UNION CITY, N.J., Oct. 8 – A ban on iPods is so strictly enforced at Jose Marti Middle School that as many as three a week are confiscated from students – and returned only to their parents.
But even as students have been told to leave their iPods at home, the school here in Hudson County has been handing out the portable digital players to help bilingual students with limited English ability sharpen their vocabulary and grammar by singing along to popular songs.
Next month, the Union City district will give out 300 iPods at its schools as part of a $130,000 experiment in one of New Jersey’s poorest urban school systems. The effort has spurred a handful of other districts in the state, including the ones in Perth Amboy and South Brunswick, to start their own iPod programs in the last year, and the project has drawn the attention of educators from Westchester County to Monrovia, Calif.
The spread of iPods into classrooms comes at a time when many school districts across the country have outlawed the portable players from their buildings – along with cellphones and DVD players
And then comes the standard explanation, as the article continues:
because they pose a distraction, or worse, to students. In some cases, students have been caught cheating on tests by loading answers, mathematical formulas and notes onto their iPods.
The article is well researched and thought out – and well worth reading for the insight it provides into the reality of schools in 2007: kids, teachers and other staff almost all have mobile computers that are personal devices – handheld and wireless. These devices are cellphones, iPods and the like. Are youngsters today so easy to distract and willing to cheat that the devices cannot be brought into the learning equation? Let’s hope not. I certainly don’t thinks so.