Goodbye textbooks; hello iPods

By Abigail Keefe
April 21, 2005

KRT

Textbooks are a thing of the past for SPA 102 A. The language department bought 22 iPods with a Globalization Grant, and distributed them to students for use in the course. As it stands, 14 students are given the unique opportunity to learn by using this micro-portable lab. The class, taught by Dr. Halpern, is part of an experiment, which, if successful, may be spread to other classes. “I may want to start the iPods as a project for the honors introductory 101,” said Halpern.

This way of learning is beneficial because if used correctly, the students are not able to cheat off of one another and are forced to work more closely with the language. “The iPods are forcing students to spend more time on their assignments,” explained Halpern. This method of learning was discovered in a magazine and then put to action by the internet and technology resource department.

The students in this class do not get to keep the iPods. In fact, on the first day of class, after the iPods were distributed to the students and they thought it was Christmas time, they immediately had to sign a contract stating that if any iPod was lost or damaged, they would have to pay a $300 fee.

Some students, such as Domenique Pinho, had trouble at first getting used to learning with an iPod rather than a textbook. “The iPods in the beginning gave me a lot of trouble. The speakers on the iPod lessons talk very fast and I wasn’t used to that. I believe now that the iPods are to my benefit because it is helping me adjust to the way the Spanish-speaking people talk,” she said. However, she feels that if she didn’t start off learning with the iPods she would be doing just as well in another class because the iPods were an extra learning method.

Additionally, Pinho does find this to be a new and interesting learning method, and at times she finds herself enjoying it, but she wouldn’t recommend this to replace normal teachings in the classroom.

The language department will see if this iPod experiment was worth it after the assessment at the end of the year. If the class with the iPods do better on their finals than the other non-iPod classes, this program will continue and may even spread to other classes and departments.

Posted to the web by Shawn Rice

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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