iPod Touch in Elementary Classrooms..Need Ideas

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by phowler13, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. phowler13 macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2009
    4th grade teacher here and have a chance to write a grant to try to get a class set of iPod touches for my classroom. I'm somewhat new to ipods and this site (which I've found very helpful) and am curious how some of you could see this used. Thanks in advance...

    What I have in my room already:6 pcs with a limited ability to download my choice of software, a SmartBoard/projector.

    Some basic ideas I have:
    Games for +,-,%,x
    basic research
    Virtual Fieldtrips
    Is there a remote app I could use on the smartboard that would allow it to work almost as a wireless keyboard/tablet??
  2. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Would they be going home?

    I could see some sort of assignment thing on them for that.

    Personally...... it um, sounds like a recipe for disaster! LOL!!

    Don't get me wrong, there are lots of cools things to do on them, but as a parent i wouldn't want my school providing something like that my 4th grader. I'd want to know there wasn't web and you tube access. The virtual field trip and ebooks are cool - but do you have parents that actually try to limit their kids screen time?

    OK, that is unheard of today in the public school arena from what i can see - but how would you handle it when a parent said, NO? Do they get to have a choice on their student using it?

    I guess, well, personally, i'd not be excited about it.

    OH, and how is the socio-economic makeup of your school? Are the parents going to be jealous? (because, well, i don't have one yet! LOL!! and my 4th grader having one might tick me off ;)).

    I can see the possibilities...... just not sure as a parent i'm ready for that in the classroom. I kinda think we have lost focus on the 3 R's anyway. Heck, our school district has to cut $27 million out of it's budget this coming year - grant or not, i can see parents up in arms about something like that coming into the school.

    ANYWAY, i'll be curious to see what others have to say.
  3. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    I wouldn't suggest iPods, maybe netbooks? iPod touch isn't the easiest to type on, and it has a really small screen, which makes it undesirable for research. You can do a quick google or check your email, but you wouldn't want to read on it for hours. Same with the ebooks. Usually ebook readers have a larger screen. Unless you can find the apps you want in the free app store, buying apps for every student may get expensive in the long run. iPod touch can't play internet games because it doesn't support Flash. Also, if you're going to be using internet and have the screen on all the time, the battery life will be used up quickly. If you shop around the internet, you can find netbooks around $300, probably even less if you buy in quantity/ use education discount.

    Umm, 4th graders get access to notebook carts and computer labs, and I don't see how this is any different. I doubt that you're allowed to take school property home, just like you're not allowed to take the school notebooks home. And honestly, I think it's a little ridiculous if your child having a device that you don't have ticks you off. A lot of school have iBook or Macbook carts or iMac labs. Should the parents be pissed off because they're using a lesser computer at home? If parents are up in arms about this, I doubt it'd be because they're jealous of their 9 year olds.
    I don't think this would really be a parent's decision to make. There wasn't permission slips sent home for using notebook carts or computer labs, I don't see why parents would have the right to restrict iPod use that have far less potential for mischief.
  4. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    :apple:That is the one of the best ideas I have heard for :apple: in schools.:apple: You might want to jailbreak them to hide some apps like youtube etc that could become a distraction.
  5. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    Mine has a new Mac pro lab kinda crazy everything Apple even the big displays. I also forgot you could explore cities with google maps and street view.
  6. canadagrad macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2007
    I think you have an interesting idea to bring technology into the classroom, but I have to agree with the other posters that ipods for 4th graders come with many problems.

    In a way, I find the iPT to be kind of fragile with the glass font and I wonder if they wouldn't break. They would have to be recharged almost daily--how would you set them up to recharge 30 or so ipods every day? The screen is quite small to see and work from with respect to 4th graders using them for the types of assignments you suggest although I can see how it may work out well, too. I also think it would be problematic for you as a teacher to supervise so many students with small hand-held devices, as opposed to walking around and glancing at pages of paper with their work on it.

    I wonder if another poster's idea about netbooks wouldn't be better. If you bought 5 of so, you could put the students into groups and they would have a bigger screen to work from, and they could learn to work and problem solve with others. Or even tablets if that is feasible--you could add into your grant application that the tablets could be used for art projects, as well.

