At Somerset Elementary and other schools in the West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan district, the iPod Touch has taken classrooms by storm, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. For kids there, math and spelling activities that used to seem, well, booooring have a sudden allure on an iPod. This was clear on a recent morning in a room filled with students raptly tapping, scrolling, and swiping. Fourth-grade teacher Jean Stai had to impose little discipline as her kids lost themselves in Word Salad, a vocabulary program, TanZen, a geometry app, and States and Capitols, among others. Her biggest challenge appeared to be prying the kids from one app so they’d switch to another. The students were handed sheets with short, personalized lists of apps each had to try. "They’re so engaged," Stai said. "Suddenly, it’s not so horrifying to study your facts tables. It is like a game. What would be tedious with paper and pencil is no longer so with bright colors and things moving around." Somerset recently obtained an iPod Touch mini-lab of sorts–consisting of a storage-and-charging cart on wheels with dozens of the players, along with a laptop for downloading educational apps and transferring them to the players. Teachers take turns checking out the cart one or more times a week and handing out the charged-up iPods to students for some high-tech learning that, to the kids, feels a lot like playtime. Stai is not yet convinced iPods will have substantive, lasting educational value. But she doesn’t discount the students’ excitement in the two months or so she has been using iPods in class. "Enthusiasm is important," she said…

Click here for the full story

About the Author:

eSchool News