We use Renaissance Learning for its Accelerated Reader and STAR Testing capabilities. My homeroom class of 8th Graders have historically gotten about 60% to 70% participation in the program per calendar month. I knew there had to be a way to increase that number.
In a conversation with the other teachers on our staff, I brought up the idea of allowing the 7th and 8th graders to bring in their iPods as a reward for making their goal. At first the idea was met with hesitation because our policy on electronic devices is pretty strict. (If students have cell phones, they must be off and in their backpacks during the day.) After a bit more discussion, the principal was convinced.
As soon as I told the kids about the new incentive, they were hooked. Kids were reading much more than they had in the past. All but two of my homeroom students made their goal, including one or two that had not even attempted to do AR all year long!
A concern some might have is the use of wifi while having an iPod in school. Our network is filtered by Mac addresses, so the devices wouldn’t be able to connect unless they were pre-approved.
I honestly think we are moving to the world of BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. Our newly formed tech committee is meeting next week to talk about the direction we want to take. That’s another post, though. 🙂
Hooray for my awesome students who met their reading goal for the month!
P.S. This post was entirely written on my iPod!
Keep a song in your heart!
Great idea, Rachel. That would definitely motivate.
BYOD? That seems to present a lot of potential work for tech leader at school. Standardization of devices is so time saving. Are you talking about a list of requirements as far as OS on the machines? Would all be allowed on the wireless network, I assume? You would need to input the pw for them all.
It’s definitely not the easy way to do it. I guess I’d think carefully about the practicality of this from time and equipment.
I’m bummed after figuring it would be about $7600 for the room of 12 kids and 12 ipads. Don’t have the budget or staffing given to me yet, so how can I really plan the technology? So much is in flux around here it really makes me job tougher than it used to be.
It was great spending time with another nerd today!