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Using iPods to improve learning.

In 2002, the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District in Dallas began the Beyond Hardware Initiative, where students use "leisure technology" (PlayStations, MP3 players) to learn math, vocabulary and English. Three years later, standardized test scores of BHI fourth graders were higher than their non-BHI peers in reading and math. DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION spoke with Andy Berning, the district's chief technology officer, about the program.

Q: What does "Beyond Hardware" mean?

A: Research has shown that teachers have typically underutilized computers, so we wanted to focus on training that was based on instructional needs of teachers instead of on classroom hardware.

Q: How did you choose the products?

A: The general philosophy was to find tools that the kids like and get them hooked on them, using our curriculum. We knew students would take PlayStations and MP3 players home and spend more time on task, possibly with their parents, and everyone would win.

Q: You started with PlayStations to improve math skills and moved on to MP3 players for ESL students. What came next?

A: Kindergarteners take home iPods and work on reading and other skills. Our next step is to use iPods for high-school foreign language instruction.
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Title Annotation:Curriculum Update; interview with Andy Berning
Author:Ullman, Ellen
Publication:District Administration
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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