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Quaker Valley teacher seeking used Apple devices for music classes

| Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Quaker Valley music teacher is turning outdated Apple devices into classroom skill-building tools, and he's hoping others will donate to the cause.

Edgeworth Elementary School music teacher Erik Kolodziej this school year began using outdated iPhones and iPod Touches with music education-focused apps to enhance the learning experience for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders.

“This is where the kids are these days,” Kolodziej said. “I'm not replacing myself, but it's something the kids can use, and they're learning and playing on a device that they're used to being around.”

The apps reinforce lessons Kolodziej teaches in class, including rhythm and the types of music notes.

“If the kids can play a game called Flashnote Derby and they can tell you what the note is as horses go across the screen, I'm OK with that,” he said.

“I wanted to make reading and note literacy fun for the kids.”

Kolodziej said the devices make their way to children's hands as a reward.

“This isn't teaching with technology, this is reinforcement, and it's reinforcing what I am teaching,” he said.

“In a classroom where we do a lot of playing, singing and moving, this is using technology as a tool.”

Kolodziej said he's hoping to collect additional iPhones and iPod Touches to build his small collection for classes.

When he upgraded to a new iPhone, Kolodziej donated his iPhone 4 to use in class, he said.

As iPhone users upgrade to Apple's new iPhone 5S, Kolodziej said he's hoping those older devices could find new life in his classroom instead of the back of a drawer.

“Maybe if people have them laying around, we could repurpose them,” he said.

Devices are wiped clean of all previous content and students can't access the Internet from the devices, Kolodziej said.

Kolodziej said he'll continue finding ways to incorporate technology into his lessons.

“If I bring out flashcards, that goes two times through and then we're done,” he said. “You really need your bag of tricks to be full of many different ways of learning.”

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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