iPod touches_Dos and Don'ts.doc by pengxiuhui



Classroom iPod touches: Dos and Don'ts
Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 7:09PM

Bringing iPods into the classroom is a great
way to give students access to learning tools.
However, there are so many things to keep in
mind to make the iPods work smoothly in the
classroom. While my list of dos and don'ts is
for iPod touch, much of the same advice can be
given for using iPod classic and nano in
classrooms. The list is for large or small class
sets of iPods; if students are using their own
personal iPods you'll have a different set of considerations and technical issues to deal with.

Do sync all iPods to one computer. You'll really be doing yourself a favor by syncing with one
computer. You can add media to one computer's iTunes Library and know that it will sync with
all iPods. If you must use more than one computer for syncing, always sync the same group of
iPods to the same computers. This will probably involve color-coding the iPods and computers.
The one computer you sync with can be Windows or Macintosh. Some people report that
Windows computers freeze when syncing more than a few iPods at once. Macs appear to work
better at syncing multiple iPods simultaneously.

Do name iPods. The first time you sync an iPod you are prompted to give it a name in iTunes.
Start the name with a number so iPods are listed in order under the Devices list. Include a zero in
front of number 1-9 so the computers sure to list them correctly. You can always change an
iPod's name anytime using iTunes.
Do set iPods for automatic sync of all content. Configure each iPod to sync all audio, video,
podcasts, and apps so that everything in the iTunes Library is automatically transferred to the
iPod. This way there are no buttons to push or click. Simply plugging in the iPod will ensure that
everything in the iTunes Library is synced onto the iPod. Refer to this PDF for directions. Each
iPod will have to be configured separately in iTunes. But, once configured, you won't have to
touch the settings again.

Do make playlists. Because everything in the computer's iTunes Library will be synced onto the
iPods, it's a good idea to organize what you want students to access into playlists. Do this by
click the + in the bottom-left of the iTunes windows. Name your playlist and then drag and drop
audio, video, podcasts, and audiobooks onto it. You can click and drag to reorder items within a
playlist. Upon next sync, the playlist will appear on the iPod.

Do delete content. Since you are mirroring the computer's iTunes Library onto the iPods,
deleting items from iTunes will delete them from the iPods. After you no longer have a need for
a podcast, video, or audiobook, delete it so it is not taking up room and cluttering up the iPods.
Chances are you want to use this content with a future class. If it's something you will use again,
drag and drop it into a folder on your desktop. You can drag and drop it back into iTunes for the
next time you want it synced to iPods.

Do configure the Music app for easy access to playlists and podcasts. I wish the Music app
on iPod touch was named Audio instead because that is where you listen to any audio and access
podcasts. Like it's name suggests, the app is set up for listening to songs. With a few changes,
you can make it easier for students access educational content on the iPod. First, launch the
Music app and tap the More button. Then tap Edit. Drag the Playlists, Podcasts,and iTunes U
buttons to the bottom of the screen. If you use audiobooks you can drag that too. You'll need to
do this on each iPod touch (or better yet have students do it). Now when the Music app is
launched, students have quick one-tap access to whatever buttons you added to the bottom of the

Do label or engrave iPods. It's important for teachers and students to be able to identify iPods.
Giving iPods numbers is helpful. Some schools engrave numbers on the iPods' backs.
Unfortunately, this number cannot be seen when the iPod is in a protective case. Putting a sticker
on the front or writing the number on the case is helpful. Be sure the number matches the number
you gave the iPod in iTunes. Additionally, having a variety of colors for cases can make it easier
for students to spot their iPods.

Do set up an iTunes account for the classroom computer. Most prefer to keep their personal
iTunes account separate from their school account. Now, you do not need an iTunes account to
download podcasts and iTunes U collections. You do need an account if you plan to download
audiobooks and apps, even if you are will only download free apps. iTunes usually requires a
credit card to be on file when you create an account unless you follow these directions. You can
sync all of the iPods using that one account. Everything you download with that account will be
locked to that account and can only be installed from computers that are authorized with the
account's Apple ID and password.

