Thursday, March 26, 2009
iPod, uPod, we all want iPods!
I had the opportunity to visit Susan Wells, the principal at Culbreth Middle School in Chapel Hill yesterday. My principal joined me in the visit allowing for a bit of a different perspective on the iPod's use in the classroom. Upon first talking with Ms. Wells, we were excited about the positive atmosphere she has set up for her school. She shares my philosophy of slowly implementing new ideas with staff before bringing the ideas to the kids. I appreciate her understanding of this and believe it was one of the reasons her implementation of iPods in the school has been so successful.
Culbreth has an ipod cart for every school team and several wireless access points around the building. Upon visiting classes, you'll see students working collaboratively on applications installed on the devices and a new excitement on behalf of the teachers. I was impressed to see how the students were working together and talking about the activities they were doing on the iPods. Not only are these great tools for individual work, but the petite design allows for easy collaboration in small groups.
Upon leaving, my principal and I had to get out the ipod we had and find the apps that related more on a high school level. I was pleasantly surprised at the quantity AND quality of many of the apps out there. We purchased a few and tried a few freebies, mostly in the area of math. I think the interaction that many of the apps have is what makes them a fantastic addition to the classroom. Yes, you can read about theorems and postulates in your book and listen to your teacher talk about them, but being able to actually manipulate them on the ipod is what takes learning up a notch.
This trip has caused us to rethink some things and to consider making iPod touch a tool in our school too. If you haven't explored this option yourself, I would highly encourage it. We both went in a little skeptical but came out totally sold on the idea.