iPods being used as learning tools
by David Lazenby
Oct 10, 2010 | 1857 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joey Dill looks over the shoulder of David Norwood as the Walker High football coach checks out one of the iPods the school recently acquired for educational purposes. (Photo by: David Lazenby)
Joey Dill looks over the shoulder of David Norwood as the Walker High football coach checks out one of the iPods the school recently acquired for educational purposes. (Photo by: David Lazenby)
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In the past, high-tech playthings were frowned upon at schools where they were often considered a distraction.

However, two area schools have embraced the iPod touch, citing the educational applications of which the popular devices are capable.

During a teachers' conference held at Walker High School Thursday, educators got a chance to get their hands on the portable media players after watching a video made of a Jasper student as she spoke about how her iPod's rhyming dictionary application helped when it came time to write a poem.

Gina Scruggs, the school's librarian who presented a demonstration during the assembly, gave an example of how students in a chemistry class might benefit from the instruments with Internet capability.

The eight gigabyte devices have been loaded with several scholastic applications, including ones related to SAT study questions, mathematics, arts and geography.

Also the MP3-playing devices can be used by students to listen to podcasts, which might consist of a teacher's lecture or other educational audio.

Susan Chandler, the technology coordinator for Jasper City Schools, said a $13,000 grant from the Greater Birmingham Community Foundation helped pay for the iPod carts at Walker High and Memorial Park School along with their accompanying iPods. The school system spent a few thousand dollars more to pay for an accompanying iPad to be used in conjunction with the iPods and the educational applications, more commonly known as "apps."

School superintendent Robert Sparks said he is enthusiastic about the educational potential of the devices.

He's not alone.

Last month when Maddox Middle School teacher Vickie Wash won a $1,000 grant she applied for through a local television station, she said she planned to spend the money on podcast equipment -- such as iPods -- for her classroom.

Walker High Principal Jeremy Crigger also said he is excited about the future of iPods in the classroom.

"This is just another example of technology that we need to make use of," he said. "I think the sky is the limit and I think the kids are going to be excited about this."