My school recently purchased a classroom set of Ipods and teachers are being encouraged to use the new devices – of course they are, the school just spent a bunch of money and doesn’t want it wasted! Unfortunately, they are not letting the students take them home.
I understand the hesitation toward allowing students to bring such expensive equipment home, but the benefit of the Ipod is its portability. I do not intend to use the Ipods in my classroom as I would much rather provide students access to full computers (by signing up for the computer lab) so they can access the class blog, podcasts, message board and other web resources. While the Ipods could be loaded with class podcasts or videos for students who miss class or students who need additional instruction, the limitations placed on the Ipods (that they can’t leave school) set up roadblocks for teachers to use the Ipods for remediation.
While some might argue that the Ipods could be used during instruction, my question is…for what BENEFIT? Loading a video on the Ipod limits the teachers ability to stop tape and pose questions to keep the students mentally engaged. The same could be said about audio. Research makes clear that the stand and deliver approach that would be mimicked by pre-recording lectures is not the most effective classroom interaction for teachers to adopt.
While the Ipods clearly have possible advantages, the main advantage (as far as I can see) would be in remediation of students who miss class or who are falling behind. Teachers are the leaders of instruction and simply having students plug into the Ipods during class time does not equal effective teaching – if anything it represents a serious step backwards in effective teaching.