The other day while I was back in my hometown I was reading a local electronics store catalogue and my eyes caught a hold of something that got me quite interested. They were selling 1GB MP3 players for $14 (normally $38) that had a tiny LCD screen, drag and drop file upload, a voice recorder and FM radio capabilities. Anyway as soon as I read the list of things it could do I rushed over to Shepparton to buy 5 of them for one of my senior classes this year.
This year I’m teaching Year 11 Physical Education which only has 5 students, which is quite heavy on theoretical content and the links it makes with physical activity. This is my 2nd year teaching this subject and it lends itself really well to podcasting (much like Douchy’s Biology Class), so immediately I thought that these MP3 players would be a great addition to the class. Their simplicity is probably one of the best features about them, they require no software and simply connect to the computer via USB and work exactly like a flash drive. The recordings can be retrieved from a folder on the disk entitled ‘recordings’ which will be very easy for the student’s to understand.
Anyway I’ve decided that i’m going to give the MP3 players to the students for the duration of the semester and will use them for a variety of tasks and activities throughout the unit. Here are just a few of my ideas.
- As one of the Assessments the students will be given a week or topic they have to summarise in audio podcast that will be recorded using Audacity and distributed to all the other students in the class for revision.
- Will preload podcasts and audio clips created by myself onto the MP3 player for use throughout the semester.
- Will teach students how to make voice recordings and allow them to create audio ‘cheat’ sheets for assessments tasks, which they can then bring into the assessments.
- As we do alot of practical sessions and then complete write ups of our findings after I will encourage the students to make recordings of their findings as they happen to assist in the report writing after.
- Will have the students tune into the sports news on the radio to hear the latest news as knowledge of current events dramatically improves the discussion of key content.
- To mix things up I may use www.readthewords.com to convert text files into spoken word MP3 that the kids can then play back with the players.
Overall I’m very happy with the purchase and look forward to seeing their reactions when I present them each with a MP3 player and a pre loaded spoken word test on the very first day of classes. Now I’m fully aware that they are not the best of quality but will be fine for how they are required this year.I will be sure to update everyone on how it all pans out this year. Any suggestions on how else I could use these devices?