    I also wonder if a grant awarding body would look past the promotion of the iPT as a gaming device as apple promotes it, even though we all know that it can do much more than games.

    Just a few thoughts.
  7. phowler13 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2009
    Appreciate everyones thoughts so far, I think I should have been more clear about what I see it looking like and technology in the classroom as it is now.

    I realize that these will not replace books and pencils and paper and don't expect the kids to be writing or reading anything at length on them. Were looking at 10 year olds who have been born using technology and are very comfortable and responsible with it. I see them used in a "centers based"/group setting where I am am giving 5 -10 of them an assignment on them assisting them as well as the other children in the class who may be on computers or in reading groups, etc. These assignments on the ipod(this is one area where I am looking for creative and innovative ideas) may range from games to scavenger hunts, research, development of ideas etc.

    Per the netbook idea, We have a wireless lab of 26 thinkpads in our school now and they are a disaster to use. Take way too much time to start up/put away properly, loose wifi connection, mouse manipulation is tough for the kids. dead batteries, bulky, etc. I was just thinking ipods would be quick, easy, and very portable

    Parents, screentime etc aren't a problem, we have a filter at our school no youtube, etc. Not worried about them being fragile as I have been using the laptops for years now with no problems and drill the kids on proper care..

    So any more ideas would be appreciated and I am especially curious about thoughts on being able to use it as a remote/tablet for the smartboard. Is there a quick and easy app that I might try for this?
  8. vw195 macrumors 6502

    Dec 27, 2008
    Money would be better spent on netbooks or other cheap computers imo.
  9. armoguy94 macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2007
    Sorry, I think this is a terrible idea. You'll also get tons of complaints from parents because children will be complaining to them now that they want their own iPod Touches.. They learn fine reading normal books, and playing normal games.. an iTouch will make it harder to learn from. It's a distraction and it's unneeded.
  10. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I think Apple just came out with an app called "Remote Keynote," and I've also seen many apps that says they let you control the iPod from a computer or control a computer from an iPod. I have to say that personally, none of them sound "quick and easy," though it depends on how comfortable you are with fiddling with wireless networks, I suppose.

    If you are serious about this idea, I'd think the first step is to buy yourself an iPod Touch (if you don't have one already), then download some remote apps and test them out to see exactly what their capabilities are. Some things sound bad on paper but work better than expected once you try it, other things are the other way around. Start with the free ones, that'd give you a sense of what you can expect from a certain type of app / app description, then, if you see a paid app you think might suit your need, get in touch with the developers and ask if they have free codes available, that you'd like to try their app for educational use.
  11. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    And i'll have to strongly disagree that i think the parents SHOULD have input in this area. Especially at the grammar school stage. We shall have to agree to disagree....

    Kids get an insane amount of screen time outside school now - why add more while they are in school? Reports show that they get too much and it's not really helping them much.

    He asked for opinions.... i have a 9yo and a 13yo. There is a huge difference in them - and I considered getting the 13yo a iPT. I"m holding out for a netbook of some sort for her - it's a better fit.

    The other thing with the iPT is that it's a very highly desirable device. I'm not sure i'd want the hassles of making sure they didn't walk. Because they will....

    Back to the OP - i'm pretty sure that the dock port isn't accessible to software apps write now, so i'm not sure on the digital whiteboard. It would have to have a web interface of some sort.

    And on the topic of digital whiteboards.... a friends school spent $30,000 per classroom a few years ago on them. The same year they cut 3/4 of the bus routes because they couldn't afford to run them......

    I"m 99.9% sure i'm going to come at this from a totally different perspective than almost anyone else that posts in this thread though.... but i can have an opinion right?
  12. phowler13 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2009
  13. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    Sounds like an expensive way to teach kids something with way too much built in distraction.
  14. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
  15. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I have to agree with not being able to think of a lot of uses for the Touch in a classroom, primarily because it strikes me as such a "personal" device. And I also agree that it is hard to give out ideas w/o knowing a great deal of detail about the school where it's going to be used -- details which may not be wise to give out in a public forum like this. I think members of this forum could be helpful if the OP had specific technical goals in mind, like "Is there an app that does X?" But if you are asking forum members to brainstorm how a Touch could be used in a classroom, then I think debate over whether a Touch belongs in a classroom at all would inevitably become part of it.
  16. vkstudios macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2009
    Great Idea!!

