we get a few kids who don't come with them. Will have to work something out, there.
Deon,
I think I saw that you might be attending NECC this coming week? If so I hope to meet you there face to face. At our school we do purchase the devices, as an equity issue here in case all could not make their own purchase, we're a school of 700.

When I reference "labs" I simply reference the carts (see photos found here) from which the units are charged and synced for apps. Each of my teams makes app decisions and so can choose for their group of students what they want to use with them. Of course, once "untethered" the iPod touches are mobile, as you said, that's the point. We are a wifi environment.

We'd like to move to something like Studywiz for our planners/organizers as we move to full 1 on 1 for next year. I'd love to talk with you more about this.

We too have struggled with apps which is where I put my other hat of developer on. As we searched for apps that truly connected to our curriculum and could provide real tools for our classroom we found the store lacking.

So, with full disclosure of personal interest and much pride, I recommend the following tools from Tacticality Software: SentenceSpin, a language arts sentence builder. We wrote this to provide an opportunity for kids to "spin" for a sentence they like, get a chance to do some reading, understand that sentences have a beginning, middle and end, and then get the very cool opportunity to draw their sentence on the next screen in living color. For the teacher's sake pictures can be saved into a digital portfolio. We also have the math tools CountBy and TimesBy in the store. To check these out to see if they'd make sense for your classrooms we've made uTube videos which can be found by entering the apps by name or through this address:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGnmy4VMpmM

Even with these efforts though we knew we couldn't begin to meet the needs of all so this summer we've reviewed all 3000+ educational apps in the store. We're about two weeks away from getting this database out for all teachers to search. We wanted teachers to be able to quickly find apps to use in their area connected to their curriculum that could be truly useful. I'll provide a link as soon as we're up. We're planning for mid-July and really hope others will add their thoughts on great classroom apps.

Hope to see you at NECC!
Susan
Hi Susan

unfortunately, I am not going to NECC, it's a long way from Tasmania!
My school hasn't thrown any additional money into PD for technology, alas!

As far as I am aware, we are the only 1:1 iTouches schoolwide in Australia, and I haven't found any others, other than yourself, who have them in more than a single class.

Continued communication would be great - and if you want any help reviewing apps or want another opinion, let me know: travellngdeon@me.com
I'd love to have your feedback and am happy to share codes if you're willing to take a look! We're sharing a dozen codes here at NECC. Sitting at an EduBlogger session now, weather in DC is lovely, discussing tools we wish we had...
Deon,
The weather here in DC is wonderful but I'd love to hear more about the work you're doing in Australia. You're welcome to visit us in Chapel Hill anytime...
Hi Deon

I would be interested in discussing with you how you implemented this program. We are investigating the possibility of introducing iTouches and would like to hear issues that relate to implementing something like this in Australia.
Hey Eric.

Feel free to shoot me some questions via direct message; Twitter: @deonscanlon; email: travellingdeon@me.com

We seem to be in a unique position whereby our students own their iPods. I haven't heard of any other schools that do this.

Next year, we will have 200 personally owned iTouches and another 30 school owned ones (for grade 5s). We will make them optional for grade 5, I think.

Our students have open-slather, filtered access to just about everything (facebook is blocked, but not much else). There are no individual logins, but we have records of MAC addresses of iPods, and IP addresses can be traced via our wireless controller, so inappropriate use/abuse of bandwidth can be followed up (I caught two students downloading apps today that weren't school-related).

It's pretty liberal, but so far we haven't had any issues arise.

We aren't big on apps - majority of use is Internet-based, or reference/research-oriented: atlas/dictionary/calculator/notes/calendar etc, although I have a set of about 30 apps for my class from RSS Reader to StarVoyager, and some games thrown in for fun.

Whereabouts in Aus are you?
Deon,
We are moving to a blended school-owned/personal-owned environment this year. Our school currently owns almost 500 units but that wasn't enough to bring us to a full 1to1 so we're moving in the next weeks ahead to a model similiar to yours.

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