English Learners Get iPods at School


Used with a CC-license. Thanks to Donna & Andrew on Flickr.

Forget those old tape recorders in the language lab: one school district is handing out iPods for students learning English as a second language.

Five schools in Beaufort County, South Carolina are equipping kids with limited English skills with iPod Touches to get them up to speed.

The iPods take the place of the language lab of yesteryear — students listen to stories on them as part of a fluency program designed to develop vocabulary, improve pronunciation and emphasize important words and concepts. They also watch videos on the iPod  for grammar and reading exercises.

“If you don’t understand the story, you can listen to it,” seventh-grader Alex Sanchez told the Beaufort Gazette. “When I read, if I then hear the story, it sometimes makes more sense.”

The schools paid about $200 for each device. Apple provided teacher training and docking stations that can charge and sync 20 iPods at once. The ESL iPod program launched in one middle school last year and expanded to another four schools in the district this year.

Right now, the MP3 players go to kids who need to learn English but the school district is considering using them for students of foreign languages like French and Spanish.

I love this idea. An Italian friend of mine started using her commute time to listen to ESL podcasts — of which there are a ton — and found that in a couple of months she had learned more than at a class she paid for.

Via The State