Teaching Screenagers

Teaching Screenagers
My life in the fastlane

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reading on an iPod, love it and hate it.

So this week my period 6 students read A Christmas Carol using the iPods with a program called iFlowReader. The kids took to it right away, took us less than 5 minutes to get set up with our readers. It is really cool that the program remembers where they left off from the previous read. The kids could change the background and the font to make it easier for them to read. What was interesting this week is to watch them be so engaged. We have had many visitors come to class and my kids don't really notice them come and go because they are busy reading. What I find a challenge at this point is to figure out the pacing. We have a lot to read in a short amount of time and the students are spending entire periods engrossed in the text. Nothing wrong with that, but it is difficult to access what we need to do as a support them when all they do is silent read and generate a few notes. So this weekend I have sent home copies of two chapters so we can respond in class as well as in notes or on Edmodo.

I think the greatest change for me over these past few weeks is how I address my planning. How can I use technology to enhance not supplant good instruction.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 1, Learning how to record

Today students learned how to use the iTalklite app. What fun we had last week learning how to record and discuss that new word of the week, prosody. We are looking to continue our work with fluency this week. My classes are doing a great job learning how to record and save their work and create files on the iPod. It is a little hectic with 3 periods using the tools per day, learning how to create files and respecting the space of others.
It was suggested we pilot with just one class, but honestly, which class would I choose when they all have something to bring to the table.

This past week we took our assessment using the iPod. We recorded ourselves reading the selection, then students could go back and listen to the piece, stop when they needed to and used it as a tool to help them better understand the story. Although we are still tallying the scores, classes are definitely improving in the area of reading comprehension. One class showed a reading comprehension score improvement of over 30 percent. The implications of the additional vocal practice is promising.

This week one class will read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens on the iPod. How amazing that a 19th century piece will be read and studied using 21st century tools.

My other two classes will continue with reading text in class, but also writing their own version of "The Night Before Christmas" and recording it using iTalk. Eventually we will create movies but not just yet.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Week 1 iPods arrive in our classroom

Well the day has finally arrived and my students have their iPods. We spent some time setting procedures and routines and what I have already learned is we need to be flexible and have back up plans. For example, how do we move forward when some iPods lose their internet capability? We need to allow more time for collection and organization... etc.
But here is the coolest part of my days so far.. the question always comes up, "Really, Class is over already?" and the joyous part is I feel the same way. This week we are using two very simple apps, Scribble Lite to respond and iTalk lite to record our voices. So far, we are using this as a fluency device. Students are reading the text into the iPod, and then listening back to what they read. It is so funny to hear them read and re record without even asking them to. "Mrs. Ilko, I sound funny!" is the response I get this week. We have discussed terms like prosity and fluency with new meaning.