Wednesday, May 13, 2009

iPods Pilot Project with ELL Students - SUCCESS!!

Back in January, I posted about an iPod pilot project that we conducted with a small group of ELL students at one of our elementary schools. Overall, ELL students in our district have not tested well in math on our state's standardized test called the CRCT. Vocabulary has been an issue for them as well as understanding concepts such as fractions and decimals. We needed to try an "out of the box" approach to supporting their learning, and after becoming aware of other iPod projects in existence, we chose to move forward with our own pilot.

Our model consisted of the students w0rking with the iPods both in school and taking them home on a rotating basis for further remediation and acceleration. Kristi Johnson, the Literacy (Technology) Coach at the school, worked diligently to find and/or create media as well as associated activities for the iPods.

Unfortunately, we got a rather late start on the project, not beginning to use the iPods with the students until November. I wasn't sure how much using the iPods might help them given the fact that they would be tested in early April. Based on her observations, Kristi had told me how much the students enjoyed using them and that she had seen progress in their learning. Early benchmark tests also showed the students performing much better than they had in the past. The true test, however, would be the results from the CRCT.

I am very excited to report that 100% of the students passed the Math portion of the CRCT!! Last year, as 4th graders, only 20% of this same group passed. We haven't had a chance to dig into the data yet, but on the surface there appears to be a correlation between the iPod use and their achievement. We know that from August through the end of October the students did not use the iPods, so we're wondering how well they performed on content taught during that time versus content taught with iPod support. As soon as we have more data, I'll report back.

As for now, current budget restraints will most likely prevent us from expanding this project. However, we will continue to use the iPods with ELL students at this school next year. I, for one, am extremely excited about the test results for these kids who have struggled in the past! It's a great accomplishment for them, their teachers, and (hopefully) demonstrates how the effective use of technology can impact student achievement.

Image by Sagolla on Flickr