Friday, January 30, 2009

iPods in Education?

My Palm handheld computer finally died last fall, and I've had intentions of buying a replacement. I just never got around to it. Then Angela, our Apple sales rep, stopped by a couple of weeks ago and showed us her iPod Touch. The bells went off in my head. Why buy a Palm when I can buy an iPod Touch?

I was somewhat familiar with the iPod Touch because we bought each of our sons a 16 GB version for Christmas. Zach, our 21-year-old who isn't easily impressed, told me on Christmas night that the Touch is "awesome." He said the more he got into it, the more he was amazed by its capabilities.

And after a short demo from Angela, I knew I had to have one! The iPod Touch, an Apple product, of course, syncs seamlessly with my MacBook applications such as iCal, Mail, and Address Book. I can even access the Internet as long as I can connect to a wireless network. (The iPod Touch does not use cell towers like the iPhone or other cell phones.) I decided that the 8 GB version has more than enough storage for my needs.

I plan to do a little research on how the iPod Touch might be used in an educational setting. At only $229 for an 8 GB model, it's a relative technology bargain. And there are already hundreds of free or inexpensive applications available for download through the iTunes Store. A quick glance shows flash cards, math games, foreign language tutorials, graphing calculators, and site words practice. Of course, there are lots of fun but not necessarily educational applications as well. Our son Brock loves his bowling game!

I've already discovered a couple of helpful web sites. Take a look at the iPod Touch link on the Learning in Hand site, for example, or Top 50 Free Education Apps.

I have so much to learn! Stay tuned . . .

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