Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Do So Much with an iPod Touch

These are my notes from Tony Vincent‘s NECC 2009 presentation, “Do So Much with an iPod Touch!.” His notes are available with all the links! This was a fantastic presentation in all respects. Tony is a model presenter, very engaging, so relevant with specific classroom examples, has such depth of experience as a classroom teacher with his extensive Palm background, I could go on and on. If you are looking for a professional development guru to work with teachers and students and the iPod Touch, look no further than Tony Vincent.

Survey prior to the session using Google Forms

I am a former 5th grade teacher, last year as an independent consultant I visited 28 states and the US Virgin Islands

In 2001 I started using Palm Handhelds with my 5th graders
– we developed our own applications, and had applications for us
– a PBS affiliate came in and did a documentary about our class
– had lots of fun using handhelds for learning

2 years ago I spent 18 weeks working in the US Virgin Islands working with schools using iPod Touches
– palms had worked really well
– smaller devices were needed, great for smaller spaces

showing name of App from website lets you create a nametag on your iTouch!

URL shorteners are great, esp when using handheld devices is an example

I enjoy using the Google Form Summary feature (FORM – SHOW SUMMARY)

My website: Learning in Hand, click iPods

Use the twitter tag #LIH

– Palm technology with stylus looks so ancient!
– portable, dependable, easy to troubleshoot, ulta-cool, battery life, multipmedia
– #1 reason iPod Touch is great is ALL those apps that are available
– easy to install from the App Store application
– you can also get to apps via the iTunes Store

In the Palm days it was harder, you had to HotSync
– didn’t always work
– example of contraction timer for pregnancy
– teacher who was pregnant had a funny

iTunes Store has a ‘as seen on TV’ section

There are LOTS more apps now
– it took Palm 10 years to get 30,000 apps
– today there are over 50,000 apps for the iTouch in less than 3 years
– this is AMAZING application keeps track of app activity each day on the store
– perday 238 apps are added to the app store!
– 3,514 education apps today in the iTunes Store with that education category

18% of all aps are games/education entertainment

Way to NOT have a credit card in iTunes
– log out of your account
– go find a free App in the store
– click GET APP
– you will be prompted to create a new account
– THEN and ONLY then (when you are signing up to get a free app) you can get an account without putting in a credit card

– you can also just use iTunes gift cards in the future to buy paid apps without a credit card

Another bugaboo: trying to understand syncing
– iTunes account syncs to 1 computer and iPod, that makes sense
– what about the classroom: multiple iPods?
– you can sync as many iPods as you want to 1 computer
– then you can sign in on up to 5 computers with 1 iTunes account
– Apple has this setup so if you buy the software once, you can sync it as many times as you want
– the system is not setup to take multiple payments for multiple devices

Web directories for apps:
– mobxlix
– AppShopper
– iEducation Apps Review

On my site I’ve setup Google Moderator site, now have 38 ideas from 31 people

right now gFlash and Stanza are top

iPod Touch graphic

Google Application: you can use your voice if you have an attachable mic

Let’s see these Apps in action

For Language Arts
– Whiteboard
– 2 devices can share 1 whiteboard
– similar to an app we used to have on the Palm

For language arts I like to do a game called crosstalk
– write a word on the whiteboard
– another student thinks up a different word that is a synonym, perhaps better for elaboration

If you want a stylus, you have to get a special stylus for the iTouch

YouTube has tutorials about how to make your own styluses on the cheap

Next demo: Quickword
– good Word processor, still not fantastic on the mobile devices but this one is pretty good
– peer review together
– have students trade handhelds
– this apps lets you highlight words, make some bold (highlight HOT words red, highlight words that could be revised blue)
– then when we trade handhelds I can see what my peer reviewer thought was awesome, and what I need to improve
– in this case my peer reviewer hasn’t changed anything is a huge dictionary, several megabytes in size
– all downloaded, doesn’t require active Internet connection
– Thesaurus too!
– More than 275,000 definitions
– WARNING: they have those words that you know students will look up first!

