Do you know a girl like Misha?

Meet Misha (on the right). She’s my daughter’s (left) BFF and just about the most awesome 8-year-old you’ll ever meet. She’s a great dancer, loves reading, and watches movies repeatedly when she really gets into them. You know that kid whose needs you sometimes forget about in your class because they’re so bright and independent? That’s her.

Misha, like many normal middle-class kids in countries that have Apple Stores, got a 4th generation iPod Touch for Christmas. In case you were looking the other way or taking a nap, I want to suggest that we have just experienced a major change in the tide.

It is now not uncommon for kids in elementary schools to own what, for all intents and purposes, is an iPhone 4. I’m not saying that they’re everywhere. I’m simply saying that it’s not surprising if and when you see it.

I see a 4th generation iPod Touch as quite a different animal to other devices because it is essentially an iPhone 4. In addition to internet connectivity, access to the entire App Store, and music playing which many of us have grown accustomed to, the new Touch takes high quality photos and video, records audio, and can be used as a data-plan-less cell phone when on wifi. Oh, and you can make video calls. Yes, video calls. Anytime you want.

So, next time you need a filler for a staff meeting, perhaps you could facilitate a simple 20 minute activity which asks the following questions.

First, take a quick vote: Do you think it will become more or less normal to see children in possession of these kinds of devices?

Next, an inductive thinking activity based on this question: What does this mean for learning in our schools?

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3 Comments

  1. I have been thinking about the exact same thing. My nephew who is 7, got an Itouch for Christmas and has barely put it down since then. My 4th grade students- several got Itouches and at least 5 got Ipads. How can we tap into their enthusiasm to make their learning experiences more meaningful?

  2. Great ideas, Royan, and lucky Misha! I have been thinking a lot about this too. Our school is great, in that all devices are welcomed into the classroom and onto the wireless (and responsible use is taught), so I don’t have the issues that others do. I have to cut straight to the chase – what is the best way for my students to take advantage of this tech? I am pondering the idea of non-programmed access, or self-directed use, and promoting this constructively. Right now in my grade 8 class I have a mix of cell phones, iPod Touches, personal laptops and netbooks, 3 classroom machines including the one on my desk and access to a portable lab containing 7 laptops. But it is random. I still need stations or the lab in order to “assign” an app or a project. Some funny things though… twice this week, students were texting kids who were at home, one sick, one stranded in snow. Consulting about school work and seating plan. I just said “say hi for me!”

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