So far so good with the trial of integrating iPod Touches into the classroom and the student’s learning. The students are really eager to use these devices and while there is a large number of things we would like to do on them and can’t, they have certainly been well used.
This post is just a quick rundown on some of the key apps we are using so far. I am very open to using a huge variety of different apps for a whole range of purposes. That is one of the great things about the app store concept, you can just go and search for an app to fulfill any particular purpose and there is almost always exactly what you need. Unfortunately some do cost but there some really good free apps that are worth looking at. At this point in time I am not looking at purchasing any apps for classroom use. So here is to the top four freebies we are using.
Firstly, the WordPress app. Great app providing the ability for students to create and write new posts in their eportfolios. Works really well once the students blog log-in details are set-up. Easy to add images that are stored in the image library either synced from iPhoto or saved from the web including our Flickr account. My only gripe with this app is that the latest version, which offers some great new features, is not compatible with the WordPress blog service we use so we are still running the old version (1.1).
iTalk is a great voice recording app that works really well. The sound quality is excellent and the big start/stop record button makes it really easy and intuitive to use. The app requires a syncing application on your computer which allows you to download your recording through your wireless network. The app requires that you purchase a headset that allows you to record onto your Touch any while this expense may put you off recording, it is well worth the money especially with Skype for the iPhone/Touch being released last week.
Safari for the Touch works extremely well but it is an app called Bookmarks that we use which really adds a lot more functionality and focus to our web browsing. It is a Delicious bookmarking app allowing your to stay logged in to your Delicious account and access your links. It does just what it claims to do. You can set it up so that you can save bookmarks to your Delicious account but I haven’t had a need or the time to investigate that yet.
Briefcase Lite is an app that allows us to connect to any computer on our network including our server. This is great for transferring or retrieving files and viewing them on the Touch. Most file are able to be viewed including Pages, Keynote, PDF, movies, images etc. The real potential of this is for those families in the class who do not have broadband at home to view the multimedia content in the eportfolios. A simple process will enable the content to be transfered to the Touch and then taken home for sharing. While we have not used it for this prupose yet, I know a couple of parents I have mentioned this to are keen to give it a go.
So all is well. Some of the potential is being realised but not all of it. Hopefully the upcoming holiday will give me some time to play and explore some more apps.
I couldn’t hold off any longer and got myself an nice new 8GB 2nd generation iPod Touch. So far so good, in fact, one could say that we are very good friends already.
The online App Store has become my latest time waster as I have waded through the hundreds of apps available. Only one purchase so far, AirSharing, allowing you to transfer files wirelessly from your computer and view them on the iPod. Files such as all the iWork formats, MS Office, web archives and a huge range of audio and video files. Much easier than emailing the file to yourself.
Posting this from the WordPress app which makes blogging a breeze while on the go. Even if you are not connected you can save your post to the iPod and publish later when you are back online.
A lot more investigating and playing on this gadget to be had to really investigate how it is best used to support teaching and learning. I am sure it has a place!
Just to follow up on my last post, just read this article discussed in Ubiquitous Thoughts, a blog dedicated to thoughts and ideas about teaching, learning, and ubiquitous computing.
The article: An iPod Touch for each student? School would tap it as learning tool, discusses a middle school (Grades 6, 7 & 8 = Year 7, 8 & 9) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which could become the first in the country to give an iPod Touch to every teacher and student…
The article is not directly related to the use of the Touch for eportfolios at all, in fact the schools seem a bit vague on how the iPods will be used! Oh the potential though… read the full article, and think of what you could do if every student and teacher at your school had one…
Photo courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michellzappa/
Having just made my breakout selections for uLearn 08, I was pleased to see 3 sessions dedicated to the use of mobile phones and other portable technologies.
I am particularly interested in this breakout: Using the I-Pod touch to instantly inform parents of their child’s learning… by Paul Wright.
I see a huge potential in how mobile technologies can contribute to this area and it relates closely to some of the core beliefs I have about ePortfolios. The ability to share, for the purpose of receiving relevant and constructive feedback to improve learning, can only really happen if the learning is shared or made available almost immediately.
The web can make his happen. A blog post with embedded media takes minutes and then it’s there, ready to share. But a web based portfolio does not necessarily mean that parents will view it and share in the learning. And if they do, will they leave a comment? Will they view the learning with their child?
The physical presence of a portable device, like an iPod touch, could significantly change this. A child bringing home an iPod containing their learning gives an opportunity for sharing, not dependent on a broadband connection, taking only on a few minutes of time with mum or dad. Feedback is instant. Praise here and a suggestion here. Done.
If I think of a typical Year 3 child that takes home a reader to read with mum or dad. Why not slip an iPod Touch into the reading folder too and share some learning?
I look forward to this breakout to see how successful the pilot programme has been.
Photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nirak/
My earlier post about the iPhone and its suitability to be the hub of the ePortfolio or even your PLE, has taken another turn as the Apple rumour mills get into the “What’s going to be available for Christmas 2008?” mode.
9to5mac.com this morning wrote UK report claims iPhone nano for Christmas on their website. Pictured above, the phone will cost Â£150 and be available on prepay. Sounds promising if it is to be believed.
This would certainly get me interested as the iPhone in its current pricing configuration is not really achievable for use in education and therefore in my ePortfolio plans. But as prepay and a one off purchase price, that would be great… if it were only true…
Just like the MacBook touch rumours… or here. Looks to good to be true, but wouldn’t it be cool?!