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Music Technology in the Classroom
iPod®/MP3 Player or CD Player?
Jerrilyn Stover, M.A.


Excerpted, with permission from
Digital Footsteps into the 21st Century Classroom:
     A Technology Guide for Elementary Educators

Why do you think I would consider an iPod® rather than a CD player to be a much better choice for today’s classroom?

How many teachers already own a prized iPod® and have not yet considered using it in the classroom?

In the fall of 2008, I posed these questions to a group of private school Pre-K and kindergarten at the Florida Kindergarten Counsel (FKC). At the time of the conference, Jack Hartmann had prior commitments and was unable to attend. He asked me to present a workshop in his absence. In a full-to-capacity room primarily filled with Baby Boomers, to my surprise, about one half of those in attendance currently own an iPod®. However, not a single teacher had ever previously considered using this treasure in the classroom prior to attending the workshop.

Afterwards, the verbal feedback that I received from the participating teachers demonstrated a definite interest in transitioning from using a traditional CD player in the classroom to an iPod®. These veteran educators were prepared to return to their classrooms to experiment with renewed vigor!

For several reasons, I believe the iPod® has benefits that outweigh the traditional CD player. Don’t misunderstand me because I am not saying that there is something wrong with using a CD player for it still plays all of our favorite songs.

Through the years, updated technology has brought about numerous convenient entertainment devices. According to Wikipedia, the internet’s free on-line encyclopedia of collaboration found at wikipedia.org, playing records on a phonograph, gramophone or the more modern term, record player, was common from the 1870’s all the way through the 1980’s. Transistor radios defined the 60’s. Though vinyl record sales were still high, portable cassettes players became really popular in the early 80’s and continued into the 90’s with the invention of the ®Sony Walkman. By the late 90’s the cassette players were replaced by portable CD players.

Though cassette players, CD players, and even record players are still available today, the Digital Generation prefers a MP3 player as the main choice of a portable musical entertainment. This amazing piece of technology not only plays music at top-quality levels with digital sound; but, it also allows users to download audiobooks, podcasts (lectures on various topics), and full videos. Personal home videos and pictures can be uploaded to develop powerful presentations for today’s classroom. Students and teachers similarly, have the option of creating presentations to be shared with others.

What do you suppose runs through the inquisitive mind of a child from this seemingly iPod® dominant generation after entering a classroom on the first day of school, only to notice an iPod® prominently displayed playing enjoyable music? When a child realizes that educators wish to carry a part of his/her world into the school day, then we, as educators, have a better opportunity to build a more productive relationship with that young person. The quality and quantity of learning during the school year will be enhanced as a result of this positive connection!

Though there are numerous advantages for using an iPod® in today’s classroom, one main reason is its ability to organize music into playlists, significantly saving “time-on-task”. The ability to organize educational songs and children’s audiobooks by subject matter or genre, has given teachers the capacity to fit additional learning activities into one day. This procedure of organization is a simple process on ®iTunes.

Though there are quite a few brands of MP3 players, the most popular which is inherently my preference is the ®Apple iPod. I currently own three. My first purchase was the 5th Generation 60 GB iPod video that holds up to 15,000 songs. Next, I bought the pink 3rd Generation iPod Nano Video 8 GB. My most recent purchase was the most incredible 32G iPod Touch. Organizing music and audiobooks through ®iTunes on these amazing pieces of technology is so simple that even a Baby Boomer can do it!

A list of the current playlists on my iPod® can be found at the end of this chapter.


Copyright © 2009 by Jerrilyn Stover. All rights reserved.

Instructional Technology

A Technology Guide
Elementary Educators


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