An iPod for Everyone!

What if I would have walked in the first day and handed all of you a brand new iPod? All loaded up with lectures for the semester, orientation information, the PSU fight song, and other nifty little “educational” things? Would it make you all feel real warm and fuzzy about the class? IST? Penn State? Would it make you want to learn more, or simply want to erase all that stuff and load it up with 5,000 songs?

As part of the Apple Digital Campus project, one of our partner schools, Duke University did just that — they handed out 1,400 iPods to the incoming freshman class. We knew about this months ago and actually got to see the prototype iPods with the little Blue Devil emblem on the back (they ended up not using it, but it was cool!) and got to listen to some content. Its a cool project, but man did it get some bad press. Here’s a decent little read that says why its good … what do you all think? Good or bad? What would you do with a new piece of technology that is designed to play music, but is delivered in an educational setting? BTW, one of the classes using the iPod at Duke is essentially IST 110. I have my own thoughts, how about you–>

27 Replies to “An iPod for Everyone!”

  1. Eventhough the commercials for the iPod may be a little annoying, the technology is pretty remarkable. I think it is neat that other companies are joining up with Apple to help them be more marketable and enticing! BMW is definately a step ahead of other car manufacturers by adapting this technology right into their stock sound system! By making this product so user-friendly it will be interesting to see how fast these will catch-on to society as a whole!

  2. First of all….since I’m a meteo major, I probably would be the type to ask for HDTV to ewatch the Wx Channel.

    This method seems perfectly fine to me. If I were in the freshmen’s situation, I think it would tend to get me interested in the class cause I would want to explore the iPod. I think it definitely puts Duke ahead of others if I were looking where to go. Just by handing these iPods out, it makes other schools, such UNC, seem technologically inferior. Sorry Tar Heel fans, I know that hurts.

  3. Well, it would be great to give all the kids an Ipod for class, that is if they use it properly. If it was mandatory to return the unit at the end of the semester, and if the files used for the class were not able to be deleted, then this could be very useful. I’m not objecting to the idea, but if I were given the chance to own an Ipod, you can bet that I would load her with songs in a heartbeat. With set restrictions I think it is a very good experimental idea, it just depends on how this thing will develop.

  4. I don’t believe the critics of the Duke iPod First-Year Experience fully understand the capabilities of the iPod. It seems like most of the critics write it off as simply an MP3 player. Oh no, the versatility of the iPod goes well beyond playing your music anywhere.

    The iPod doesn’t just play music, it can also display text and graphics. What if the Universties could create a content distribution system just like iTunes, but only for the students of Duke?

    At PennState we use Angel and Edison services to download course materials onto our computer. Well, what if the iPod’s automatic sync was applied to that? Duke would have a system through which students could simply plug in their iPod to their computer, the computer would launch the CMS program à la iTunes and the latest course materials for that student’s schedule is autmatically loaded into the iPod. Angel, meet iTunes.

    Everyone would benefit if Apple and a school like Duke would team up to merge iTunes, the iPod, and CMS.

    I know I’d like to download the latest list of vocabulary words for my upcoming Italian exam, if the professoressa would provide an audio file of her correctly speaking them. She would of course also provide a text file, viewable on the iPod, of the words to view and practice the words without hearing them.

    Even that aside, I think it would be great if the iPod could simply communicate with a hybrid iTunes/Angel program that would automatically download all of the latest materials provided for my classes.

  5. Do the students have to return the iPod at the end of the year? Or is it for keeps? All I can think is, free iPod, and it is easier to get than that online ‘sign five people up and get a free iPod!’ scheme.

    I would much rather see, and support, a big pocket PC handout. You go on talking about the versitality of the iPod, and how it does not just play music, well, for the same $400 it takes to get a 40 gig iPod, you could get a 400Mhz 64meg pocket pc. Now THAT is versitality.

  6. I think its a great idea if used properly. But what are the chances of freshman using their iPods for strictly school purposes? I dont see that holding true past the first few weeks of the semester. I definitely dont think the idea is all bad its a huge advantage. I just dont see how its going to be controlled.

