iPods in the Classroom

By: Dan Ponce
By: Dan Ponce

Rachel Patzwaldt wants her third graders at Scott Elementary in DeWitt to experience technology first hand. She is among the first teachers in the area to introduce the iPod to the classroom.

"It's something the kids are into," she said. "We need to incorporate technology, why not use iPods because the kids are interested in them."

Her students have pen-pals in the sixth grade. After they're done writing letters, they record themselves reading their letters right into the iPod using a special attachment.

Then Patzwaldt exchanges the iPods with the sixth grade teacher, who is also her roommate, and the sixth graders do the same thing for the third graders.

"We thought 'what a good way to incorporate technology with reading and writing skills?" she added.

Patzwaldt acknowledges that iPods are not cheap. In fact, the three iPods she's using for her classroom are actually borrowed from Michigan State University. But she recently was awarded an $800 dollar grant from the DeWitt Foundation, which she'll use to purchase her own iPods for the class.

Sherry McVay, the director of technology for Dewitt Public Schools, said iPods and other MP3 players are going to literally play a much bigger role than just listening to music.

"Not only is it quick and easy for a consumer, but it makes it quick and easy for us to apply it to a classroom," McVay said.

Patzwaldt said the next step will be incorporating the iPod in to a pod cast, which would involve putting recorded lessons on the internet, so students can listen to them whenever they want right from the iPod. In fact the DeWitt school district already has a pod cast for its council meetings.

"These kids are our future, they're going to be coming up with the next generation of technology, so I think it's best to give them the most advanced technology now to see how far they can take it in the future," Patzwaldt said.

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