Mr P’s iPod blog

A teacher’s record of the implementation of iPods in a grade 3-4 class

We’re Closed Now

May 12, 2007 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

I am no longer posting to this blog as the project with which it was associated is finished. You may however be interested in checking out my current blog over at My Other Blog.

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Even The Parents Are Getting In On The Act

September 5, 2006 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

One of my colleagues is using a unit to make a record of the oral reading of her students. To do this she has enlisted that help of a couple of parents to actually make the recording. On talking with one of these parents I remarked as to the need to wait a couple of moments before beginning to talk as the iPod needs time to start up. When she bought the iPod back the parent noted that she had actually begun to record before the child arrived, recording the child’s name and then paused the recording till the child was ready. This meant that recording the child could start virtually straight away without the stress of having them wait for cues. It also meant that the recording was clearly identified for later which as noted previously can be quite a problem as the iPod fills up between downloads.

I’m Feeling Flat

September 4, 2006 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Having in a previous posting bemoaned the fact that not too many other teachers seemed interested in the iPods, today walking into school with one of the prep teachers I was asked if the iPods could be borrowed. Not a problem I said and the fellow teacher accompanied me to the room. Picking up the first unit and starting it up I saw that battery was almost flat. A quick check of most of the others revealed much the same problem. Fortunately the staff member involved didn’t need the iPod until later in the day so a quick charge was in order before a couple of my students delivered one after lunch. The iPod was being used to record oral presentations of the preps involved. A neat idea as on replay to the children through the iTalks, (probably not the bestest of presentation formats), the children almost universally commented that they didn’t know that they “sounded like that”.

Podcasts From Around The Globe

September 1, 2006 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

In order to get the children to become even more critical of their own efforts, (and to get the three non-iTalk iPods into action, one other is not functioning at all), I have downloaded some podcasts from a couple of other sources including the SG Show, Room 208, The Downs School and Podkids Australia. To get the children started I played a couple of excerpts from these podcasts and a couple more via the IWB speakers.  The children were quite interested to listen in to them though they commented that a couple of Scottish “casts” were a bit hard to understand so we settled on the ones listed.

As there are limits to downloads at school I used the broadband at home to connect to iTunes and collect some episodes. When I came to upload to the iPod I found that only the episodes of the podcasts I had subscribed to were uploaded to the iPod. Having gone back to subscribe to the missing shows I the episodes were soon iPod bound.

Missed Opportunities

August 25, 2006 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

We went off to camp for the first three days of this week. This time it was to a farm based camp with my grade and the other five grades in the unit, (120 students in all). As usual the children were very excited. To ensure the children had a chance to interact with as many others as possible the grades were mixed around so that the camp groups were a mix of children from each of the grades.

As usual I had in mind to take the iPods however this time the preparation and discussion with the children hadn’t taken place so most didn’t know that I had them with us. In retrospect, this was a big mistake on my behalf.

Our first activity was a foray out onto the farm and some interactions with the cows and sheep. The children were given the chance to move some cows from one paddock another and then feed them some hay. At a break I asked one of my children, Will to do a vox pop from the paddock which he readily agreed to. His reflection was really neat and then he asked a fellow student from another grade a couple of really interesting questions. I was quite chuffed.

The next activity was canoeing however in this group there was only one of my students and, well I could have got her to do some recording but the opportunity was lost in the learning of the canoe skills and then the need to get back to the camp for the next activity. From there, things went downhill and time and the moment seemed to pass even more quickly such that now back from camp we have only the one original sound file. This is disappointing and seems to suggest that maybe I am not as tuned into this whole iPod thing as much as I thought I was. Next time I must ensure that I tell the children that the iPods are available.

Having said this however the children have written some fine reflective pieces about the camp structured as a newspaper report at our class blog at Middle P Prattlings.

Casted Again

August 21, 2006 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

I can breathe easy again as podcast 4 is now up and available, albeit a few days after Pete’s deadline :)

Pressure Relieved Under Pressure, (sorta).

August 18, 2006 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Given the post by Peter on Prattlings advertising that our next podcast 4 would be up on the 18th of August I knew that I had to get my act together. Seeing as how the files were all on the Mac I decided to use Audacity on the Mac to assemble the program. (I am still having trouble getting Garage Band to upload an iPod sound file without it sounding like the chipmunks had invaded. These despite having seen the Apple demonstrators simply drag and drop just such a file and then use it to develop a podcast file.)

To start to involve the children in the process and to make the process less reliant on me I showed some of the children some basic Audacity editing and set them to removing ums and ahs and silent spaces. They took to this like the proverbial duck with water.

Come the end of the day I took over. I was almost finished by the time the cleaner came to hustle me out of the school. Today I came back to finish the job which I did in no time flat and I soon had the mp3 file being mixed.

Imagine however my horror when I went to play the file and the file was full of silence. Around two hours went down the gurgler in less than two minutes. This has not been the first time that I have been let down by Audacity on the Mac. I shall have to make sure that I get the problems with Garage Band and the iPod ironed out post haste or find out where the glitch in the Mac/Audacity lies.

Anyway having transferred the sound files back to the PC and having spent the two hours again stitching together and re-editing the files I am now able to publish the cast. Phew!!!!!!!!

Under Pressure Indeed

August 14, 2006 by · Comments Off · Uncategorized

I just checked in on our classroom blog, Middle P Prattlings to find that one of my students has put the pressure on by advertising to the world that our next podcast, podcast 4 will be uploaded by the 18th of August. Now that is something rather different, the students giving teachers a deadline. How will I react, (now was it the dog that ate my mp3 file??)

Can I Have A Loan Of (My) iPod

August 14, 2006 by · Comments Off · Uncategorized

Just when I bemoan the fact that I seem to be the only one working with the iPods at school when I get two calls in the one day from my colleagues requesting use of three or four. Hey there, as in the words of the Moving Pictures song, WHAT ABOUT ME??? Actually it is really nice to be seeing some action with them.

One was to use them in the aforementioned oral reading record activity. This was pretty neat however the second idea is even more interesting. The teacher involved, (a 1st year graduate no less), has this idea of getting some of her children to take an iPod around the school to interesting spots and then narrate a description of some of the things at this site. The iPods would then be passed onto other classmates who would use the clues as narrated to find special items located at each site. Fascinating idea indeed, I shall tell you more as things develop.

I Talk Under Water, Not!!!

August 7, 2006 by · Comments Off · Uncategorized

Today we went on an excursion out and about Geelong. Our purpose was to look at some of the changes that have taken place in Geelong since white settlement. I had prepared a focus sheet that highlighted a number of significant buildings that we were to walk past or to. As usual now we took the iPods with us though with no real preparation as to what we might record this time. It was again interesting to see a couple of the iPodders holding their iPod up to take in the 1960’s film that we viewed, (I am not sure what they hoped to capture but we will talk about this tomorrow).

One other student obviously had decided that recording was preferable to hand writing notes and she regularly took herself to one side to take oral notes in response to the focus sheet. This was entirely off her own bat. I will be interested to hear what she has recorded and see what she will do with the material.

At the very end of our walk around Geelong I decided to take in a board walk that runs around a swimming area at Eastern Beach. About 50m from the end of the walk there was a gasp from behind before another child breathlessly told us all that one of the students in charge of an iPod had somehow managed to pop the iTalk off of the top which had then quite neatly fallen in between the cracks of the boards and into the briny…….. Alas there was little anyone could do and the iTalk is now chatting with the fishes. This does point out yet again the problems that having the sleeve on the iPod causes for recording. Maybe we need a large rubber band around the whole iPod/iTalk unit to hold it together?