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Good Practice - Case Study
Forres Primary School
School No: 292
Use of iPod Touch Handhelds at Forres Primary School
Forres Primary School is a community school in Hoddesdon, with approximately 300 pupils on roll, aged from 5 – 11. It has the ICT Mark. Since September 2010 the school has been implementing the use of iPod Touch handheld devices across the curriculum, in every year group.
The iPod Touch device
The iPod Touch a powerful handheld computer with many different functions.
It runs the same operating system as the iPhone, though it has no telephone functionality.
For details about the functionality of the iPod Touch, please see this page:
Setting up and managing the project
The school owns 30 iPods, purchase of which was part funded by the PTA. In addition to the devices they purchased a ‘Parasync’ charging dock which can charge up to 20 devices at one time, and synchronise each one to a laptop computer in order to transfer programs (apps,) photographs etc. This is housed in a wheeled suitcase so that the set of iPods can be easily moved around from class to class. The devices are managed by the school’s ICT Technician.
At the beginning of the project some teacher training sessions were held to familiarise staff with the devices, and teachers were encouraged to try out some activities in class, initially with the support of the ICT Technician, so that they could gain confidence in using them.
In addition to this, parents were invited in to the school for an awareness session with the devices. This was well received and a number of parents have since bought similar devices for their children to use at home as a result of this project.
With the school purchasing the devices to use in school, parents were asked to pay for headphones for each child. These can be obtained very cheaply. The iPods are security tagged, and an “iPod Rules” sheet is attached to the storage case to remind the children about acceptable use.
A timetable has been set up for the use of the set of iPods, so that each class has at least one session per week. Every child has a notebook which they get out when using the iPods, to record what they have done and any relevant scores from activities they may have carried out, where applicable.
Use of the iPods
Each iPod has been loaded with a number of programs (known as apps) to support different skills and curriculum areas. See the section on apps below for more details about which apps the school uses. Apps are organised into groups on each iPod, corresponding to the subject area.
In reception class the children use early learning games apps such as Wheels on the Bus which is an interactive musical book that encourages children to touch and explore the pages, sing and read and record their own voices.
In years one and two I watched the children use the iPods for guided reading. They read from an interactive, multimedia ebook about hedgehogs and answered questions provided by their teacher, by writing the answers in their books. This meant the children were looking for specific information within the ebook, such as “when do hedgehogs come out?” and “What does nocturnal mean?” The iPods are also used for maths and literacy games in these year groups, as well as creative art apps.
In years three and four I watched the children use the iPods to practise French, using the app Basic French for Dummies. The app models useful phrases, using a native speaker, and the children held basic dialogues by listening to and repeating these phrases.
The use of the iPods to support MFL at Forres can also be seen in years five and six, where I observed children practising greetings by first listening to the modelled language (using their own sets of headphones) and then testing their peers by using the phrases.
Apps installed on the iPods
Apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch are generally low priced and there are around 30,000 educational apps available, approximately 1/3rd of which are free. Apps are downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store to a laptop computer and synced to the iPods using the parasync. Some of the apps used at Forres Primary School include:
Plans for development
As the teachers and pupils become more confident in using the iPods there are plans to further develop their use.
They are experimenting with using the set of iPods as a classroom response system, similar to the hardware voting systems used in a number of schools. In this case the iPods are used together with a single iPad device, which the school also owns.
Using an app called eClicker the teacher is able to create questions using the ‘master’ device (in this case the iPad) and the children can answer from their iPods, the results being recorded on the teacher’s device.
t letter formation.
Apps Used in the School
When the project began, only free versions of apps were used in order to evaluate which apps might be successful. After the first term of use a small number of apps were purchased to extend the iPad use further.
Apps used included:
The children were able to learn how to access the devices and start their chosen apps very quickly. The intu