First of all, I use the term iPods for simplicity reasons. Any mp3 player can replace an iPod for the activites detailed here. I use iPods in the classroom esentially to train my students on how to work on their Listening skills. Once they have grasped the ideas of the skills, I tend to give them Listening work to do at home as it is work that requires time, concentration and, for the best results, intense practice in a personalized situation. Trying to use the “one size fits all” approach for Listening is, to my mind, doomed to failure as all ears function differently and to be able to hear, you have to learn to listen.
Some of my colleagues use the iPods to record their pupils. That is another story. My choice is to concentrate on using the iPods to teach the students solid Listening skills and that is what I shall be developing here.
On a practical level, when you have 15 or so mp3 players to synchronize, it could take you ages if you have to do them one by one and I know that I, for one, would not have the time or patience to go down that route. Luckily for me, the iPods that I use come with a whole synchronization package.
It has to be said that our mallette is very out of date now. They have been regenerated with iPod Touches and now iPads, but hey, who has the budget to upgrade a mallette like this every year .
For Listening skills, the iPod Nanos do the job nicely and are frankly not very tempting to light-fingered students as they are so out of date. Not so for an iPad, it would have to be said !
This system photographed below is one that I discovered in Dakar at a primary school there. This switchboard can synchronize up to 40 mp3 players in seconds. Quite astounding !