Monday, June 15, 2009

An IPod, Sight Words, and Keynote = Learning for my 4 Year Old

My office mate introduced an idea to me this week and I couldn’t help but to run with it. The results were amazing. I have a wonderful 4 year old named Ethan. He is incredibly bright. He is already reading and writing. Needless to say (considering his age), Ethan’s favorite mode of learning is through an electronic device (of which he has plenty). It was suggested to me, by Mrs. Packer, to put his sight words in keynote (Mac’s version of power point), record my voice saying the words, upload them to the IPod , and hand it over. I did this and you would not believe the results. Ask a child to sit down with you and go over some flash cards and see how long you maintain their interest(I tried that first), and then try this method. I assure you the results you see will be impressive.
So imagine this; a room full of kindergarteners or even first graders all gathered on the carpet with IPods in their hands, hearing, seeing , and saying the words. Imagine the level of interest, retention rates, and not to mention the different learning styles you are accommodating.
Let’s take it a little farther. Imagine a history class in which students walk in the door to iPods preloaded and ready to go with the lecture of the day. The students immediately pick up the devices and get moving. Once they have finished listening and taking the necessary notes, the teacher is then ready to take over with a dynamic, interactive discussion, or Socratic questioning session. The students are learning through a medium that is exciting to them. They are allowed to move at their own pace, and the opportunity is provided for real, thought provoking feedback. The lectures can also later be uploaded to a learning management system like Moodle, or even iTunes for remediation purposes.
Technology in education provides so many avenues to reach and engage this generation of students. My question is how do we make the connection between 20th century educators and 21st century learners?

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