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News,  December 04, 2007

iPods Assist English Language Learners

"Schools in New Jersey are buying into a new program that gives bilingual students with limited English ability iPods, reports Winnie Hu in the New York Times. The hope is that by singing along to popular English songs, students will sharpen their vocabulary and grammar skills. The program has already had an effect on Stephanie Rojas, who moved to New Jersey from Puerto Rico last year, as she now prefers to sing in English. Incorporating the devices into instruction began when Grace Poli, a media specialist, approached the district three years ago about buying 23 iPods for an after-school bilingual program. She then compiled an eclectic mix of music, typed out the lyrics and deleted the nouns -- and in turn the verbs and adjectives -- to force the students to fill in the missing words and thereby learn their meanings. Poli said her Spanish-speaking students were able to move out of bilingual classes after just a year of using the digital devices, compared to an average of four to six years for most bilingual students. After viewing the successes, the district plans to try iPods with students who have learning disabilities and behavioral problems. In addition, one of New Jersey’s poorest urban districts, Union City District, will give out 300 iPods as part of a $130,000 experiment."

Referred by: PEN Weekly NewsBlast
Posted by wrivenburgh on December 04, 2007 | News