    For starters I think it would be a great idea. There are plenty of free programs and downloadable content that the possibilities would be endless. There are many educational games that could be used, many educational pod casts, lots of good information to be researched.
    As far as accessing programs that might be a distraction couldn't just place those application on the 'last page' of pages? Not sure, just a suggestion.
    Good luck with this venture. Please post back and tell us how it all pans out.

  17. Lopez.T.H. macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2005
    I'm going to have to side with some other users and say this is not a very good idea/ proposal at all. Coming from the public education system, where 3 years after I left the elementary school, the school district spend tens of thousands of dollars on an Apple iBook for each 4th, 5th, and 6th grader in each elementary school. The idea was good on paper, but the execution was horrible. The iBooks did prove to be a distraction to most students, which led to the program being shut down after 2 years. Plus the technical upkeep and possible repairs seriously weighs on the decision. And sure, there are plenty of free apps, but the amount of educational ones are very small.

    [/end rant]

    All in all, its just not worth the trouble or money...
  18. Ivan P macrumors 68030

    Ivan P

    Jan 17, 2008
    Why would you jailbreak to hide YouTube? If you go into Settings -> General -> Restrictions, any unjailbroken iPod with 2.0 or above gives you the ability to hide Safari, YouTube, explicit music and the ability to buy music and apps.
  19. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    What good would that do? It's not all that difficult to flip through the pages to the last one. :D

    Just don't load any "distracting" apps onto the iPod at all. Although some of the most "educational" stuff can be a major distraction. Take wikipedia, for example. You can use it to look up information for a class report, and then you find an interesting tangent... and suddenly you look up and realize you haven't got enough time left to actually write up the report. :p
  20. queshy macrumors 68040


    Apr 2, 2005
    I know you don't want to hear this, but I think iPod touches would be very low yield as a learning tool.

    Invest the money in better books, learning tools, other equipment, etc. The iPod touch is mostly a toy, hence "the funniest iPod ever" slogan.
  21. 4DThinker macrumors 68020

    Mar 15, 2008
    Obviously a hot topic! I'm related to a few 4th grade teachers and have a great deal of respect for your ambition. Every possible problem is simply something to look forward to. So is every possible gain. If you go into it as an experiment you may become the nation's leader on using pocket tech in the classroom. You may also have to document a failed experiment but gain a good case for netbooks or one-laptop-per-child PCs. I say go for the grant, get the Touch's, and keep us posted about how it goes. I teach furniture design to college kids, and run experiments like this periodically. We don't really know how well new technology works out until we get it in and run the experiment. Sometimes it take a year of failed exercises to discover the optimum uses.

    Good luck.
  22. hlr element macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2009
    i'm surprised that you could get a grant for this but w/e. For 4th grade i'm not sure how much you could teach them. Shakespear books are on the app store, there are many basic math programs too. Just go to the itunes store and check out the education section. That'll answer you question.
  23. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    i agree

    i mean please tell me how a bunch of ipt would be a better experience than a movie for virtual field trips? or even a computer connected to a display?

    as for math games...how would this be better than say a whole bunch of small dry erase boards and an overhead projector or once again, a computer hooked up to the projector?

    i just dont see how teaching a class with 4graders on ipods would be effective at all. very unwise use of taxdollars imo
  24. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I'm trying here, but I seriously can't think of one reason why a 4th grader needs an iPod touch. I figure they don't need the internet part for any reason (or if they do, not on such a small screen), they don't need it to listen to music or audio books, if they're going to watch a movie, it should be done on a smart-board or a projector so it's easier to see, so all that's left are the apps.

    IF you can find a killer app for a 4th grader, then maybe it's worth it, but you have to ask yourself, is it really worth the cost for that program ($200 for the iPod plus any costs for the program).

    Personally I think you'd be better off investing in paper and books.

    I tried as hard as I could to come up with a legit idea, but the best I had was using it to teach them how to program on, but they should start with a computer...
  25. Fonzijr1964 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    well there are apps for manipulation of computers via iPod useing VNC but in

    my opinion and i know u really dont want it. As a student i think these devices are for entertainment and maybe in the future this is what something like the iPod touch could be used for but now its more of a novelty to wow people.

Share This Page