mp3 player? ipod? Welcome to another tool…

Before and after school you see students walking around with strings going up to their ears – is what they are listening to educational? The answer is probably not…but it could be. This installment of the Friday Five looks at the MP3 player and offers five examples of food for thought regarding the uses of them in educational settings. I hope you can take five and explore! (One more thing, you should know that even without an MP3 player, anyone with a computer can access the audio and video files too.)

PC Magazine defines an mp3 player as: “A digital music player that supports the MP3 format, which was the audio format that started a revolution in online music downloads and distribution. All portable music players, the iPod being the most popular, support MP3 along with one or more other audio formats. CD players, whether shelf units or portable, may also play back MP3 files.” Some also play video files. A common misperception held by many new to the MP3 world is that everything needs to be purchased. On the contrary – not only can you create your own content, but scores of free MP3 files are available.

The following are several ways MP3 players are being used for educational purposes:

Professional sports teams are using the video iPod to help pitchers study the swings of batters.

Would you like to learn Arabic? Brush up on your Latin? Spanish? French? Check out these free foreign language lessons!

How are iPods being used in collegiate settings? This article from the Christian Science Monitor gives a peek into some of the ways iPods contribute to academics (and addresses some of the new ethical issues as well). And here you will find Duke’s summary report on the use of iPods in their classrooms – some exciting results!

Health and fitness? How about some free workout videos?

iPods are even in elementary schools!

If you have questions about iPods, you should know most students (at least the ones with the earbud “strings” coming out of their ears) will be happy to tell you about them – many faculty members too. Off the top of my head (and I am sure there are many more in our building), I can think of at least one campus minister, a science teacher, a music teacher, an English teacher (Mary Ellen), and two Social Studies teachers, (Ann and your’s truly) who love their iPods and I am sure they would be happy to talk with you about their experiences with them.

Cost? An entry-level iPod shuffle is around $60. Some interesting food for thought as this school year is ending and over summer we can think about hopes and dreams for next year…

Happy Friday and thanks for taking “Five.”


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