  7. I would never say the iPod is more versatile than a Pocket PC, but I’d be happy to argue that the amount of additional tech support needed for providing Pocket PC’s to alllll those students would be absurd.

    Usability should definitely factor into providing all those non-techie students with a device they are supposed to use to learn with – a pocket PC has a much larger learning curve, viruses, and require more maintenance than an simple iPod. Too much to worry about for a device that is supposed to simplify and enhance the learning experience.

  8. Although I do not have much experience with in ipod, it sounds like it can be a very useful tool in an educational setting. It seems as if a great deal of usefull information as well as recreational listening can be stored on one. Why don’t the critics wait and see how the students respond to the ipods and see just exactly how they are utilizing the ipods capabilites before bad mouthing the program.

    Kudos to Duke Univ. for trying something new and innovative. With all the capabilites of an ipod, I would surely like to use one.

  9. I think if a class gave me an ipod, i would definatly be more interested in the class and use the ipod for class. If the ipods are highly integrated into the class curriculum it would definatly make the class more interesting for the students. So if it would improve student focus, why arn’t we doing this?

  10. Why aren’t we doing this? Cost. Let me put it this way … Apple will sell iPods no matter what, so they are not giving anyone deep discounts on them right now. In our little class of 40, the School would have to shell out about $9,000.00 to outfit us all with iPods. I will say IST is watching very closely and we are discussing what it would take to provide all incoming freshmen with the device. It would be very cool–>

  11. I think that this is a really good idea. Although I agree that eventually the students would probably look at the more recreational uses of the iPod, like the music downloading, I think it will also help to get the students involved more in their classes. I have an iPod mini and I love it, so I know if we were able to use it for listening to lectures or class and campus activities, it would be very interesting and a lot of fun.

  12. Duke students are fortunate as hell!! Receiving free iPods and using them to download course information, record field interviews and class lectures? That’s sound like a breakthrough to me. I would assume this would make class more interesting and studying a bit easier. Hence, higher scores and an all-together better reputation for Duke. Although, I can honestly ask how long this “learning experience” would go on before students would do, as they actually wanted with them? Whatever ideas headed toward groundbreaking ways in enhancing academic experiences is always a plus in my book.

  13. I think that giving students an iPod would be a great tool for students to have. However I believe that many students would tend to use their iPod for many other purposes besides school. Is the experiment Duke’s conducting only allowing students to use their iPods for school purposes? If yes then how would they have control over the students and what their doing with thier iPods…

  14. The iPods belong to the students, so they can really use them anyway they want. The cool thing that Duke is doing is that they are putting money into developing resources for classes. For example, the University would help me develop material to deliver to you via an iPod … to me, that is the difference maker … the University isn’t just throwing technology at students and saying, “go for it” … they are actually participating in the value chain. I’m looking forward to heading down to Duke next week to see it all in action. We’ll talk about it in class when I get back–>

  15. I believe that we should definitely do something like that here at PSU and forget the freshman it should be for all students and faculty. It sounds pretty fricken cool to me. I’d love to have a resource like that. It’d be cool to learn and play with. Since I’m very not very experienced in the technology area I find this very fascinating. Too bad this wasn’t done for those of us who were freshman last year.

  16. Wow! The iPod idea is simply awesome and i think this would help out students and teachers a lot. There will be those kids that just use it for music but a majority or students would get the most out of it for their classes. Penn State should really consider doing something like this but I know cost is always a factor. If cost is going to be such a huge factor maybe Penn State should give students a discount on iPods and make the students buy the iPod at a reduced price. I know they are very expensive but look on how much students pay for books each semester and the iPod could be with you for a long time.

  17. I think using the iPods would be really beneficial to students. As a college student I am always on the go. I don’t always have time to sit down and read all the required material for each of my classes for this reason. Having a device like the iPod that lets you take your notes and lectures with you would allow students to keep caught up with the notes and readings. Although it would be of great use, there does need to be some way to control what can be put on it. If PSU gave an iPod to every freshman, within about 3 weeks, there would most likely be nothing on them except music.

