Peas and an iPod
Posted on 11/06/2013

As part of C-VUSD’s goal to create extraordinary futures, the District is developing innovative pilot programs to serve as models in the 21st century. One new pilot program is the iPod Touch Initiative to be used beginning in kindergarten at numerous C-VUSD educational locations. Barranca, Cypress, Merwin and Workman Elementary Schools are currently participating in this innovative program, with plans to bring our other six elementary schools on board in January. The program will be expanded to include our first-grade scholars in 2014-2015. This program provides an iPod Touch on a one-to-one basis for our youngest learners. Used in the classroom for small group, individual use and whole group settings, this technology tool enhances student engagement in the daily learning process and advances the overall achievement of students.

Through its integration, the iPod Touch supports communication and learning as each learner takes on a far more active role. This mobile device reinvents the learning environment because of its versatility. It allows students to make choices in regard to creating, acquiring, displaying and manipulating information. Using Google Drive and Google+ for collaboration, lead teachers can plan meaningful educational tasks that engage students in active thinking which equates to deeper understanding. Used daily in the classroom, the iPod Touch assists with fluency, comprehension, writing development and builds 21st century skills and student engagement strategies as "disguised learning": an appealing, interactive, effective and educational experience that’s fun!

Merwin Elementary School currently has 80 iPods which serve their kindergarten population on a one-to-one basis. These devices are used to reinforce essential skills like tracing numbers and letters, developing phonics, and game-based learning. Creative story writing, reading and the recording of oral language to determine and increase literacy skills such as fluency and the practice of sight words, and the creation of presentations, short stories and drawings created digitally are just some of the ideas that are being implemented with the iPod Touch Initiative. At Cypress Elementary, the iPods have been used for students to take pictures and present orally on a topic to develop and hone language arts skills.

Barranca Elementary School’s smallest scholars are using the applications on their iPods to document things they build and make by taking photos. Math and science lessons and explorations are documented in this way as well. Soon, kindergarteners will be taking control of the technology in a different way by learning to video themselves and their friends reading and speaking. The iPods will also be integrated into listening and reading centers as well as utilized in the classroom environment to target word work, phonics and phonemic awareness exercises that are essential to developing strong readers and writers. Creating the notion of five and six-year-old documentary filmmakers keeping record of their own learning and development in digital portfolios will actually be realized.

The learning possibilities are endless as our “peas and their iPods” create extraordinary futures.