It was one of those 'Oh Wow!' moments

I was working with a teacher today who was distracted by one of his Year 5 boys that was working slowly in his bookwork. He commented to me that the student found it difficult to write and just as hard to work on a computer. He was finding it challenging to get much work out of him at all. I suggested the iPad, and as I had one with me we called the student up. I asked him had he ever tried an iPad before... he had not!
I asked him to type a sentence about himself, his name, favourite sport etc. He started typing, see video below...

I looked at the teacher, whose jaw had dropped. He couldn't believe his eyes!
When I asked the student why did he think he could type so well on the iPad, he said he didn't know. But I think it is because his face is totally focused on one screen and he doesn't have to keep lifting his head from keyboard to monitor as you do with a computer. He was also able to edit a lot more quickly as students generally type a sentence, then look up and then delete the whole sentence if it is incorrect. This boy was able to see his mistakes as they happened and delete right then and there.
We also asked him to do the exercise he was having difficulty in writing on the iPad and he completed it in record time!

This has to be another argument for having iPads and iPod touches in the classroom! It can capture a reluctant learner to become enthusiastic, engaged and successful!

Go to to find out what iPod Touch and iPad apps I am recommending.

Music and Audiobooks in the Classroom

external image audiobook+again.JPGWhen I went back and taught in a classroom for a couple of weeks last year, I was interested to see how iPods would work in a classroom. But what did happen that I did not expect was how the students wanted to use the iPods. I knew they would be interested or curious especially if they haven't had much exposure to them before, but I was not prepared for their overwhelming interest in the music side of the iPod. They loved using them for the Audiobooks. The Belkin Rockstar 5 way splitter ($30) and headsets for $2.99 were a great addition to the reading programme. One group while they were working on their Stormbreaker activity listened to the Audiobook story on the iPod Touch (this was the students' choice as they had free reign over their decisions of what to do in Reading Choice time).

external image Copy+of+021.JPGBy the second day students were asking me if they could play music before school using the battery operated (or power) speaker system. So every morning they would set up the iPod touch on the speaker system and play music until the bell went, and then it was like automatic pilot, they would switch off the music and start their day's work.
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On the third day I noticed one of the students had a particularly great singing voice, so I showed her the iKaraoke (NZ$110). We hooked it up to the speaker system and she was away, so every morning as well as the music we were serenaded by this young lady.

But one particular use I external image Copy+of+056.JPGnoticed that sneaked in was students listening to music while they worked. In this photo, the student has just removed the head set to talk to me but he had been working away quietly listening to music.

The most interesting factor I noticed were the type of children who voluntarily used the iPods for music were the most, for a better word, 'rambunctious' lot who had the loudest voices in the class and the 'ones' that you noticed the most in the class. But when they were listening to the iPods, there was a noticeable silence.
These students were on task, doing their work and not bothering anybody else. I had no problem with them listening to music as they worked as that is something I like to do.
It just goes to prove that old adage 'Music does soothe the savage beast [sic]!'

Recording Audiobooks as part of the guided reading lesson

I worked with a wonderful young teacher at Willowbank school. She was recording the children's voices in Garageband while they read their book Aunty Mo's Kids by Jill Eggleton. They had recorded reading it in theatre style. Now they were adding sounds to it. While they were working together I came to a realisation and said to the teacher "Do you know what you are doing here? You have moved from the traditional teacher and students sitting on the mat guided reading lesson to the student centred, teacher facilitated using technology guided reading collaboration."
This teacher had been using all the 'Guided Reading' steps of responding to and discussing text
while the students were in front of the computer, reading their books, searching for words and sentences in context, recording voices and sounds, learning computer skills, collaborating together and creating an audiobook that they will be able to use in their classroom as an extra activity (with iPods) and share with other classes.
As I said to her, "this is another way of teaching and engaging children in learning, that you do not have to teach always in the traditional style. Your activity could also become your teaching time with the children."

As teachers we have to be brave and let go or adjust some of our traditional delivery methods to incorporate the use of technologies such as computers, cameras, iPods, IWB's, game consoles, or Flip videos. The children will be engaged, on task and learning, you as the teacher will see different aspects of your children as they become more animated and in control of their learning.