Yes, I admit it. I love iTunes! I was hesitant at first. I resisted using my iPod a few years back because it was a technology I knew nothing about. But much to my surprise, the possibilities are endless. All my favorite music in one place and instant access to music, video, and tv shows all from the iTunes Store. I was hooked.
Last year, I decided to make the switch from cassettes to CDs. I am so glad that I did! Here is what I do. I use my Bonus Points from Scholastic to buy their CD audio collection each month. Then, I use my Apple Reward coupons and/or $10 free books coupon to get an extra copy or two of each of the books. This means more students have access to the listening center. Currently, 4-6 students are at the listening center. I am able to do this with only 1 student computer and 1 teacher computer. I import all my audiobooks onto iTunes. Then, I create a Playlist of the audiobooks I want the students to listen. Usually, I have to import an image from the internet from sites such as Amazon because the pictures help them find which book is next.
The purpose of my listening center is to listen to books for enjoyment. I want children to enjoy being read to and reading. I also want them to hear what a fluent reader sounds like. On average, students listen to 3 to 5 books. Each child goes to the listening center about twice a week. Most books are in the listening center for 1 to 2 weeks. After a while, students will request which ones they want me to "put back" into the listening center rotation. Class favorites include: Splat the Cat, Llama Llama Mad a Mama, and Not Norman.
My most recent discovery is using iTunes Podcasts as part of the listening center options. Barnes and Noble Online Storytime and The Electric Company are my current favorites. By using iTunes I can select what my class has access to instead of having them navigate these resources on the internet. I can have them learn a particular skill or listen to a certain story. They also love the change of pace it gives to the listening center.
iTunes has helped me create a learning center where children are actively engaged. It has provided my students who have limited or no access to technolgy at home an avenue to learn. That, I think, is amazing!
Happy Learning and Teaching!