Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tried Some New Things Today!

I find that there is always something new to learn about the iPods and new ways to complete training with teachers and students. Today was definitely a day for both!

We have been administering the Speak Up Survey with our iPod students and can actually take the survey using the iPods. The trickiest part is logging in – the web address is quite long and difficult for the students to type in. I’ve tried having the students type in the address and also gone into classrooms well ahead of our scheduled time and logged in each of the iPods. Both are long and tedious tasks.

Well, lo and behold, you can sync Safari bookmarks to the iPods! Today I worked with a teacher that has a dedicated laptop just for sinking the iPods. We made sure that there were no other bookmarks in Safari first. I bookmarked the Speak Up Survey address in Safari, connected the iPods to sync, clicked the Info tab for each iPod and checked “Sync Safari Bookmarks.”

This took a little time upfront for me, but it worked like a charm. The students woke up the iPods, opened Safari, and tapped on the Bookmarks icon. They could then go to the bookmarks menu and tap on “Speak Up.” Then they simply had to find their school, select the survey, and enter the "secret word.” It was great! And now the teacher can easily add other bookmarks to the student’s iPods from her dedicated iPod laptop.

Over the past several months I have gone in to classrooms to train the students in creating oral fluency recordings on the iPods. I usually work with small groups of 5 or 6 students at a time. During learning centers, I can only get through 2 groups per day in a classroom. So it takes 2-3 days to get to all of the students in one class.

Today I tried something a little different. I brought some extra earbuds with microphones to the classroom today. Enough for one set of earbuds for each student to use during the training. Instead of working with a small group at a time, I trained the entire class. We went through the procedures and then I modeled. Next the students took a turn. They recorded for one minute, listened to their recording, and then recorded the same passage again and listened. It worked really well and we got the entire class trained in one session.

I’ll be going back next week for them to record again and learn how to use the Oral Reading Fluency Rubric to evaluate their reading!

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