Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting started with iPods or iPads

If you are just getting started with iPods/iPads in the classroom (even with just one or two for the whole class to share) I highly recommend checking out Tony Vincent's excellent site on using handheld computers in education. He's been writing about this since 2002 so has some excellent perspective on the topic! If you are new to using iPods, check out this post with lots of tips and tricks and this one with do's and dont's.

One thing he recommends is to get cheap earbuds for each student. Although this will work for most purposes, if you are planning on using iPods that do not have a built-in microphone to record student voices, you will need earbuds with built-in microphone (2nd or 3rd generation iPods) or an add-on microphone (first generation iPods). The cheapest Apple earphones with the built-in microphone are not very comfortable, particularly for kids, but more comfortable ones are more expensive. The iPad, however, and newer iPods (4th generation) have a microphone built in to the body of the machine, so you can forgo the extra microphone.

Much as kids love iPods, they are difficult for some to use. Kids who are visually impaired will find some activities difficult because the fonts can be very small. In this case, the iPad may work better. There are some great activities for kids who have fine motor difficulties that will help them work on those skills but, of course, they will find many other activities difficult because they have fine motor issues.

Another site worth checking out is iPods in Education as it includes links to sites with lists of recommended apps.