Pencils, Erasers, Rulers...iPods?

Dennis Faas's picture

It should come as little surprise that children take their iPods with them to school. Traditionally, the device has been referred to as a distraction for students during class time and most teachers will only allow students to take them out at designated periods of the school day. A student who takes out their device prematurely may face a detention, removal of their iPod or, in some extreme cases, an expulsion. (Source:

However, a few schools in the U.S. are raising some eyebrows for handing out iPods to their students, while encouraging them to sing along to their favorite pop songs during school hours.

Sound kind of like a student paradise? Well...sort of.

The portable players are given only to those students who are bilingual and have limited abilities comprehending the English language. Singing along to popular pop songs sharpens their vocabulary and grammar skills.

The iPods, which come complete with a built-in video screen and sell for about $250 each, are passed around at the beginning of the school day along with head sets and first language-to-English dictionaries. The iPods are then collected at the end of the day. Moderators have reported that not a single device has been broken or stolen since the introduction of the iPod into the classroom. (Source:

But why not save the taxpayers money and pump the popular pop music through a stereo loudspeaker?

If teachers give their students something portable to work with, it increases the likeliness that they will want to take the device home and work on the concepts independently.

The iPods are not only being used for foreign language instruction. A few educators in North Plainfield, NJ have supplied their students with a number of iPods to help explain methods in chemistry. The students are even allowed to use their own iPods from home, a practice that some have considered dangerous. (Source:

Analysts believe that supplying an iPod to a student is one thing, but allowing them to bring their own iPod from home creates an opportunity for deceptive behavior. In the past, students have used iPods to cheat on examinations by loading answers, mathematical formulas and notes directly onto their iPods.

Still, if educators are able to control the way in which iPods are used in the classroom, strategy could prove very popular indeed.

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