Saturday, September 14, 2013

Blog Post 2: Handheld Devices

Today, technology is all around us.  It is very common to see kids of all ages using some type of handheld device. Teachers are even using handheld devices in the their classroom.  Are you one of them?  I am a Kindergarten teacher who uses iPods and iPads in her classroom.  I use them as part of my literacy stations and in my math work stations.  There are so many wonderful apps out there that can be downloaded and used in the classroom.  Handheld devices are definitely a great technology tool to use in the classroom and in a library setting. I found this wonderful article, “iPod Implementation in the Elementary Grades” by Stephanie Hinshaw Hatten.  It provides great useful ways in implementing them into your classroom.  
Hatten (2012) states that you should teach the students how to properly handle iPods and use them.  The best way to do this is by training and practice.  Routines need to be established especially in taking them out to getting started then to putting them away correctly.  The training and practice takes place over days with the basics then more details and advance features can be added to the practice over time.  Hatten recommends that students should not use the internet or the devices’ recording capabilities when first starting with an iPod training. Hatten (2012) research found the following:
It’s important to train teachers and students and establish best practices. Often we think we need to use new technologies every lesson to be successful. But successful integration is about quality, not quantity. (p.30)
Then after training and practice then you want to set up iPod stations or centers where students would be able to work with iPods independently so that teachers could work with other students.  
Technology should be used as a learning tool and every child should be given the opportunity.  Devices should be giving to all students and even the ones who cannot sit still or maybe need some motivation.  Hatton also states that we should not withhold learning with technology when punishing students.  
When looking for apps, teachers need to be aware that they will need to update, revise and re-evaluate them often.  Hatten suggests to create different app folders in order to have differentiated iPods for your diverse learners.  Let the students vote and select their favorite apps by including them in the process you are motivating and engaging them in learning.  Strategic games could also be included in your app folders since they can be used to teach problem-solving skills but of course that depends on the teacher.  

As a future librarian, I could see using iPods in many ways in my library.  I would use them along with QR codes for scavenger hunts of books, author studies, characters or even quotes from different books.  Students would scan the QR code and receive the clue and then answer the question and go to their next clue.  The students with the most points could win free books or they get to assist in creating the next scavenger hunt. The other ways to use iPods would be by downloading podcasts of author chats, current events, historical events, and great teacher/classroom tips and even for me to hear information from other librarians on simple tricks and tips for taking my library to the next level.  Students could also use the iPod as a Nook and by having lots of downloadable stories on them for the kids to read.  Study guide apps would also be downloaded to assist students with homework.  I would also set up a iPod station just for the kids to have access on them just for the apps for learning or even for fun! Students would even be allowed to check them out for personal or school use.
The use of iPods in the library as a handheld device are endless and it is exciting time for students and librarians.  They are definitely a great technology tool for education!

Hatten, S.H. (2012). iPod Implementation in the Elementary Grades.  Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(7), 30-31.

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