Give ‘Em the Technology (but don’t dare train them how to use it)

 iPod Touch  Comments Off on Give ‘Em the Technology (but don’t dare train them how to use it)
Nov 032009

As mentioned in my earlier post, we all received brand new 16G iPod Touches today at my TTL (Technology Teacher Leader) meeting.  Right at the beginning of the meeting we were given a form to fill out and we approached the table where our regional Instructional Technology Specialists were sitting and traded the form for a shiny, new iPod touch.

Along with the iPods we were given a paper with step-by-step directions on how to set up our district email on the device.  We received training on how to register the device with the district’s wireless network and nothing else.  When the presenter asked if people wanted to set up their email, one of my colleagues who works at ETG (Educational Technology Group–an office downtown) jumped in and said “there’s a piece of paper for that!”  (I clapped–it would have been more time wasted for me!)

I was tweeting with another colleague of mine in the meeting.  We couldn’t believe that this was a room full of ‘Technology Teacher Leaders’ who couldn’t set up their email accounts by following step by step directions!

And so is the problem with how technology is introduced into schools…..  “Here’s this great tool, guys.  Don’t expect us to teach you anything more than how to turn it on!”

I am SOOO excited by the possibilities for podcasting and all of the amazing applications I can use with my students.  I, luckily, have experience with the product since I already have an iPhone, and I am aware of all that the device can offer due to my PLN on Twitter and the IEAR Ning, a community dedicated completely to using these devices in the classroom.

But what, I ask, are a group of people who can’t figure out how to turn the device on and off or set up an email account with clear, precise directions provided do with such a powerful device?  I can’t imagine much.

While completing my Masters as an Instructional Technology Specialist I took a whole course called “Technology Planning.” When spending $199 each on over 100 devices, there should be some kind of plan in place for how these devices will be used.  We weren’t given any guidance as to how the district even envisioned them being used!  You can read my post on planning for technology to see how I believe new technology should be introduced into a school or a district.

Hopefully there will be follow-up training….

For more information on using iPod Touches in the classroom, check out this amazing list of resources:

Diigo public bookmarks tagged with ‘itouch’

plan image courtesy of juhansonin on Flickr

Jun 302009

A Band Without

So I was sitting in the Blogger’s Cafe and realized that the person sitting near me had a guitar out. He was strumming and noticed my ‘Rock Star’ ribbon on my badge. He then explained that he was playing guitar on his iPod touch and oh boy was I intrigued! I went over to investigate. Before I knew it I was playing along.

How Does One Use This Toy for Education?

Kevin Honeycutt ( says that he teaches on the iPod touch and then shows the kids the guitar, explaining the similarities. The applications use the same basic musical knowledge (chord names and rhythms) that a student must know to be a successful musician. He said that he hooks more than one iPod up to a jack and then connects them to a computer. The computer is running GarageBand, and by simply choosing the ‘Real Instrument’ option the kids can record right into GarageBand!

Here are the 3 Apps that I used:

Band – Has frets that you can strum
iShred – Has songs pre-installed with chords set up for you to strum.
Guitarist –
has a basic fret and strumming option

It’s so easy a child could do it!

He turned the Blogger’s Cafe into a music lounge and got lots of people of varying ages to give it a try!