There are many electronic tools for teaching and learning math and science in schools; however, the iPod Touch offers the opportunity for “Learning-in-Hand.”
These management and technical issues include how to name the iPods, recharging , syncing, accessories, play-lists, transferring apps, iTunes account, and many more.
Like all technology tools, classroom management is always an issue. Here are a few recommended ” Dos” tailored for a classroom set of iPod Touches.
Management for Success
The following are dos are designed to ensure smooth and effective classroom management.
Secure Storage – security is the key to using them for a long time. Unfortunately schools have become the target for theft of electronic devices, this problem requires serious consideration.
Syncing - ensures that all iPod Touches have the same software and supporting applications. This leads to the important fact that all iPods being used should be synced using the same computer to avoid any differences which may occur between computers.
Names – each iPod Touch should have its own unique name. Examples are – Science 01, Algebra 01, General Math 01, Physical Science 01, etc. Why is this important? When syncing each iPod Touch with a computer it will be easier to ensure each iPod is loaded with the correct software and applications.
Ear-buds – each iPod Touch should have an Ear-bud for listening during interaction with science or math applications. Sanitizing after or before use procedures should be in place. Sanitizing wipes are always a good thing to place on a list when parents ask what can they donate to the classroom.
Web Clips – both Safari and Leopard operating systems provide the ability to select websites or selected pages of websites which can be added to each iPod. This short cut allows students to visit supporting websites without the need to type in a URL.
Recharging - recharging ipods is always an issue. There are several products on the market for recharging a classroom set of iPods. The following is recommended based size of classroom set:
- 20 iPods – Economical choice is the ParaSync, which uses original Apple iPod connectors for docking iPods.
- 20 iPods – Apple/Bretford Case houses iPods in foam lined case for storage and charging.
- 40 iPods – Apple/Bretford Cart which has wheels for portability between classrooms and has foam lined storage when charging.
Play-lists – these are categories in which all applications should be loaded. The purpose of these play-lists is to make it easier for students to find the appropriate application needed for a specific lesson. Play-lists can be labeled as General Information, Period 1, Period 2, Math Club, Science Club, etc.
iTunes Account - load iTunes on the same computer used to sync the iPods. Having the iTunes account on one specific computer ensures the identification and password are located only on this computer. More than one computer with this information increases the opportunity for unauthorized access.
Consequences – this is an unfortunate factor which must always be considered when using technological tools with students. Student contracts, signed by students and parents are typically effective.
Sometimes I would use a digital flip camera mounted on a tripod and projected on a screen or whiteboard to watch students. I would start by showing specific aspects of the lesson on the screen using the camera. After the lesson started, I would adjust the view of the camera to the general direct of trouble some students. This served as an effective deterrent.
Free Math and Science iPod Touch Resources
Times Tables – provides several learning tools including a simple 6×6 grid of math multiplication facts, flash cards, an apple orchard demonstrating multiplication, sequential and random drill modes, and score tracking for multiple players (iTunes).
Science Quiz – provides quizzes for the following areas Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Zoology, Earth Science, Inventions, and Space Science (iTunes).
101 Science - challenges students in grades 5 – 8 with questions about Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, and General Science (iTunes).
Polar Sweep - reinforces relationships between rectangular coordinates, polar coordinates, and basic trigonometry with a dynamic educational interface. Students can sweep through the circle to see changing values and helpful diagrams of right triangles for common angles (iTunes).