Do know you can authorize more than one account on a computer. If you bought software
using a different account from your classroom account, it is possible to also authorize your
account in addition to your school account ron the classroom syncing computer. Click Authorize
Computer from iTunes' Store menu and enter your Apple ID and password. Realize that you can
authorize an account on up to five computers. When you deauthorize your account on the
computer the apps and audiobooks that are associated with your account will be deleted from the

Do use a flash drive to transfer apps between computers. When you purchase an app in
iTunes it is downloaded and stored on your computer's hard drive. That same app file is then
copied to all iPods that sync with your iTunes Library. There might be times you download apps
on a computer other than the one you use for syncing. In this case you will need to copy the apps
from the original computer's Library onto the new computer for syncing with iPods. The easiest
way is to use a flash drive. On the first computer click Applications under Library. Then drag
and drop the apps you wish to copy onto the flash drive. They appear as .ipa files with an iTunes
icon. Eject and insert the flash drive into the computer used for syncing. Drag the apps from the
flash drive into the iTunes Library. If the apps were downloaded or purchased under a different
iTunes account than the one on the syncing computer, you may have to authorize your account
(see above).
Do get a charging cart, case, or tray if you have the money. Bretford makes the PowerSync
Cart for iPod. It's pricey at about $2300. For about half the price they offer the PowerSync Case.
TriBeam is another company that makes carts and trays for syncing iPods. Also, PARAT
Solutions makes Parasync, and they have created a product comparison chart. An advantage to
these solutions is that each iPod has it's own slot. Numbering these slots allows the teacher to
quickly see which iPods are missing. If you cannot afford a cart or case, do buy a couple of
powered USB hubs so you can sync and charge several iPods at once. If you stagger connecting
the iPods, you can sync and charge an entire class set without buying expensive equipment.
Do have procedures for passing out, turning in, and syncing. Will students get their iPod as
they enter the classroom? Do you have a helper student who will pick up the iPods? How will
you know when all iPods have been turned in? There are lots of ways teachers manage iPods in
the classroom. The key is having procedures for everyone to follow.

Do secure iPods when not in use. Have a place to lock up the iPods. It's no fun when an iPod is

Do have earbuds for each student. Something else that isn't fun is using earbuds that someone
else has stuck in their ears. You can get inexpensive earbuds at Walmart and online. Most
students probably already have their own earbuds. Earbud wires do tend to get tangled. Those in
elementary classrooms may consider putting a hook on a wall for each student. Label the hooks
and earbuds so students can drape their earbuds from the hooks when not in use as a way to keep
the wires tangle-free.

Do create a web clip icon for your class or school website. A web clip is an icon you can add
to your Home screen as a shortcut to a website. With one tap, Safari will open to the web clip's
page. To make a web clip, simply open the page in Safari. Tap the Plus sign at the bottom of the
screen. Tap Add to Home Screen and edit the title (if you want). Tap Add and, presto, a new icon
is added to your Home Screen. This will need to be done on each iPod individually. Adding a
web clip to your class website enables you to add a link to your site that students can easily
access on their iPods without typing in a web address.
Do use a URL shortener. If you don't have a class website or don't have time to update it, give
wen addresses for students to type in using a URL shortening service. Sites like tinyurl.com and
bit.ly take longer web addresses and make them shorter. The shorter the URL the easier they are
to type on an iPod touch. Read more about shrinking long web addresses.

Do have consequences for misuse. Unfortunately, students will be tempted to use iPods
inappropriately. I've found that taking away the iPod is an effective consequence for misuse.
Students who have continual problems with misuse should be seated so that the teacher can
monitor their activities. Maybe even point a video camera on a
tripod at the student's screen so that the student knows the
teacher is always "watching."

