I’ve used an iPod Touch to play our classroom music for a few years, but now I’m using the iPad. I like the iPad much better because it’s bigger: I can see the screen better and I’m less likely to play the wrong song when I poke it with my finger. When I switched from iPod to iPad, I had to find a new speaker system because the one I was using had a dock only for the smaller iPod. I never liked that speaker system, anyway. It was a moody little monster. Sometimes it wouldn’t play at all, and when it did, I had to go through several steps just to get it working. Because it had wireless speakers, at some point during the day as we were minding our own business, it would suddenly “spit” at us very loudly, causing me to leap across the room to unplug it so everyone could take their hands off their ears. Needless to say, I was looking for new speakers, hoping to find something that wouldn’t hurt my wallet too much.
Before I go further, this is not an advertisement or a paid product review or anything like that. I did not receive any free products or money or any compensation for writing this post. I was not asked to write this post. I’m just sharing what I like with the thought that some other teacher somewhere might be looking for the same thing… because using an iPad is so much nicer than changing out CDs. So, this is what I found: GoGroove Panda Pal for $19.99. I still can’t believe I got away with getting an iPad speaker for $20 bucks. It works with any laptop, MP3 player, or tablet. It connects to the headphone jack, so it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got an Apple product or another brand. Sound quality? Good enough for me. No, it isn’t Bose quality, but it is surprisingly good for a little speaker. I can turn the volume all the way up on my iPad and it’s plenty loud enough to drown out my chatty little people who are not supposed to talk while we’re rocking out to our music. The best part? It’s sooooo cute! Of course, the kids like it when the panda sings to us. They also make a Koala Pal, but those big black panda eyes won me over.
The player works either on AAA batteries or can be powered by your computer. It comes with a long USB cord to plug into the computer, which is how I use it. It has an on/off switch on the bottom, but I leave it on, because it automatically turns off when the computer is turned off. The blue light lets you know when it’s turned on. Although I haven’t tried it, you could also probably plug it into an electrical outlet by plugging the USB cord into an adapter. All iPads come with those USB adapters, so it isn’t something you’d have to purchase. I like that it connects to the iPad with a cord instead of a dock because I like to be able to pick up my iPad and hold it while I tap on it. The only downside is that I wish the cord was a little longer (it’s about 12 inches), but that’s not a big issue for me (it’s better than a dock, in my opinion).
I previously wrote about organizing music with iTunes, so I won’t repeat myself here. I do still have a CD player in the classroom with our clean up song on CD, and I have a CD I made of favorite songs in case I’m ever not at school.
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