  18. If I were to recieve a free iPod from our wonderful Pennsylvania State University I would ask the person sitting next to me to pinch me. A gift like that from a University that is constantly trying to get more and more money from it’s students would be nothing short of a miracle. But to be a little more positive I would actually use it to listen to lectures if they were loaded on the iPod, that is if it didn’t interfere with any of the music I would need to put on it.

  19. I think that giving out free ipods has its ups and downs. I think its great that people can use them for class as well as listening to music on their way to class, but I wonder what their policy is if a student’s ipod were to get lost or stolen. I have a friend that goes to Duke and he has his ipod, but I haven’t had a chance to ask him what would happen if he lost it.

  20. I think this is a fantastic idea. And I believe ordering 40,000 of these things is sure to get PSU some sort of discount, so in reality, with the tuition we pay already, we aren’t looking at anything insanely expensive. Especially when you consider the endless possibilities – Imagine when all of State College becomes wi-fi ready and you’re then connected to the rest of your class 24/7. This is such a huge step in the right direction for education and thereby the world in general. The people against this are either jealous, or they need to start embracing change and stop fearing technology.

  21. I think that giving all freshmen an iPOD for educational purposes would be an excellent idea if it were implemented properly. First, there would need to be a mandatory course that would meet several times to teach the freshmen how to use the iPOD and all of its valuable features. Otherwise everybody would just get the iPOD and use it for songs. Then even before they were purchased teachers would have to change there teaching to adapt to using the technology, otherwise it would be silly since there would be this technology at hand, but the teachers wouldn’t be ready for it. Finally I think that the funding would need to come from private sources, like the alumni, because I don’t think the money should have to come from a tuition increase or tax hike.

  22. As a student, I think that iPods are a great idea. After reading the article, I feel like they really could have some good uses. I think its really cool how they have lessons and whatnot on those things. I think that they have the potential to make kids more excited about learning and coming to class if administrations were tailoring programs toward these machines. But realistically, its kind of a joke, I mean most of us would just pile on all the songs that we could and use them for that. But hey if I went to Duke and I was shelling out 40 G’s a year, you better give me a damn iPod.

  23. The use of iPods for education is a new, and innovative idea. The article said students can download language lessons, which would have been helpful when I was taking 3 levels of language here. It is a useful and easy tool to reinforce what students learn in class and can give language students the opportunity to practice listening and speaking languages. I do think that students would used the iPods for recreational purposes, even though they are a great educational tool. I would find it hard to believe that no student would download their music onto the iPod instead of downloading lectures and lessons.

  24. Personally, I don’t have an Ipod, but they seem really interesting. I’ve heard a lot about them, mostly positive. I know I would love to have one just for being a freshman at an university. I am sure students at Duke Univeristy really enjoyed that. I know I would.

  25. Being handed an iPod the very first day of class would instantly get me personally more interested in the class. The only down-side to everyone having an iPod is how they would use it. Would they actually use it for class material or just to play their own songs with? I think as long as the instructor of the course had their own system to make sure the iPods are being used for class material then they would be a great thing to have. It was mentioned that they could be used to record lectures on to listen to. I hate reading, and having another way to go over lessons such as an iPod would be good for people like me who hate to sit there and read everything.

  26. I personally do not have an I pod. I have a bunch of friends who do have one and I think that they could be a great tool. Coming into school as a freshman I do not think I would take advantage of the possibilitys that are possible with them. I would probably just use it for music. Now as a Junior I would make better use of it. I say if PSU were going to do it next year (yea right) give them to the seniors instead of the juniors. Departing gift.

  27. In my opinion, the ‘academic iPod’ is an awsome idea as long as it is enforced. Granted, students will put music on them for their own personal use. There’s no doubt about that. But if professors issue homework and such that require the use of the iPod, then I feel that they could be used for a really good educational tool. I’m not too sure about how Duke will deal with this financially for future freshmen. Maybe there will be a tuition hike in the near future (provided that they decide that the iPod was a good idea).

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