For educators looking for songs that relate only to their subject area, The Green Book of Songs and Subjects allows users to find songs by theme and/or topic. An annual subscription is $19.95, and if educators type in the code “grace” into the coupon box, they will receive a $10 discount.
Educators also can receive free music for iPods or iPhones during Apple’s free music Tuesdays.
For grammar, history, geography, and math songs, educators should visit Audio Memory, she said.
But songs aren’t the only resources on iPods that can help students. According to Poli, audio books are a great way to help ESL students improve their listening and comprehension skills, vocabulary, and word pronunciation.
Audio books also can help model reading fluency for students who struggle, she said. They allow students to follow along with written text to reinforce written language skills, and they enable students to listen and learn at their own pace.
“I had one student in my class who had to go to the hospital when we were reading A Wrinkle in Time in class,” Poli said. “What was I supposed to do? Tell him to forget about reading it? That wasn’t going to happen, because he can’t be denied learning. Maybe I was supposed to stop class and go back just for him? That was not going to happen, because I have to keep up with my curriculum. By having an audio book, he could read and listen along, without missing anything.”
Poli said educators can purchase audio books either from the iTunes store or by going to AudioBook Builder, and for $10 AudioBook Builder will import all tracks into a single audio book track.
Another tool that can work with iPods is a voice recorder called the Belkin Tune Talk, which is built specifically for iPods and attaches to the base. Poli believes this is beneficial for ESL students because they can record themselves working on oral language skills and practice their pronunciation of words.
Once recorded on the iPod, the audio “can be used anywhere,” said Poli.
A site that Poli likes to use when creating lessons using the voice recorder is http://iteslj.org/questions, which provides more than 2,000 conversational questions for ESL students on 33 different topics.
Poli said students also can import any recorded file and then create a podcast.
For educators, the voice recorder can be helpful when recording directions for students, reading a test for students, archiving thematic lesson plans, recording questions and analysis on student progress during student and teacher conferences, recording study guides, and dictating oral exams.
One example where students used the voice recorder was during a field trip to the Museo del Barrio in New York City. Before the voice recorder and iPods, Poli said her students visited the Metropolitan Museum and had only pens and paper to answer questions on their experience–and they found it difficult to carry these materials around. However, at the Museo del Barrio, students took their portable iPods and created podcasts highlighting their visit.
“There are just so many resources that go beyond this: free educational applications, dictionaries, free downloadable educational video, downloadable podcasts from other teachers and students–it’s just amazing,” she said.
Poli ended the webinar with a warning to educators that, while the iPod seems like a great idea, it also takes maintenance, such as charging the battery and continually updating the software.
Because Poli has 40 iPods for her students, she uses a Bretford iPod cart, which stores and automatically charges and updates each iPod every day at the end of classes.
Thanks to Poli’s success during this trial period–success that includes improved student attendance and test scores–her district is planning to purchase an additional 300 iPods, and it plans to give an iPod Touch to each incoming freshman in the newly built high school, she said.
International Society for Technology in Education
Grace Poli’s web site
iPod in education: The Potential of Language Acquisition
Apple Learning Interchange
More resources for the iPod
Foreign language instruction
Discovery Education video streaming
Visual Learning Company
iRead (iPod and iPhone apps for education)
Note to readers:
Don’t forget to visit the Empowering Education Through Technology resource center. Integrating technology into the classroom can be a challenge without the right guidance. Go to: Empowering Education Through Technology