Do create a usage contract. A contract is an effective way to
communicate how and when an iPod can be used. Have students
and parents sign the contract to indicate they agree to follow the
rules and accept the consequences for breaking the rules. You
may want to model your contract after some of these:
       Culbreth Middle School

       iNtouch Club

       Lenape iPod Touch 1:1 User Agreement

       Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Use Contract

       ELL iPod Agreement

Do set up email.. Like it or not, email is the primary way to get some information off the iPod
and onto a computer. If students are assigned their own iPods, then it makes sense to set up each
iPod with the student's email account. Some schools use Gaggle.net email, which can be
configured to work on iPod touch. If students do not have their own email or students share
individual iPods, you may want to set up each one with a free Gmail account. The problem with
setting up all those accounts is the time involved and the difficulty in monitoring so many
accounts. An alternative is to create one Gmail account to be used on all iPods. So that you can
tell which iPod an email originated from, type in the number of the iPod or the name of the
student in the Email settings Name field. This will need to be set up individually on each iPod.
Additionally, be sure the teacher's email address is added to the address book so students can
easily send what they create on the iPod touch to the teacher.

Don't give students the iTunes account password. If you give them the password, they can
download apps right from the iPod itself. Apps downloaded on one iPod will eventually be
synced to all iPods so a single problem could grow larger. Teachers should be in complete
control over what is loaded on the devices, so they should keep passwords to themselves.

Don't sync iPods with any other computer than the original. If an iPod is attached to a
different computer you will get messages that content on the iPod will have to be erased. You
probably don't want that. If you click Cancel, the iPod will charge but won't sync.

Don't feel you need to sync iPods everyday. Chances are you won't need to sync iPods
everyday. You only need to sync when there are new podcasts, audio, video, or apps you want to
put on the iPods. If you plan ahead, you can make it so syncing is required only weekly and
perhaps monthly. Depending on use, however, iPods will probably need to be charged every
couple days.

Don't spend too much on iPods. The 8GB iPod touch is the most affordable. Is 8GB enough?
For most, yes, 8GB is plenty for dozens of apps, lots of audio, and a few videos. You can see
how much of the available memory is taken up by viewing each iPod's capacity gauge. The
gauge is found in iTunes under the Summary tab for each iPod.
Don't buy expensive accessories. Apple sells $30 earbuds with microphones, $30 cases, $20
syncing cables, and $30 wall plugs. Monoprice sells $4 earbuds with microphones, $1 cases, $2
syncing cables, and $4 wall plugs.

Don't mistreat batteries. iPods use lithium-ion batteries. These batteries will lose capacity over
time. The worst thing you can do is store iPods somewhere hot, like a car in the summertime. It's
also not healthy for lithium-ion batteries to be completely discharged. For healthiest batteries,
store iPods at about 80% charge over the summer (be sure to completely power down the iPods
over the summer as well).

Don't stick with just free apps. Yes, there are lots of free apps out there, but you often get what
you pay for. Many terrific apps are less than $5. If you are using an iTunes account without a
credit card, you can fill your account balance with iTunes gift cards. Nevada teacher Tina
Holland has a little "store" in her room where she sells knickknacks, water, and treats. She uses
the revenue to buy iTunes gift cards that are used to purchase apps (if you are a Costco shopper,
you can actually buy iTunes cards for less than their iTunes value). Note that an app can be
purchased once and then synced to all of your iPods. While this seems to violate Apple's End
User Agreement, I have confirmed with Apple Education that it is ok to sync a purchased app
with a class set of iPods. That's a very good deal!
Don't use liquids to clean the screen. You don't want liquid getting inside. Microfiber clothes
clean the screens nicely. If the screen is really gunky, put a small amount of water on a cloth and
then clean the device.

Don't put up with a glitchy iPod. iPods can easily be restored to factory settings if something
gets out of whack (or if a student decides to lock the iPod and forget the password). Read about

Don't forget professional development. There's always something new to learn when it comes
to teaching and learning with iPods. Consider booking a workshop with me, Tony Vincent, and
my workshops can even be attended by students. Don't forget that I offer a podcast for iPod-
using educators. Additionally, there are plenty of other great websites out there where educators
are sharing their iPod touch activities, ideas, and resources.



To top