Saturday, September 25, 2010

10 Ways to use iTunes/Podcast in the Classroom

I had a great learning moment the other day when a teacher I was observing was using iTunes to teach Current Events and World Geography.  The experience got me thinking about other creative ways that teachers could use iTunes in their classroom.  Hopefully you will find something that reaches across into your curriculum.  Apple does a great job of sharing some tips for using Podcast.  Know that you can subscribe to these podcast like you subscribe to a magazine subscription.  When a new edition is available it will be ready for you to download...and unlike a magazine subscription, these will be FREE!!!!

1.) Social Studies - Play the 7AM Daily News Summary by NPR current events podcast.  At the same time have students map the location of the events and keep in a log.  Refer back to the log if the news event comes up again later on in the school year.  This is what the teacher is doing at my school.  Another option is to show the nightly news.  NBC Nightly News can be downloaded as a video Podcast.  I always would ask my kids, "Did anyone watch the news last night?"  Now I don't have to ask, I can just show them!  You can find more NPR Podcast on their web page in their Podcast Directory which has news for all subject matter.

2.) Science - NASA has TONS of Podcast for studying Earth Space Science.  To find a Podcast to meet your needs, visit the NASA Podcast Directory.  It has tons of video and audio podcast to play in your classroom, focusing on anything from the Solar System, to Lectures, to clips of space.  Great real world application possibilities in your classroom.

3.) Mathematics - Yes, even math Podcast are available.  There is a huge list that you can sort through, but many of the Podcast fall under the description of video tutorials.  One I found that seemed to have several updates was MathTrain.TV podcast that discussed middle school mathematics and algebra.  There are also some Math Flashcard Podcasts

4.) Foreign Language - Remember those ads on TV where you could buy CD's to learn Spanish?  Well, now you can use Podcast to help teach students Spanish, or for that matter, several other foreign languages as well.  iTunes has a great array of Language Courses available for download.

5.) Civics - "60-Second Civics is a daily podcast that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nation's government, the Constitution, and our history. The podcast explores themes related to civics and government, the constitutional issues behind the headlines, and the people and ideas that formed our nation's history and government. 60-Second Civics is produced by the Center for Civic Education. The show's content is primarily derived from the Center's education for democracy curricula, including We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, Project Citizen, Foundations of Democracy, and Elements of Democracy."

6.) Arts and Humanities/Music/Social Studies - Kids listen to music like crazy these days and can memorize lyrics in their sleep.  So a good way to use iTunes is to download music from different time periods and share that with your students.  It is a good way to show how music represented the times...just have them listen to the lyrics and project the lyrics on the computer while playing the music in the background.  You can start by browsing through the music library for the different genres.  Now these will cost money, but it is a one time purchase and you can easily create a play-list for years to come in your classroom.

7.) English - There are several eBooks that you can purchase through the iTunes store.  But one thing to look for first are people who have recorded readings of the books.  It is like Books on Tape, but on iTunes.  Just searching through I was able to find Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, Aesop's Fables, Classic Children's Stories, Classic Short Stories, and Ralph Waldo Emerson Poetry for starters.  This might be a great way to help your students who struggle with reading so they can have the book available both visually and auditory.

8.) All Subjects - Teach AP?  There are several Podcast related to several different AP courses across many of the subject areas.  Some are done by students, others are done by teachers, but either way, it could be a neat way to supplement material...or have your students create a Podcast in AP.  AP Podcast Courses (This is the "A" directory, scroll down to find AP.

9.) Elementary Teachers - There are several options for children's books on iTunes.  Simon and Schuster Kids Video Podcast and Storynory - Stories for Kids.  Be a great supplement to the books you read in class and let students listen and watch books. 

10.) Physical Education - PEPod video podcast is intended for those who teach and coach the basic skills in PE and School Sport. Down load it to you PC or hand held device and use it as a resource to show children what they can achieve

Extra Podcast for You: Teaching with a SMARTBoard, Teachers Teaching Teachers, Technology Times Live, The Teacher's Podcast

All these podcast are only scratching the surface.  I highly suggest that you just browse through the podcast directory on iTunes and see what you might be able to use in your classroom or with your staff.  Many people have spent time creating podcast for people like us to use.  What is also great is that if you can't find a Podcast for something you are looking for, have your students create their own as part of a project. 

Happy pod-searching!!

iPad and iPhones

I am typing this post on my iPad, so we will see how it goes. I got an iPad for work along with other administrators in the district. The software we use will help streamline walkthroughs and gather data about what teachers are doing in their class. I spent a lot of the last week learning the eWalk software and creating templates. I will be using my iPad for eWalks as well so that I can gather data about technology integration within the high schools.

So now that I have an iPad, now what? How else can I use this tool to help my teachers and improve my own integration of technology? I did test the iPad out by putting it under a document camera and got a pretty good picture, so could I collaborate with a teacher to let them use an app in their classroom? Could teachers use their iPhones in the same manner; what apps could they use?

This same week I was assisting a teacher with a video contest she was going to start with her class. We were discussing how to get enough FLIP's for her students. Out of curiosity I asked the students who had a cellphone with a video camera...the response..about 80%. So why are we banning these tools again? With tools like Poll Everywhere and SCVNGR we should be utilizing these tools. I came across the video "Pay Attention" and showed it to one of the principal's. She is buying into the idea of using cell phones...with more discussion to follow before implementation, but at least the idea is gathering some movement.

How do teachers and students use the iPhone or other smart phones in the classroom? It will be something new for me to try and start, so what experiences have you had? Please share those with my readers and myself.