The headphones we ordered from Zulily finally arrived yesterday. I couldn’t be more pleased! They fit all of the children nicely regardless of head size and are so much easier for them to use than the walkman style ones we were borrowing from the older grades. Having our own headphones that go on easily is such a time saver!
The cord is actually covered with woven fabric rather than plastic. It’s plenty long and the headphones themselves seem sturdy.
The only downside is the exercise I’m missing out on by running up and down the stairs twice a day to borrow headphones from other classrooms!
- These headphones aren’t gonna be the ones. (technologyinearlychildhood.wordpress.com)
So today before we started centers I remembered that I’d seen some of our older students using headphones when they used laptops. Turns out the upper grades have a whole container of headphones that they use. They are what I call “Walkman style” and were all the rage in the 80’s when the Sony Walkman revolutionized the way we listen to music. I borrowed 3 pairs from third grade for our preschoolers to try out today with the ipads.
While good in theory, these headphones just weren’t a good fit for such young kids. They struggled to get them on, and then struggled to get them to fit properly. Adjusting each set of headphones for each student took away from learning time, and truth be told, a couple of the kids still found them uncomfortable and hard to wear even after we adjusted them. It was definitely better than last week when we had all 3 ipads “talking” at once, but I think it’d be even better still if we we’re able to track down the kind of headphones that a lot of teachers use at listening centers.
The kids were just happy to be using the ipads again and weren’t too concerned with the headphones. Engagement was as high as it had been before and boy, were these ipads a motivator! Each child had to complete a short journal entry before they could use the ipad. Children who had before taken 25 minutes to finish their work were completing high quality journal work in 15 minutes.
I’ll keep you posted on the headphones. The yellow pair in the picture above belong to my son and I was able to find them for just a few dollars. I’m hoping we might be able to find something similar for our classroom.
So here’s the thing about working with young children: you can’t depend on them being able to read directions to complete a task, even with a fancy schmancy device like an ipad. The majority of four and five year olds need verbal instruction to succeed. One of the things I’ve been looking for is an app that will offer that verbal guidance and instruction. Another of our hopes in using ipads in the classroom was that it would help us individualize our instruction so that we could better meet each students specific learning needs. We used an app today that I think will really help us meet both goals. Teach Me Toddler allows each kid to progress at their own pace, which is fantastic. Additionally, it is really good at giving verbal instruction to students, also fantastic. Where we ran into trouble was when we had 3 different ipads talking to three different students about three different tasks. No one could hear a thing. I turned around to find one student with both his hands over his ears. Another student had his eyes glued to his neighbor’s ipad, not his own. Unless we made some quick changes, the ipads were not going to be the engaging instructional tool that they had been yesterday.
As a quick fix for today, we moved one of the three students to an empty table across the room and moved the other two to opposite ends of the table. Honestly, they were still sometimes distracted, but they were better able to maintain their focus. As we move forward in this ipad project, we’re going to have to think about what kind of headphones will be most practical as well as whether we want kids to use headphones all of the time, or just some of the time. Despite the fact that there were three ipads going at once, I was getting useful information from listening. I could tell when a student got off track and found his way to the app store and I could hear when another student was struggling with the content.