This semester, my students used iPod Touches to record video interviews with local experts as part of a research project. They used the iPods to make small edits and upload the videos directly to Youtube, and because the technology was so user-friendly, it required very little in-class training time. Although we only had two iPods per 40 students, many groups of students were able to check out a device more than once for their project.
As I have looked around in the past few weeks for other examples of using iPods in the classroom, most ideas seem to be based on a study-guide model, where students use it on their own to learn vocabulary, review notes, or listen to tutorials. Almost all of these suggestions assume that each student has an individual iPod. While these examples are certainly interesting, I am more interested in learning about interactive, collaborative uses for these devices in situations where not every student, or even every other student, has an iPod.
How might students work in teams to follow or create a self-guided tour? How can we ask students to use podcasts in a participatory rather than passive way? How can students share the devices to crowd-source research for a project? How could iPods help peer workshopping sessions? Or are iPods just too small to be useful for team-based learning?
Cathy Davidson's January blog post on iPads in schools has been on my mind all semester, and she makes a great argument for why, in her words, the iPod "is not a classroom learning tool unless you restructure the classroom." I could not agree more. She makes a great case for not only why we need to be intentional when we integrate technological tools into the classroom, but also why we need to listen to our students to learn how we might take advantage of these technologies, to make it truly student-driven pedagogy.
In the spirit of Cathy's post, I am hoping that I can brainstorm with you about how you have used or hope to use iPods or iPads for team-based projects, to start a discussion thread with concrete classroom strategies. What has worked? What hasn't? I would love to hear examples from your experience!