I’ve been working on a number of iPod projects with schools, in particular The Springfields Academy in Calne, Wiltshire for almost a year. What has been interesting is how much my thinking has changed and developed over time. Originally purchasing a PARAT case with 20 iPods and macbook seemed the only choice (now there are more options) and it served my purposes well. Always a talking point, it got people thinking about mobile technologies wherever I went. They followed me to many meetings until they became indispensable to the classes using them.
Where the iPad is king, iPods are seen by many as too small to be useful in class. This has been proven wrong time and again in many situations. Don’t get me wrong I love the iPad as much as the next Mac fan boy but the size of the iPod is its strength. Pupils can use them to achieve what a typical school would buy three or four devices to do (I’m still sad to see the demise of the flip camera though). This is even before you explored the ever increasing number of Apps. At first educational Apps were pretty poor which seemed to be because the financial incentives to developers weren’t there; developing the next best game seemed far more lucrative. This quickly changed as well as staff subverting Apps to fill the needs of the curriculum. My concerns over what it could and couldn’t do quickly disappeared as Apps adapted to our needs and the pupils found new ways to use the kit.
There were a number of issues to overcome around personal devices and the management in a school, but I’ve rarely come across a situation where the problems engage staff and pupils so much, the pain is really worth it!