Every early childhood classroom I’ve been a part of has relied heavily on music as an instructional strategy. Our classroom is no different. We’ve got music going all day long. Whether we’re singing to learn our letters at circle time, playing a song to signal clean up time or listening to relaxing music at rest time, there’s almost always music coming from our classroom. After burning out 3 cd players in as many years, we decided to see if we could convert our collection to digital format and begin using an ipod for music instead of an old fashioned cd/cassette player.
The first thing we had to consider was the enormous task of converting all of our CDs, many of which were years old, and adding them to our itunes. Admittedly, that was a large task and we did crash one hard drive in the process. (We’re actually not sure that the crashed hard drive was related to the uploading of discs, but are planning to exercise more caution in the future!)
Once we had all of our music on the ipod we had to think about how we would play it for the children. Our technology coordinator was able to find a set of speakers that wasn’t being used so we simply plugged them into the headphone jack on the ipod. We don’t use a dock and we charge our ipod in our office each night.
Since this is a classroom full of Junior Kindergartners, we wanted to make sure that our ipod was well protected. Though the students don’t currently use the ipod, it could conceivably wind up in their hands a time or two. My favorite durable case for devices like this is an Otterbox.
My husband and I have them on our phones and my son has one for his ipod. They have an underlying rubberized case that is covered by a hard plastic case. A screen protector is also included. So far, they have proven to be indestructible. The only downside is that they are quite expensive. Each case is close to $40. As a result, when we were buying the case for our classroom ipod, I let my budget-minded self get the better of me. I ordered an Otterbox knock-off from Amazon. Big Mistake. When we went to plug in the speakers, the hard plastic case, which was actually cheap flimsy plastic on the knock-off, blocked the headphone jack. There is no way to use the speakers and have the case on. For the time being, we’ve compromised and are just using the silicone case.
It looks sloppy and doesn’t protect very well, but it’s better than nothing. A real Otterbox case is on my shopping list, but now that I’ve already spent money on the knock-off, it’s even harder to warrant spending $40 on a single case. Let me know in the comments if you have another sturdy case you can recommend.
I feel like we’re under-utilizing our classroom ipod. It has many features beyond playing music that I’m sure we could implement in the classroom if we devoted some thought and energy to it. The camera, facetime, and learning apps are just a few things I’d like to explore. Unfortunately, I think the ipod was overshadowed by the ipads, which arrived just a month or so after it did. Hopefully as we settle in with the ipads we’ll find more ways to use our ipod as well.