Social Studies apps

great videos online that you want to put online, YouTube may be blocked
– you can install and sync videos
– if YouTube is accessible there is a YouTube app right on the iTouch

To get it off of YouTube and convert to MP4 so iPod touch will use
– example: Schoolhouse Rock video
– Trick: just add the world “kick” in front of “youtube” in the URL
– on that website ( I can directly download the site
– be aware this could be against Google’s terms of service
– then go into the Videos app to watch it

Another way to get videos, get them from iTunes

Let’s talk about Safari
– you’ve seen the ads: this is the FULL web
– this is probably the application students will use most

Teachers may want to create their own homepage
– mobile homepage: my favorite is a web editor too: (kind of like a wiki, but ideal for iPod Touch, accounts are free, you can pick out your URL)
– my site:
– fonts are big
– I can link to different things
– can put direct links to podcasts (audio and video) to download

Social studies app: Inflation
– 99 cents
– I was wondering about Presidential Pay
– inflation tables just go back to 1913, President’s salary was $75,000
– today he makes $400K plus expense account of $50K

Google Maps
– let’s find the President’s house
– I am using the iPhone 3.0 software, I paid $9.99 for the update
– it allows Google Maps streetview in Googe Maps
– can add a drop pin to the map, and go right to Google Street View right on the iPod Touch


Can take a screenshot of ANYTHING on my iPod Touch by holding down both buttons on the device
– it took the picture, now it is in my photos
– great geography links here!

I like to

LifeStrips ($5)
– vocabulary is great
– can be used to create comics
– some people will decry the lack of a camera
– two fingers to twist and stretch images where you want them to go
– double tap to add text
– screenshots from Google Maps, combined in LifeStrips

Comic touch also lets you make

Ali’s Jigsaw Puzzle
– save comics back as photos
– turn any photo into a jigsaw puzzle

– extra power
– can use an iPod Touch connected to computer or power (Apple chooses
– battery back can give you about 3/4 of a new
– Get one that takes the same dock connector, so no cable is required

You want a powered USB hub to make your own inexpensive charging station

Hilarious photo on EdTechBytes with chargers

You can sync on a Mac more than 1 mac at a time
– for some reason on Windows, you can just sync 1 at a time


Earbuds: Walmart has them for 99¢ each
– get earbuds for everyone
– they get tangled constantly: get adhesive hooks and put numbered tags on the wall

Another management tip: email
– Apple would really like you to get info with email
– so you can issue each iPod Touch its own email
– start a free GMail account for each iPod Touch


My podcast “Learning in Hand iPods”
– don’t leave an iPod in your hot car! That diminishes the battery big time.

Have an App called “Beard Me”
– now using app “Talking Heads”
– commercial example Billy Mays style!

Power down your iPod by holding down the top power button for 6 sec

Math Applications
– lots of drill and skill
– research shows students who are using a handheld will remember their math facts better than if they are using paper
– it is more engaging

Math Drills
– they also give you visuals
– has a light version

Make Num Lite
– also called “Sum It Up”

Lemonade Stand (99¢)
– practice supply and demand, make the posters
– same algorithms from the Apple II days, but updated graphics
– you can actually go back to the Apple II graphics if you want to

Science Apps
– there are cheap thumbtack microphones
– I have a Belkin one
– for science, do a “sound seeing tour” when you are on a field trip
– come back and research it, add more sounds with an audio editor on a “grown up computer”

– Sketchy was my favorite palm app
– full version is $10
– old style Palm
– draw directly on the screen
– make it animation
– anything my kids made an animation about they remembered it forever
– they would watch it over and over, show it to their friends
– they turn out with a great product
– Flipbook

At you can see lots of examples

Now ready for an unbelievable example: made by an amazing artist using Flipbook (Foodchain)
– you can pinch in and zoom in to make changes

You can make your own database with HandDBase
– can use for observations
– checkboxes
– any types of notes
– once I save it, it joins my database, can be synced back to the desktop computer
– doesn’t have to be bahvior, it can be what did you observe

Something I miss from the Palm days: the fold-out keyboard
– currently there are not any attachable keyboards for the iPod Touch, but I hope we might see those

Now for each student: iPod Touch for $229 or Netbook for $289
– tradeoffs: battery life, portability, all the apps, cool factor
– Oct 7-9 2009 in London, everyone gets an iPod Touch!

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4 responses to “Do So Much with an iPod Touch”

  1. Franki Avatar

    Thanks for these detailed notes. We are getting 25 iTouches next year and I am looking for smart ways to use them. This is a great help:-)

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